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Laurel D. Riek ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is an associate professor
of computer science and engineering at the University of
California, San Diego. She directs the Healthcare Robotics
lab and builds autonomous robots that can sense,
understand, and learn from real people in the real world.
© 2017 ACM 0001-0782/17/11 $15.00
conducting CER with robots, particularly in cognitive support settings, it
is not sufficient to simply test robot
vs.no-robot, as the morphology can
affect outcomes, but to instead to test
actuated vs. non-actuated.
Healthcare robotics is an exciting,
emerging area that can benefit all
stakeholders across a range of settings. There have been a number of
exciting advances in robotics in recent
years, which point to a fruitful future.
How these robots ultimately will be integrated into the lives of primary beneficiaries remains unknown, but there
is no doubt that robots will be a major
enabler (and disruptor) to health.
It is critical that both the research
and industrial communities work together to establish a strong evidence-base for healthcare robotics. As we
have learned from the large-scale deployment of EHRs, technology development and deployment cannot happen in a vacuum, or it is likely to cause
grave harm to DRUs, overwhelming
stress to clinicians, and astronomical
unseen costs. It is wise for all stakeholders to proceed cautiously and deliberately, and consider the full context of care as much as possible.
It is also critical that direct robot
users remain directly involved in the
research, development, and deployment of future robots in health and
wellness across the entire lifecycle of
a project, as ultimately they are the
ones who will be using these robots.
As discussed earlier, ignoring DRU
input leads to unusable, unsuitable,
and abandoned robots, which benefits no one. Secondary and Tertiary
stakeholders should look to the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)g as a highly successful
model for how-to engage with primary
stakeholders in clinical research and
Finally, it is important that ro-
bot makers work with DRUs to help
bridge technology literacy gaps and
appropriately set expectations. Most
people’s experience with robotics
comes from movies or media, which
rarely reflects the true state of af-
fairs. Robots are quite fallible in the
real world, and will remain so for the
foreseeable future; however, they still
have the potential to be a remarkable
game changer in health.
Some research reported in this article is based upon work supported by
the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. IIS-1253935 and SES-
1457307, and the Luce Foundation.
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