US initiatives pioneer use of bots and AI in healthcare
Two State-side initiatives announced this week highlight how the US healthcare sector is making significant strides in its use of robotics and AI technology
The University of California San Francisco has developed an FDA-approved trial to study whether single port robot technology should be used instead of the current multi-port technology which is applied in colon cancer surgery.
Single Port (SP) robot-assisted technology enters the body in surgery through a single, small incision and helps surgeons perform more complex procedures that some say result in less pain and fewer complications.
As it stands, the SP device has already been given permission by the FDA for use in urology, head and neck related surgeries – and UCSF’s clinical investigators now want to explore whether one incision, rather than multiple incisions used with the multiport (MP) system, is a better method.
According to the UCSF, both types of robotic surgery are preferable to laparoscopy – otherwise known as keyhole surgery – since the surgeon is in control of guiding the robot’s every movement while the robot uses 3D magnification to dissect body tissue more intricately.
“Currently the FDA has recommended that we have 25 patients take part in this study and have surgery using the SP platform,” said Ankit Sarin, associate professor at UCSF’s division of Surgical Oncology. “Their results will be compared to patients having the same surgeries using the multiport Xi platform.”
Elsewhere in the word of AI, the US National Institute of Health has funded a $130 million-backed programme to bolster artificial intelligence in biomedical and behavioural research teams.
The NIH wants to address the limitation of AI adoption in the health sector due a lack of data interoperability, which results in errors when it comes to data interpretation.
Enter ‘Bridge2AI’ – a programme created with the aim of encouraging research teams to make tools and resources that transform data to make it “AI-ready” to speed up decision-making in critical care settings.
According to the NIH, the programme may go some way towards answering some of the biggest questions in human health, such as uncovering how genetic, behavioural and environmental factors influence a person’s physical condition throughout their life.
“Generating high-quality, ethically-sourced data sets is crucial for enabling the use of next-generation AI technologies that transform how we do research,” explains Lawrence A. Tabak, an acting director of NIH.
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