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Technology emerging as evolving trend as operating theatres shift to automated solutions

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Friday, December 24, 2021, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Technology is emerging as an evolving trend as it speeds up healthcare transformation with operating theatres shifting to adopt automated solutions for efficiency, safe surgical outcomes and shorter hospital stays.

One of the most critical areas of a hospital and a prime focus for innovation is the operating rooms (ORs). This year, we have seen a significant shift in the use of sophisticated and automated technology in the OR, including high-resolution displays and surgical cameras, speech recognition software and applications, augmented & virtual reality and other ‘smart hospital’ technology, said Dr Miten Sheth, Knee Surgeon, The Knee Clinic.

Robotic surgery is being transformed by declining costs driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and 5G. In spite of all the adulation, robotic surgery has remained in the early stages of adoption. Now, several new technologies enabling better robotic systems makes the healthcare sector to be at the cusp of major transformation. The coming year of 2022 will witness competition, innovation and compelling economics, he added.

There are even more innovative tools being developed to further enhance efficiency and precision. Some of these tools will have an impact in the short term but more idealistic innovations like remote-controlled surgery will take longer to reach the OR. This is even as AI is already breathing new life into robotic-assisted surgeries, said Dr Sheth.

Another aspect of futuristic robotic-assisted surgeries will potentially enable one surgeon to oversee procedures in multiple hospitals and countries. This will provide access to specialized care in smaller rural hospitals if these facilities have the robotic platform. This model can establish a decentralized network-based care, extremely essential in a country like ours, Dr Sheth told Pharmabiz.

In the last few years, robotics-assisted surgeries have made a significant contribution to the Indian healthcare industry, with the growth of the Indian robotic-assisted surgical market expected to reach Rs. 2,600 crore by 2024 at a CAGR of 19.8%, as per market reports. Senior analysts predict that almost 50% of all surgeries in India will be robot assisted by 2025.

Our Union government is at the forefront of this revolution. The Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) is the backbone necessary to support the integrated digital health infrastructure. It will bridge the existing gap amongst different stakeholders of healthcare ecosystem through digital highways. In coming times, the government must focus on strengthening clinical infrastructure and push for quicker integration of technology at various levels, he said.

Robots are meant to be the pivot of acumen in operating rooms. Leveraging a connected digital ecosystem, using data to drive better outcomes is the way forward. Winning strategies in 2022 will use deep learning algorithms to complement surgical expertise, by enhancing real-time decision making during complex surgeries like knee replacements, said Dr Sheth.


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