Robotic Surgeons To Train Medical Students And Residents

Robotic surgeons

Surgical specialists have historically been the most likely to get sued for medical malpractice, and current statistics prove that this is still the case. According to a 2015 Medscape survey, 83% of general surgeons have been sued. When investigating the reasons why the lawsuits were filed, it was found that 44% of respondents claimed they suffered an abnormal injury.

Preventing medical errors is a main motivator behind the technological advancements that are occurring every day, with telesurgery, simulators, and robotic surgery being major front-runners in the realm of medical education.

Mastering both theoretical knowledge and practical evaluations are crucial to becoming a successful surgeon, and robotics can assist with development in both areas. Robotic surgery tools are able to measure where a students strengths currently are, and more importantly, their weaknesses. From there, the systems have the ability to alert the student or even “force correct” their potential mistake. Intelligent sensors can determine if an individual has quivering hands, or bad eye sight, and adjust its features to compensate for these attributes that would normally effect performance. The JHU Steady-Hand Eye Robot developed by Johns Hopkins is just one such tool that is dual operated, allowing the surgeon and the robot to work together for precision and accuracy.

With the increase in the use of robotics in surgical environments, there has been a definite need for standardized methods of training in medical schools. Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute has offered combined MD and PhD programs that allow individuals to train in both medical robotics and biomedical engineering for quite some time, but increasing the accessibility of these courses to all levels of medical students has become a mission of many schools.  Duke University School of Medicine has virtual reality training and assessment courses that teach the basics of robotic systems and how to navigate them. The Raven surgical system is currently in use at several top universities, such as Johns Hopkins University, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and Harvard.

Robotics experts have stated that these systems are not mere machines, but information processors that are meant to mimic human interaction. With robotics already having such an impact on the way that physicians are able to provide care to their patients, future developments are expected to further bridge the gap between machine and man.

Sierra Kennedy
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