If the only company that pops up in your mind when you think of medical robotics is Intuitive Surgical, then it's time for an update.
Companies are developing robotic applications not just for clinical use but also for a whole slew of healthcare-related activities.
Here are a few companies changing the landscape of robotics in healthcare:
This Pittsburgh company makes the TUG automated delivery system. True to its name, the robot can attach itself to a variety of hospital carts to deliver medications on-schedule or on-demand. It can also tug carts with linens, food, waste, and lab products.
It does all of this by navigating hospital floors as well as up and down elevators. The goal is to allow nurses to do what they do best - take care of patients.
The company also touts efficiency and savings for hospitals that use the TUG robot.
For a 300-bed facility, an estimated $4 million dollars is spent annually on the task of pushing carts. One TUG, working just two shifts seven days per week, saves the labor of 2.8 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees, yet costs less than a single FTE.
Here is a video of the TUG robot in action at the Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.
Vecna Technologies and InTouch Heatlh
Both Cambridge, MA-based Vecna Technologies and Goleta, CA-based InTouch Health have created telepresence robots that have the potential to transform how care can be delivered to patients who cannot easily access healthcare services - especially specialty care.
VGo has other applications for other industries but InTouch Health is squarely focused on the healthcare industry and recently won regulatory approval for its RP-VITA robot, which it believes will be the new face of acute care telemedicine.
What's more, the robot's abilities caught the fancy of Dr. Sanjay Gupta who featured it prominently in his TNT surgeon drama Monday Mornings recently.
Here's a video of the RP-VITA:
Medication error is a big problem in hospitals. That's where McKesson's Robot-Rx comes in. This hospital pharmacy robot takes the human factor out of filling medications in hospitals.
The company claims that it can increase hospital medication filling accuracy by 99.9% based on studies done by the company and Shore Memorial Hospital.
The Robot-Rx can also work with the Robot Ready Pacmed system, which is a fully automated medication packaging product from McKesson.
-- By Arundhati Parmar, Senior, Editor, MD+DI