Robotics and the Medical Internet of Things /MIoT

9 Oct 2023 08:00h - 09:30h UTC

Event report

Speakers and Moderators

Table of contents

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Knowledge Graph of Debate

Session report

Dr. Joao Gomez

The integration of robotics in healthcare has the potential to revolutionise the industry, but it also presents a range of ethical and technical challenges. Striking a balance between these challenges is crucial to effectively and responsibly integrate robotics into healthcare systems.

Ethical considerations are paramount in the successful implementation of robotics in healthcare. Data privacy and accountability are priority concerns. Patient data must be protected from breaches, and encryption and security mechanisms are necessary to safeguard patient information. Furthermore, addressing questions of accountability is essential to attribute and rectify errors or malfunctions. By addressing these ethical considerations, healthcare providers can build trust with patients and ensure the confidentiality of personal information.

On the technical front, several elements are integral to the seamless integration of robotics in healthcare. Harmony between hardware and software is key, enabling accurate and reliable performance. This involves careful selection of sensors and actuators to ensure accurate perception and interaction with the environment. Seamless integration is vital for intelligent algorithms and support for advanced functionalities. Additionally, accessibility and good user interface design are crucial for easy use and navigation of robotic systems, enhancing efficiency and effectiveness.

Fairness and equity should also be central to the integration of robotics in healthcare. Technologies should not only serve those with easy access to healthcare facilities but also be made available in rural areas or regions with limited healthcare access. Ensuring equitable access to these technologies can help reduce inequalities and improve healthcare outcomes for all individuals.

In conclusion, the integration of robotics in healthcare holds significant potential, but a cautious approach is required. Prioritising ethical considerations such as data privacy and accountability is critical. Technical aspects, including hardware and software integration, accuracy, accessibility, and user interface design, are essential for seamless integration. Moreover, ensuring fairness and equity in access to these technologies is crucial, particularly for underserved areas. Addressing these challenges enables healthcare professionals to utilise robotics to enhance patient care and improve health outcomes globally.

Frederic Cohen

During the discussion, the speakers emphasised the significance of international collaboration and development in edge technologies. They highlighted a focus group meeting that took place in Shanghai, involving the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and focusing on the metaverse. The participants stressed the importance of physically meeting each other to further advance the metaverse and medical health systems.

The speakers also mentioned ongoing development initiatives with global partners, aiming to drive progress in the metaverse and medical health systems. These partnerships demonstrate a commitment to working together towards common goals, pooling resources and expertise. This collaborative approach reflects the importance of partnerships for the goals of industry, innovation, and infrastructure, as outlined in SDG 9.

Furthermore, the speakers expressed a positive outlook towards future meetings and ongoing developments. They expressed hope to see everyone next year, indicating a strong desire to continue collaborating and building on the progress made so far. The speakers specifically mentioned previous Asian business travel and meetings held in the past year, serving as a testament to the commitment and enthusiasm for collaboration in the region.

This extended summary provides a detailed understanding of the importance of international collaboration and development in edge technologies. The emphasis on physically meeting, ongoing development initiatives with global partners, and positive outlook towards future meetings contribute to fostering innovation and achieving the goals of industry, innovation, and infrastructure. The speakers' reflections on past Asian business travel and meetings further highlight the commitment and dedication to collaboration in the region.

Overall, the discussion underscored the critical role of partnerships in advancing technological developments and meeting the challenges of the modern world. By working together and sharing knowledge and resources, stakeholders can address complex issues and drive progress in the metaverse, medical health systems, and other areas. The speakers' positive sentiment and optimism towards future collaboration bode well for achieving desired outcomes and realising the potential of edge technologies.

Dr. Erbguth

The analysis explores the ethical concerns surrounding data collection by robots in the healthcare sector. It highlights the potential privacy issues and misuse of information that can arise from robots equipped with sensors capable of gathering sensitive data. For example, while robots are used for caregiving purposes in healthcare, their data collection capabilities may inadvertently lead to privacy concerns. Additionally, robots have the ability to collect more sensitive data compared to conventional surveillance systems, further exacerbating these concerns.

Another significant ethical concern relates to the processing and storage of data collected by robots. The analysis raises concerns about the ambiguity surrounding data access and potential non-medical uses, such as monitoring human behavior. This raises questions about the control and appropriate utilization of the collected information.

