We like to think that people who work at hospitals do everything they can to save patients – and they do. The problem is that humans make mistakes. In fact, mistakes are so common in hospitals that a simple checklist can increase the care a patient receives. Robots, and computers, on the other hand easily follow checklists.
As we build better robotic systems (like autonomous cars and planes) we are building machines that perform tasks better than humans. In the world of health care we’re seeing that now and the speed at which robotic systems out perform humans will only increase. It means that the care you receive at a hospital will be better and more robotic.
There are programs to make diagnoses based on a series of questions, and algorithms inform many treatments used now by doctors.
Surgeons are already using robots in the operating theatre to assist with surgery. Currently, the surgeon remains in control with the machine being more of a slave than a master. As the machines improve, it will be possible for a trained technician to oversee the surgery and ultimately for the robot to be fully in charge.
Hospitals will be very different places in 20 years. Beds will be able to move autonomously transporting patients from the emergency room to the operating theatre, via X-ray if needed.