Ticker Tape: A Financial Briefing by Baruch College’s Investment Management Group

Courtesy of IMG

Courtesy of IMG

As students, some of us may be in a constant state of frenzy over whether our careers will be overtaken by robots. Well, the plague has officially begun taking over the healthcare industry as we know it.

Every year more than 4,000 people are injured while undergoing surgery due to human error. Surgeries, specifically spinal implant procedures, leave patients with severe bleeding and long recovery times. In fact, post-surgical pain is oftentimes reported as more severe than it was pre-surgery.

Robots are more precise and make smaller incisions to complete procedures. This does not mean that humans are not involved in the process, however. Surgeons are sitting behind computer screens and monitoring the procedure using a video camera attached to the robot’s arm, and controlling the robot as needed.

Companies such as Intuitive Surgical and Globus Medical are streamlining efforts to be at the forefront of creating robots that aid in minimally invasive procedures.

Procedures such as breast mastectomies, the removal of breast tissue, and hysterectomies, removal of the uterus, are still preferred to be done by humans. However, robots are beginning to take over spinal surgeries entirely.

The spinal surgery market is going to be driven by the fact that an increasing amount of people require spinal implants.

As countries are becoming more industrialized, sedentary lifestyles are becoming more prominent due to bad posture from sitting all day. Because of this, 20 percent of Americans develop scoliosis, which oftentimes requires spinal implant surgeries. Additionally, the world population is aging.

The number of people over 65-years-old will exceed the number of people below 18-years-old by 2035, which has never been seen before. Due to increases in the older population, chronic back pains have risen by 24 percent in the past decade, as some spinal problems are age-related.

As more people are opting for spinal surgeries, the rise in artificial intelligence will aid in broadening the applications of robots for minimally invasive procedures.

The $60 billion artificial intelligence market is the root cause of software developments that allow for a robot to acquire a human-like brain during operations.

As of 2017, the number of surgical procedures rose by 15 percent globally, due to people’s increased trust of and declining fear of surgeries. We can thank the robots for increasing minimally invasive procedures. The main risk factor of robotics is the slowing usage of them due to the lack of surgeons able to overlook the surgeries.

It’s argued that more surgeons will be required to be present at surgeries when robots are handling the procedure, as more human brains need to be attentive to what’s happening behind the robot’s movements.

Utilizing such equipment in the surgery room also requires extensive training. Thankfully, companies such as Globus Medical have simplified training programs in place to make sure that robots really are the face of the future.