By Anthony Fernando, CEO and president of Asensus Surgical
Surgery has evolved from open surgery to robotic surgery. Surgical robots can perform complex procedures with geometrical precision, even in anatomical areas that are difficult to reach by human surgeons.
This is resulting in increased demand and adoption of minimally invasive surgeries and is one of the key drivers for the growth of the surgical robotics market.
So here are some predictions that foresee changes in the coming year within the surgical robotics market, telehealth and telesurgery, and augmented intelligence.
Prediction 1: The global robotic-assisted surgery market will keep pace with industry projections by offering facilities the assurance of reduced surgical variability and lower cost of ownership with standard reusable instruments and an open-platform architecture strategy that enables hospitals to leverage existing technology investments.
With an impending surgeon shortage and an aging surgeon demographic, robotic-assisted surgery will also continue to extoll the virtue of a more ergonomic surgeon seating position to alleviate the physical burden and reduce surgeon fatigue.
Rationale: The global surgical robots market is projected to reach $14.4 billion by 2026 from $6.4 billion in 2021. Growth in this market is primarily driven by the advantages of robotic-assisted surgery, the increasing adoption of technological advancements in surgical robots, and the increase in funding for medical robot research.
Prediction 2: To counteract a decrease in hospital budgets worldwide, we’ll see an introduction of new surgery platform and technology ownership models.
This will rely on a decrease in price of innovative technologies that are becoming more widely adopted – such as robotics-assisted technology – which will also see a decrease in costs as new innovations such as augmented intelligence and machine vision technologies are introduced.
Rationale: In the last few years, hospitals worldwide have experienced a decrease in their budgets, primarily due to declining federal budgets.
Cost-cutting has resulted in staff lay-offs, delays in facility upgrades, and freezing capital equipment purchases such as high-cost robotic systems.
Increasing penetration of surgical robots in ASCs
Prediction 3: Robotics-assisted technology can support the high volume, low-cost procedures that are typically performed with ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs).
Robotics-assisted technology offers low operating cost through the use of standard reusable instruments and open-platform architecture that allows hospitals to leverage existing technology investments.
Given that these low-cost operating costs are passed on to the ASCs to keep the cost-per-procedure comparable, we will see an increase in adoption of robotics-assisted technology.
Rationale: Ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) are freestanding facilities specializing in surgical, diagnostic, and preventive procedures that do not require hospital admission. The cost-effectiveness of ASCs provides significant savings for governments, third-party payers, and patients.
Telehealth and telesurgery
Prediction 5: As 5G becomes more prevalent, coupled with robotics-assisted technologies, we will see a shift toward telesurgery.
Rationale: The future of telesurgery relies on two factors: the availability of 5G and the widespread adoption of robotics-assisted technologies.
Prediction 6: Last mile logistics will benefit from 5G and adoption of robotics-assisted technologies, where land and air drones could be driver-controlled or autonomous.
Prediction 7: We will continue to see the expansion of robotics-assisted technology move into smartphone applications and games, i.e., Pokemon GO and Google Maps recording when you last visited a place.
Applications of big data analytics will identify opportunities to target and influence decisions, similar to how augmented intelligence enhances workflows and enables new levels of precision and accuracy.
Rationale: Artificial Intelligence is the creation of machines to work and react like humans (potentially replacing humans).
Augmented Intelligence is using those same machines to enhance the human worker (not replacing the surgeon, but becoming a digital assistant).
Augmented intelligence can enhance workflows and enable new levels of precision and accuracy to be carried out with the ultimate goal of delivering consistently superior surgical outcomes.