Robots and Intelligent Medical Devices in the Intensive Care Unit: Vision, State of the Art and Economic Analysis
Robotics is widely seen as a key enabling technology for the society of tomorrow. This work examines the role of robotics and intelligent medical devices in Intensive Care Medicine. Demographics predict that more elderly patients will need to be treated with fewer healthcare personnel, calling for innovations in ICU management. Robotics is a key enabling technology for the 21st century and may help to smooth the foreseeable workload/manpower disparity in medicine. Studying the application of robotics in the ICU in a manner beneficial for patients and accepted by intensive care team is desirable. Financial sustainability is essential for the introduction of these new technologies to the ICU. This study therefore assesses the state of the art in robotics in intensive care medicine and identifies opportunities for progress, using an observational approach in a teaching hospital ICU in combination with an in-depth review of the literature and a survey of the market. Tasks amenable to robotics are identified, their acceptability to patients and caregivers are examined and their quantitative contribution to future management of an intensive care unit is assessed.