Despite safety disputes, med robot market on the rise

Due to a shift in the healthcare industry toward minimally invasive procedures performed with robot technology--for which safety often is disputed--the medical robot market is set to explode.

The market is expected to reach nearly $3.8 billion by 2018, expanding at a compounded annual growth rate of 16.1 percent, according to a new report from MarketsandMarkets. The report divides the market into five segments: surgical robots, rehabilitation robots, non-invasive radiosurgery robots, hospital and pharmacy robots and others, which serve the neurology, orthopedics, laparoscopy and special education areas.

"The technological advancements and breakthroughs in the field of medical robotics, such as expanded applications of robotic systems, robotics combined with imaging platforms, and capsule robot systems, among others, are expected to drive the global market in the coming years," the report's summary reads. "The other factors that are driving the growth of the global medical robotics market include growth in aging population, increase in the incidences of neurological and orthopedic disorders, and growth in demand for telemedicine."

As FierceHealthIT reported last month, researchers are looking to develop surgical robots based on open source technology.

Still, some hospitals have been accused of hyping robotic surgery while downplaying the risks. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued a statement last spring calling robotic surgery not the best choice for routine procedures.

This past fall, the ECRI Institute ranked robotic surgery as No. 9 on its Top 10 health technology hazards list, pointing out that there currently are no widely recognized requirements for robotic surgery training and credentialing programs.

To learn more:
- read the summary of the report

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