Medical Robots Born of Disruptive Innovation

Do you trust a robot to diagnose your ailments? You may not have a choice as medicine moves closer to embracing technology as part of the standard practice of medicine.

But don't despair. A medical robot could save your life. You can thank disruptive innovation and the development of medical robots, like IBM's Watson, to find a diagnosis your family physician may miss.

If Watson sounds familiar, you may remember it is the same computer that went on Jeopardy and beat two previous winners. But Watson's real mission is designed to help medical professionals with complex diagnosis that take in more data than can be managed in a single test or case. Watson parses the kind of mystery that surrounds oncologists' every day and points point out clinical nuances that health professionals might miss on their own.

Just as physicians study and learn as they practice medicine over the years, so it is with cognitive computers performing such human-seeming tasks as parsing different diagnosis. Watson can interact in sympathetic ways and deduce important contextual information from huge amounts of data.

Watson has the ability to consider optional approaches to a problem, and even doubt the results. It will make a diagnosis, then recommend several possible treatments and offer possibilities.

In addition to medical diagnosis, robotic surgery has grown exponentially as physicians have discovered the advantages of micro-sized robotic instruments that can reduce the size of an incision. Thus a surgical robot, such as the da Vinci system, enhances and highly increases your surgeon's degree of capabilities.

But what about the family doctor you know and trust? He will still be there for you. Think of medical robots as partners in his practice.