New Software Testing Helps Identify Flaws in Surgical Robots

Many people are torn about the idea of going under a knife that’s controlled by a robot. On one hand, a robot is going to be steadier and better skilled than a human. On the other hand, a robot can be affected by glitches that could be fatal for the patient. Software testers are working to end the fears associated with surgical robots, but will it be enough to calm a patient’s nerves about robotic healthcare?

Why Robots Would Be Beneficial

Doctors are under a lot of stress from long hours and when you throw in family problems and other stress factors, a doctor’s mind can be a million miles away. This can be extremely dangerous in the operating room. Robots don’t have to worry about anything except the task at hand. This means that there’s complete focus on the operation. Another problem is human mistakes. Doctors and their surgical team certainly don’t mean to leave items inside their patients, but it does happen. A robot is working on a set of instructions, making it near impossible to make such mistakes.

How They Could Be Problematic

One of the biggest fears is software glitches. What happens if something goes wrong with the program? What if there’s a virus? Another issue is what happens if something doesn’t go as planned in the surgery? Can a robot quickly make the necessary movements to stop a sudden disaster? While the robot’s instructions may be foolproof, the human body isn’t. Another problem is that there’s yet to be a system that can check for all possible problems that could go wrong.

How Software Developers Are Working to Fix the Kinks

Experts are working to insure that software are hardware are free of design defects. The experts are also working to generate counterexamples of what could go wrong with the system. However, this is such a complex system and since human lives are at stake it is proving difficult to put all the possibilities to the test. An area that troubled researchers the most was being able to avoid one problem area, while keeping another area safe. In some cases, the two areas could cancel each other out, causing problems with the surgery. Researchers were eventually able to create algorithms that will make the robots safer to use so that there’s no canceling out in difficult surgeries.

There are certainly benefits to robotic surgery, but there are also limitations that need to be addressed. You can search now and find a lot of information about health IT and the ways it has advanced healthcare today. As a patient, you need to weigh the pros and cons before considering this method of surgery. While it may seem safer in some areas, it could be more dangerous in others. It’s important to fully speak to your doctor about any worries and concerns you may have.

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