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From the perspective of a doctor, the medical industry is an area that has been slow to adopt new technology. However, if you look at things from a hospital's perspective, it's easy to see why this is not necessarily true. In radiology, diagnostics and imaging systems don't have to talk directly with patients at all. These machines can do their job simply by reading data off of printouts. This is not the full extent of automation in medical equipment, however.

Radiology

Many companies provide image analysis and diagnostics at a high accuracy rate, such as Google Deep Mind (50% accurate for Pulmonary Nodules, 99% accurate for analyzing skin cancer), IBM Watson (90% accurate in lung cancer diagnosis), and Enlitic (80%). There are also companies such as Atomwise and Recursion Pharmaceuticals that create drugs explicitly designed for diseases.

Telemedicine

Meditology has created a robot called Pepper, which can provide information to patients about their health problems and even schedule appointments with medical experts. The robots are equipped with cameras and microphones and allow the patient to see and hear the doctor, who can also stream high-resolution images to Pepper.

Aspects of the Medical Industry That Are Automated Today 1

Surgery

Doctors use telepresence robots and Lateral Flow Test Assembly Kitting to perform surgery on patients remotely by seeing through the robot's eyes and controlling its arms. This eliminates the hassle of traveling long distances (mainly in rural areas). There is also RoboThespian, a telepresence robot that allows the doctor to see through its eyes and provides live video conferencing with students and experts.

Dentistry

iRobot's Ava 500 can diagnose patients by providing real-time analysis of their ailments, allowing the doctor to give a detailed explanation of the problem and what can be done to fix it. It also allows for teleconferencing and streaming of high-resolution images from around the world. DeepMind is currently working with Moorfield's Eye Hospital in London to analyze MRI scans, which will help detect sight loss diseases such as age-related macular degeneration.

Pharmaceuticals

Some companies have created human-cell cultures inside robotic bioreactors to produce bacteria, enzymes, antibodies, and other proteins used for drug discovery more quickly and cheaply than ever before. A few examples include Emerald Therapeutics, which develops drugs for cancer patients by using artificial intelligence and robotics to improve efficiency, and Zymergen, which uses robotic systems to create custom microbes for companies that need drugs with a specific chemical makeup.

The medical industry has come a long way in the past century. With all of this automation, it's hard to remember what life was like before we had anesthesia and antibiotics. Nowadays, doctors can diagnose diseases with just one drop of blood using lab equipment that analyzes DNA sequences from a sample. The medical industry will continue to grow and be open to use new technology.


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