However, there are positive aspects to consider. The importance of obtaining informed and voluntary consent from users regarding data collection and usage is emphasized. This consent should be granular, ensuring that individuals fully understand what they are consenting to and have the ability to reject unnecessary data uses. The concept of consent acts as a safeguard to protect individual privacy and autonomy.

Furthermore, the analysis underscores the need for comprehensive implementation of data governance in hospitals. Given the sensitivity of hospital data, robust data governance measures are vital to effectively manage data collected by robotic systems. The increased data processing capabilities of these systems further underscore the importance of strong governance practices.

In conclusion, the analysis highlights several ethical concerns pertaining to data collection by robots in the healthcare sector. These concerns include privacy implications, potential data misuse, the necessity for informed and voluntary consent, and the importance of data governance in hospitals. The findings promote an ethical approach to data collection and usage in the healthcare industry, ensuring the protection of individuals' privacy and rights.

DC member

The speakers discussed the challenges and importance of achieving a green healthcare environment. They emphasised the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into healthcare systems, which has revolutionised the field. AI-driven diagnosis and prediction analysis, along with personalised treatment, can significantly enhance healthcare outcomes while reducing waste. The speakers also highlighted the increasing use of telemedicine platforms, which require more user-friendly interfaces to accommodate the growing demand for remote medical consultations.

Another crucial aspect discussed was the energy efficiency of data centres, which are vital in supporting human-computer interfaces and robot applications in healthcare. The speakers underscored the need to reduce the carbon footprint of healthcare facilities by prioritising renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power. They also emphasised the importance of implementing advanced cooling technologies and optimising server farms to reduce energy consumption.

Furthermore, the speakers stressed the significance of designing and manufacturing sustainable human-computer interfaces and robotic devices. This involves recycling materials and reducing waste to contribute to a smaller ecological footprint. By prioritising sustainability, healthcare providers can not only reduce environmental impact but also set an example for other industries.

In conclusion, the journey towards a green healthcare environment is not without challenges. However, the integration of AI, the promotion of energy efficiency in data centres, and the prioritisation of sustainability in the design and manufacturing processes of healthcare technology are crucial steps towards achieving this goal. By adopting these practices, healthcare providers can enhance patient outcomes, reduce waste, and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Amali Desilva Mitchell

The integration of robotics with the medical internet of things (IoT) has the potential to support people in remote and rural areas, as well as assist individuals with disabilities and other marginalized groups. This integration combines advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) with physical robotics, enabling the delivery of healthcare services in areas with limited access to medical facilities. The Dynamic Coalition on Data-Driven Health Technologies has actively engaged with the public over the past year to study this topic and promote the benefits it offers.

Additionally, there is a focus on the use of medical records and space technology, which could have implications for reaching rural populations. Dr. Oscar Garcia, a renowned expert in the field, has been invited to share insights on how medical records and space technology can contribute to improving healthcare delivery in remote areas. This exploration aims to bridge the gap between healthcare services and underserved communities.

The Medical IoT is increasingly crucial for healthcare. With patients spending less time in hospitals, post-operation monitoring is occurring digitally. However, there is an increased reliance on reliable internet connections for health-related devices. This poses challenges, particularly in regions where internet connectivity may be unreliable or inaccessible.

The integration of AI and robotics in healthcare is on the rise, as seen in examples from China and Japan. China has utilized nurse robots to support staff in elderly care, while Japan has adopted robots for tasks such as cleaning and food delivery for the elderly. This integration enhances the efficiency of healthcare services and improves patient care, particularly for the aging population.

While advanced healthcare is becoming more digital and accessible, patient concerns must be considered. The ITU’s AI group is actively developing processes and procedures for AI working in conjunction with medicine. Patients will increasingly interact with these technologies, and addressing their concerns and ensuring they know what to expect is important. A patient-centric approach to design and implementation can build trust and acceptance of AI and robotics in healthcare.

However, there are privacy and security concerns associated with the use of AI and robots in medicine. Patients have legitimate concerns about the potential risks and harms of medical interventions involving AI and robots. Privacy concerns also arise with health checkups that involve patient data, highlighting the importance of protecting patient information. Ensuring robust security measures and transparent handling of patient data is essential to address these concerns and build public confidence in these technologies.

