Robot nurses are one way to reduce the $2.2 trillion healthcare costs, Colin Angle, CEO of iRobot tells CNET.
Angle says that robotic telepresence devices can act like nurses in a person’s home, and this could reduce the cost of elderly and sick people having to move to nursing homes to be taken care of.
CNET: Instead of patients with chronic illnesses constantly going to a hospital for even minor treatments and checkups, a telepresence device could act as a proxy for the doctor to check in on them. The robot could examine, diagnose, and make sure a prescription is administered on the right schedule. The patient, in other words, wouldn’t have to set foot in a hospital unless he or she needs care that is only available there.
Before you get carried away, the robot nurses will look more like machines than humans, just like the Roomba vacuum cleaner that iRobot makes.
Apart from the fact that robots are expensive and not covered by insurance, we’re not so sure people, especially elderly people, will be OK with a robot moving around their houses. But Angle says the market potential looks good.
CNET: He says that half a million people in the U.S. last year spent between $2,000 and $3,000 each on equipment such as security monitoring services, and that in the next three years, that number will jump to over 7 million.