By Richard Russo, Jr., Chief Financial Officer and Interim Chief Executive Officer, BIONIK Laboratories Corp
The recent increase in technology adoption by healthcare facilities and clinicians has accelerated the use of new innovative devices and approaches that are making meaningful changes within patient care. Across every category of healthcare, improvements have been welcomed to effectively improve patient outcomes, manage surges in patient volume, and improve efficiency and accessibility in patient care.
Robotics is one technology leading the way, especially in stroke care, where physical or occupational therapists who have traditionally focused on conventional therapy processes now integrate these devices into everyday rehabilitation programs for those who suffer from a neurological condition. Conventional therapy sessions typically only result in about 30-60 upper limb movements with a patient. However, with the addition of robotics to the session, a patient is able to complete 600 – 1,000 movements in a single session. That increase has a direct impact on the patient’s neuroplasticity and the overall outcome from rehabilitation and return to function. The data collected from the robot allows the therapist to make informed decisions to maintain that progress. The benefits of robotics in stroke recovery from efficiency of care to the valuable patient data collected is a case study for how the larger healthcare system can benefit from the use of robotics.
AI-Powered Robotics Bring Precision to Healthcare
Robotics powered by artificial intelligence (AI) bring a heightened level of accuracy to patient care. For stroke patients utilizing these devices, the robot can identify any movement regardless of how small. This ensures patients can see their own progress, even if it’s missed by the human eye. For patients regaining mobility after a stroke, where AI makes the most significant impact is in its ability to identify the needs of a patient who may be struggling with movement, and then responding with adjustments in speed or range to better meet the needs of each individual patient.
Automation of Patient Data & Secure Cloud Networks
Across the hospital ecosystem, data processing and analysis is one area where clinical teams can most adequately automate with the use of robotics. Robots are emerging across every corner of healthcare facilities, from patient check-in to cleaning robots, surgical robots and monitoring robots that allow doctors to check-in on patients from afar. Regardless of their utilization, be it administrative, medical and surgical, or rehabilitation, data is at the center of the technology. Robotics technology has the ability to go beyond the surface level to collect valuable data. With this information in hand, teams can quantify the data to provide useful analytics across the healthcare ecosystem.
Analysis of data is key to offering better patient outcomes. With every patient and prognosis being so unique, valuable data analytics can provide medical teams with the ability to make confident decisions, mark progress or diminishment against baselines, and track goals. Patients can now get more involved with their own care as well, accessing data to see their own improvements to maintain motivation. For healthcare management teams, accessing data from newly invested in robotic devices ensures the technology is being utilized to its advantage. When needed, further education, training, and support on devices can be provided in a timely manner if a decrease in usage occurs. With more secure cloud networks available, management teams and clinical teams can work together to review patient data.
Hospitals and Outpatient Facilities are Adopting New Technologies
The growth of the outpatient market has been fueled by the weight and strain the pandemic has placed on hospitals. The recent demand to reduce hospital stays paired with overall health care costs continue to give rise to this model of care. As outpatient facilities increase, so will the technologies needed to support their growth. Consider how Emergen Research found that the global ambulatory device market size was $5.86 billion in 2020 and is now expected to reach $17.57 billion in 2028. Access to new technologies will be a priority for the ambulatory market.
New innovations in healthcare technology including robotics are often first deployed at leading hospitals nationwide, many in metro areas. For those who live in healthcare deserts or lack access to these high-tech facilities, this advance care often becomes inaccessible. Outpatient facilities can bring these cutting-edge technologies to more people nationwide. Many patients and their families are also seeking out facilities that provide advanced technologies in care, including robotics. With more patients researching care options and becoming aware of the advanced options available to them, the increase in the use of these technologies will only continue for outpatient clinics to stay current and competitive.
About the Author:
Richard Russo, Jr., Chief Financial Officer and Interim Chief Executive Officer, BIONIK Laboratories Corp. (OTCQB: BNKL) – a robotics company based in Boston, MA focused on providing rehabilitation and mobility solutions to individuals with neurological and mobility challenges from hospital to home. The Company has a portfolio of products focused on upper and lower extremity rehabilitation for stroke and other mobility-impaired patients, including three products on the market and two products in varying stages of development.