Moreover, the use of IoT devices for children raises data privacy and security concerns. Amali Desilva Mitchell highlights the potential risks associated with data collection by devices like "Teddy the Guardian," an IoT teddy bear that collects children's medical data. The question of where the collected data goes and the interception of sensitive information must be carefully addressed to safeguard privacy and ensure the safety of children.

In conclusion, the integration of robotics and the medical IoT holds promise in supporting remote areas and marginalized groups. The work on medical records and space technology offers opportunities to reach rural populations. The Medical IoT plays a crucial role in healthcare, but challenges relating to internet connectivity persist. The increasing integration of AI and robotics in healthcare requires addressing patient concerns and privacy issues. Ensuring data privacy and security in IoT devices for children is also of utmost importance. Considering these factors will help maximize the benefits and mitigate the risks associated with these technological advancements in healthcare.

Judah Crow

The analysis focuses on the potential benefits and concerns associated with digitization for the improvement of children's health and the right to identity in rural areas. It argues that digitization can play a significant role in enhancing children's health by providing unified services for their medical data. The Digital Opportunity Foundation, an organization that has been working on the societal impact of digitization for over 20 years, emphasizes the potential of digitization in the health sector to offer streamlined and integrated services for children's medical information. This approach can potentially improve the efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare delivery for children, ensuring that they receive the necessary treatment and care.

Furthermore, the analysis highlights the importance of birth registration and the right to identity for children in rural areas. It states that birth registration and the right to identity are crucial for ensuring that children in these areas receive adequate healthcare and treatment from the very beginning. By registering a birth and establishing an identity for a child, the medical system and caregivers gain access to vital data, enabling them to provide timely and appropriate healthcare services. This aspect emphasizes the significance of digitization as a means to facilitate birth registration and the right to identity in remote and underserved regions.

However, concerns are raised regarding the security of personal data collected by Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The discussion highlights the example of an IoT device called 'Teddy the Guardian', which measures and tracks children's health data. While this device offers the convenience of allowing parents and pediatricians to access the data via a smartphone, questions have been raised about the location and potential interception of this sensitive information. The analysis suggests that there is ambiguity regarding where the data from IoT devices like 'Teddy the Guardian' is stored and how it is protected.

In conclusion, digitization holds the potential to significantly improve children's health and the right to identity in rural areas by providing unified medical services and facilitating birth registration. However, the security of personal data collected by IoT devices remains a concern. This analysis highlights the need for robust data protection measures to safeguard children's sensitive health information in the digital age. Further research and efforts are necessary to address these concerns and ensure the responsible and secure use of digitization for children's health and well-being.

Judith Hallison

The analysis examines how technology can affect vulnerable groups, specifically focusing on children's data security, persons with disabilities, and the reliance on artificial intelligence (AI) for tasks like captioning. One concerning issue is the potential risk posed by internet-connected toys, such as teddy bears, to the security of children's data. These toys can be hacked, putting children's privacy at risk. Moreover, the analysis highlights the absence of established rights and protections for children's data, further exacerbating their vulnerability.

Another concern raised is the potential disenfranchisement of persons with disabilities with the introduction of robots. Robots face challenges in effectively communicating with individuals who are visually impaired, hearing impaired, or cognitively impaired. This creates barriers to the full engagement and inclusion of these individuals in society. The analysis also highlights the difficulties faced by people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic, where mask-wearing and limited access to video conferences further restricted their communication options.

The analysis also emphasizes the potential consequences of relying on AI for tasks like captioning. It argues that this reliance can result in errors and marginalize individuals with disabilities. For instance, AI providing incorrect surgical guidance can lead to surgical errors, posing risks to individuals with disabilities. Additionally, AI captioning can be inaccurate and fail to clearly convey spoken words, hindering effective communication for those reliant on captioning services.

In summary, the analysis highlights the importance of inclusive technology design and ensuring that technological advancements benefit all members of society. It underscores the potential risks related to internet-connected toys, robots, and AI concerning children's data security and the inclusion of persons with disabilities. The analysis calls for designers, policymakers, and stakeholders to consider the needs and rights of vulnerable groups in technology development, aiming for a more equitable and inclusive technological landscape.

