Can Robots Reduce The Risk Of Medical Mistakes?

At the University of California San Francisco Medical Center (UCSFMC), robots have taken over hospital jobs that used to belong to human beings.

Robots at the UCSFMC have started filling prescriptions with incredible efficiency and accuracy. The $15 million pharmacy-bot uses a mechanical arm to move past rows of shelves, and then it selects the correct medications and accurately fills prescriptions.

How does this change reduce the risk of medical mistakes? Under the old way of filling prescriptions, a doctor would write out the prescription, and then a pharmacist would have to input information into a computer and have a pharmacy technician fill the medication bottle. Filling a prescription involves using several different people, increasing the chance for error.

At the UCSFMC, the pharmacy-bot has filled only one bad prescription out of six million, an error rate close to 0 percent. Humans have an error rate of 2.8 percent.

How Accurate Are ‘Robot Doctors’?

Robots are increasingly being used to carry out complex surgical procedures with incredible accuracy. One machine tested by Stanford University roboticists can perform brain surgery on a fruit fly, an extremely small insect.

In the near future, it is likely that healthcare professionals will incorporate advanced robotics into medical procedures. Perhaps the greatest benefit of making such a change is that medical mistakes may become far less likely to occur.

However, for the time being, unsuspecting patients can still end up being injured or killed by medical mistakes. When medical mistakes happen, family members and survivors might have legal options for pursuing damages.

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