My lovely wife is contributing to one of the greatest supply and demand problems of our time – and doesn’t even know it.
Let me explain before I get in too much hot water. My wife became a registered nurse since 2006, but currently takes care of our four eating machines (kids) full-time at home.
Though a blessing for our family, she represents one more RN out of the manpower-starved healthcare workforce.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that, by 2022, more than one million registered nursing jobs will be unfilled. This is even with 19% growth in the nursing labor force by that year.
What compounds this issue is that by 2030, 69 million people, or roughly 20% of the U.S. population, will be senior citizens.
So, we face a nursing shortage and more people to take care of. But what is there to do? There may be an answer brewing in the tech sector: Robots.
Yes, Japan already leverages nursing robots, where the number of people 65 years old or older accounts for a hair over 27% of the nation’s population.
Before you get all worried about a rogue nursing robot apocalypse, understand that right now these robotic marvels of technology only operate under the supervision of a trained human healthcare professional.
Helping Out with Every-Day Tasks
Currently, nursing robots perform basic functions…
I’m talking operating as a smart medical cart, delivering medicine, supplies, and retrieving records.
In nursing homes, so-called Nursebots remind patients to take their medicine, use the bathroom, and get ready for appointments. They even assist them getting into and out of beds and wheelchairs!
These robots don’t actually diagnose or treat patients yet. Their primary purpose is to free nurses from arduous tasks, allowing them to focus more on patient medical care.
Some robots, such as MantaroBot, Vgo, and Giraff, are more communication devices than physical helpers. They’re controlled through a computer, smartphone, or tablet and allow physicians and family members to remotely monitor patients.
Interested in striking up a conversation with grandma?
Well, you can configure most robot face screens to display your likeness, video conference-style.
A face-to-face with grandma is certainly the bee’s knees. However, the most interesting breakthrough in leveraging machines for healthcare took place in the field of artificial intelligence. 60 Minutes actually featured a piece on this Sunday night.
Healthcare Made Easier
Every day, physicians exploring the latest diagnosis and treatment options publish roughly 8,000 medical papers and journals.
No matter how good your doctor is, it’s damn-near impossible for them to keep up with the volume of latest discoveries and treatment options for diseases like cancer.
IBM (NYSE: IBM) has made this arduous task of data ingestion and discovery a bit easier by putting their Watson supercomputer on it.
Yes, that Jeopardy-winning computer is now using its artificial intelligence programing to process millions of data points in medical journals, imagery, and patient genome data to tee up treatment options for physicians to prescribe.
How good is Watson?
The UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center discovered that by leveraging this technology, they found new potential treatment options in 30% of patients that would have been overlooked using traditional human-only review methods.
Simply put, robots and artificial intelligence are a game-changer for the healthcare community. These technologies are disrupting how physicians diagnose and treat patients, in a radically good way.
And they’re trends worth following, as we do at Dent Research. We hunt for the tech-world insights and market plays so you can profit… while medical patients around the world, thanks to robots and A.I., potentially do the same.
Editor, BioTech Intel Trader