Dr. Oscar Garcia

Oscar Garcia discussed the challenges of managing interconnected, digital health information in his presentation. He highlighted the diverse perspectives and individual needs of healthcare specialists, which complicate the unification of patient data. The third-payer model used in most countries further complicates data access and usage, and varying privacy regulations across different countries add to the complexity of managing health records.

Unified Medical Records has deployed a system to connect various healthcare components, facilitating collaboration among providers, insurances, laboratories, and imaging centers. They have also developed a pen drive that enables doctors to access and transfer information effortlessly, even in challenging environments. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they identified the need for telemedicine, remote auditing, and a health dashboard for remote administration.

Unified Medical Records is also working on medical records for space exploration, aiming to facilitate consultations between astronauts and healthcare professionals on Earth. They are committed to collaborating with underserved communities and providing services for free whenever possible, in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

However, connectivity issues pose challenges to internet-based healthcare. Delay and Disruption-Tolerant Networking (DTN) technology has been applied to mitigate disruptions by storing and forwarding information until connectivity is available again. This technology has been used in Arctic regions to track reindeer herds with small message sizes and cost-effectiveness. It also holds potential for remote healthcare services in challenging environments.

Overall, Oscar Garcia's discussion shed light on the complexities of managing interconnected health information. Unified Medical Records strives to address these challenges through innovative solutions, collaborations, and a focus on inclusivity. DTN technology offers promising opportunities to overcome connectivity issues in healthcare delivery.

Dr. Gupta

The potential applications of robots in healthcare are significant, as they have the ability to replace routine tasks and perform precise operations. For instance, robots can carry out tasks such as transporting blood samples and patients, which not only saves time but also reduces the risk of errors. Moreover, robots are capable of performing surgeries with high precision, resulting in less blood loss and better healing outcomes.

However, the high cost associated with implementing robots in healthcare settings poses a major barrier to widespread adoption. It can cost up to £2.5 million to introduce a robot in a hospital, making it unfeasible for every healthcare facility. Additionally, the cost of maintaining these robots is also high. Moreover, there is a concern that the rapid advancement of technology may render the existing robots obsolete, further adding to the expenses.

Despite these challenges, the field of robotics in healthcare continues to evolve. Research is being conducted to develop specialized robots for specific medical fields like cardiology and urology. These specialized robots have the potential to revolutionize treatments and improve patient outcomes. Furthermore, the possibility of remote surgeries, where procedures are performed from hundreds of miles away, has become a reality due to the advancements in robotic technology. This breakthrough allows expert surgeons to operate on patients who are in remote or underprivileged areas, improving access to quality healthcare.

It is notable that the adoption of robots in healthcare is likely to be faster for routine tasks compared to clinical applications. This is because routine tasks can be easily automated without extensive human intervention or advanced technology. On the other hand, clinical applications require specialized robots and trained professionals, which may take longer to become mainstream.

In conclusion, the application of robots in healthcare holds great promise for improving patient care and outcomes. While there are challenges such as high implementation costs and the need for specialized robots, ongoing research and development are addressing these issues. As the field continues to evolve, it is anticipated that robots will increasingly play a significant role in routine tasks and even clinical applications, ultimately contributing to the advancement of healthcare.

Moderator

The challenges faced by healthcare systems today are numerous and complex. These include the differing perspectives required by various medical specialties, discrepancies in international medical codification, the divide between paper and digital medical records, privacy laws, and the need to empower patients.

One of the key solutions to address these challenges lies in the advancement and utilization of digital technology in healthcare. Digital technology offers numerous benefits, such as improved efficiency, better coordination of care, and enhanced patient outcomes. Dr. Oscar Garcia, a renowned expert in digital health, has been working in this field since 1985. As the chief of Unified Medical Records and the founder of the Digital Health Information Network, his system has catered to around 60,000 patients and conducted over a million clinical tests, showcasing the potential and success of digital health technology.

Furthermore, the importance of internet access for patient monitoring is growing rapidly. Patients now spend less time in hospitals, and digital means are used for monitoring their health remotely. In Europe, there have been instances where patients faced difficulties due to unreliable internet connections for their medical devices during power shortages. This highlights the crucial role of internet access in ensuring effective monitoring and care.

