Expert view

Key questions about robotics in the medical devices industry: Q&A with GlobalData thematic analyst 

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Alexandra Murdoch is a medical analyst at GlobalData. She currently serves as the themes lead for the Medical Devices team, and prior to that she was leading the Wound Care Management team. Before joining GlobalData, Alexandra completed her masters in Health Information Science.

Lara Virrey: What are the most exciting developments in robotics for the medical device industry today?   

Alexandra Murdoch: Care robots and surgical robots are of interest right now because they are both important and will provide critical assistance to healthcare providers and patients. Robotic surgery systems allow surgeons to operate with more precision, and ultimately can reduce complications and result in quicker recovery times.

Additionally, robotic surgery tends to be less invasive, and so surgery requires less time in hospital and can save costs for healthcare systems and patients. The surgical robot’s revenue is expected to reach $15.8 bn by 2030, so it is largely driving the medical robot market. 

Lara Virrey: What are the key challenges in the medical device that robotics can help with? 

Alexandra Murdoch: One main challenge that medical robots can help with is the aging population. Care robots can perform simple tasks such as helping patients get in and out of bed, and in doing so, can reduce the need for nurses to carry out such tasks.  

This will not only help care for elderly patients but can help accommodate for staff and skills shortages as well. Additionally, surgical robots can help providers meet increased demand for surgeries, resulting in shorter wait times for patients. 

Lara Virrey: Which barriers to implementation of robotic technologies remain in the medical device industry, and how could they be overcome?

Alexandra Murdoch: One of the biggest barriers to medical robot adoption in the industry are upfront costs of equipment. Medical robots are quite expensive, so for healthcare providers and hospitals to use them they have to spend quite a lot up front. One way to overcome this would be industry leaders lowering costs or providing more flexible financing options.

Lara Virrey: Which companies are the leading adopters of robotic technologies in the medical device sector? 

Alexandra Murdoch: Some leading companies in surgical robots include Intuitive Surgical, Johnson & Johnson, Stryker, Smith & Nephew, Zimmer Biomet, Medtronic, and Globus Medical. Honda, Toyota, and Yaskawa are leading companies in care robots.

GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.      

GlobalData’s Thematic Intelligence uses proprietary data, research, and analysis to provide a forward-looking perspective on the key themes that will shape the future of the world’s largest industries and the organisations within them.