UPMC CIO on docs and robots: It's not man vs. machine, it's man vs. man and machine - MedCity News


The experimental Smart Tissue Autonomous Robot (STAR) recently sewed a piglet's gut together using a computer program and camera-based guidance, overseen by a team of doctors and computer scientists from the Children's National Health System in Washington DC and Johns Hopkins University. The procedure took 50 minutes, as opposed to 8 minutes when performed by a surgeon, but (unfortunately for doctors) resulted in more evenly spaced sutures and less leakage from the gut. And with iterative improvements, it's likely that the time difference can be shrunk. Meanwhile, FDA-approved robotic surgery on humans is making strides as well, though it requires a surgeon to operate the mechanical arm. The potential treatment paradigm, highlighted by The Economist this month, raises questions about whether patients will trust robots with their lives, and who is liable if something goes wrong.