Robots are also becoming an integral part of healthcare, particularly in tending to the elderly. China has already started implementing nurse robots to support nursing staff, while Japan has been developing robots to assist the elderly for decades. These innovations in robotics help to alleviate the strain on healthcare professionals and provide personalized care to the aging population.

Additionally, concerns over internet availability and connectivity in the healthcare sector are being addressed. While there may be some issues with connectivity, efforts are being made to improve delay and disruption-tolerant networking (DTN) to ensure reliable internet access for healthcare providers and patients alike.

The concept of robotics in healthcare extends beyond physical robots to software that is now considered a medical device. Software interventions are gaining momentum in various aspects of the healthcare system, such as analyzing imaging, symptom checking processes, and triaging patients in different situations. This broadens the scope of robotics and its potential in revolutionizing healthcare delivery.

Digital health is seen as the new trend for achieving universal healthcare coverage. With the wider adoption of digital technologies, it becomes possible to overcome the challenges of differing views among medical specialties, discrepancies in international medical codification, and the divide between paper and digital records. This paves the way for more efficient and comprehensive healthcare services that are accessible to all.

Electronic medical records play a crucial role in supporting AI applications in the healthcare system. They serve as one of the most important sources of data for analyzing and implementing AI technologies. The ability to harness and analyze vast amounts of medical data can enable better diagnoses, treatment plans, and overall healthcare outcomes.

Furthermore, internet governance applied to the healthcare system is an important focus area. Ensuring appropriate governance and regulation of digital technologies and internet access in healthcare is essential for patient safety, data security, and overall system effectiveness.

In conclusion, addressing the challenges in healthcare systems requires a shift towards digital health, utilizing digital technology, internet access, robotics, and improved governance. These advancements have the potential to overcome the various obstacles faced by healthcare systems and pave the way for more effective, efficient, and inclusive healthcare services.

Houda Chihi

The analysis highlights the critical importance of cyber security in robots, particularly in sectors such as healthcare. Failure to comply with cyber-security standards can have severe consequences, including risking human life. It is therefore crucial to regularly update and patch robots to enhance their safety and integrity. Additionally, AI algorithms used in robots need to be resistant to threats and include intrusion detection mechanisms to prevent cyber-attacks.

In the healthcare sector, respecting and adhering to cyber-security laws and regulations is imperative. Raising awareness among healthcare staff about the importance of cyber security and providing training on proper authorization and authentication procedures is essential. Staff members should avoid using open or public Wi-Fi when accessing patient platforms to protect against data breaches. Encouraging the use of strong, regularly updated passwords is also recommended.

Encryption and secure communication play vital roles in cyber security. Data communication between robots and the cloud should be encrypted to protect sensitive information and ensure privacy. Encrypting communication channels between robots and users is also crucial to secure data and protect human life. Robust encryption measures can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access and data manipulation.

The analysis also emphasizes the need for multi-stakeholder collaboration in addressing cyber-security challenges. Effective collaboration among service providers, healthcare professionals, government entities, and policy makers is essential. IT teams should take the lead in promoting cyber-security awareness and organizing training webinars to educate stakeholders on best practices and emerging threats. This coordinated effort will foster a proactive cyber-security culture and enhance security resilience in critical sectors like healthcare.

In conclusion, cyber security is vital for the safe operation of robots, particularly in sectors where human lives are at stake. Adhering to cyber-security standards, regularly updating robots, and implementing robust encryption and secure communication measures are key to mitigating cyber threats. Raising awareness and fostering multi-stakeholder collaboration are essential components in creating a cyber-resilient ecosystem. These measures should be prioritized to ensure the safety, security, and integrity of critical systems and protect both data and human life.

Speakers

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Dr. Oscar Garcia

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116 words per minute

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AD

Amali Desilva Mitchell

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2257 words

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903 secs

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DM

DC member

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649 words

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282 secs

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Dr. Erbguth

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DG

Dr. Gupta

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DJ

Dr. Joao Gomez

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FC

Frederic Cohen

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HC

Houda Chihi

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Judah Crow

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JH

Judith Hallison

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Moderator

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