Your View: Robots and health care

The field of robotics could change the way health care is delivered. There is some evidence that using robotics to relieve health care professionals of some their burden can improve the quality of health care, for example.

How would you feel about having a robot take care of mom?

Click the Submit Your Comment link below and tell us. And see's Robotics feature series here (new features will be added daily through July 20).

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

This discussion is now Open. Submit your Comment.



I've worked in Retirement Homes and institutions for the Senile and Deranged. The treatment they get there is so rigid in its order that if something goes in any way other than according to plan, they have to change the schedule to maintain their times and whatnot.

A robot caring for my mother vs. the human employees, imo, wouldn't make a difference, considering the way they have been trained to act.

Even robots can fake kindness, concern, and love, just as workers are trained to do when handling delicate situations.

So yes, I think a robot would be suitable for the job, but I don't see the technology as being prepared enough yet.

Posted July 18, 2007 09:16 AM

Grant Czerepak


I think robots for strenuos activities such as lifting or routine activities such as cleaning would be a boon for both healthcare professionals and patients. However, more interactive care should remain in the hands of humans for the time being.

Posted July 18, 2007 10:38 AM

Lorina Stephens

Perhaps I'm being paranoid, but I cannot help but listen to that internal warning that says this is the beginning of the slippery slope. We already have so many problems with the dehumanization of medicine, and abuse of the elderly or infirm, that adding a robot to replace true compassion and human interaction I feel will only absolve us from developing our skills as decent, caring individuals.
I am all for the advancement of technology and boldly going forth, but when it comes to replacing human kindness with a fuzzy toy, I think we've gone beyond sensibility and responsibility.

Posted July 18, 2007 10:38 AM


You mean my family physician ISN'T a robot? He is so rude and cold, I thought for certain... For $200k, how many new medical grads could we generate? The Fed. Gov't should get more involved in med schools, creating new spaces and incentives for students, young and old. And why can't my optometrist manage my glaucoma - I can see him on a moment's notice, while an ophthalmologist is impossible to find...

Posted July 18, 2007 04:12 PM


Using robotics in healthcare delivery seems logical. Of course, I would expect that robotics useage would be monitored thoroughly and evaluated properly. We presently have a healthcare system which is heavily dependent on every technology we can afford, so why not add robotics?

Posted July 18, 2007 04:45 PM



Lorina Stephens:

You are being paranoid.

I visit old folks homes as part of a volunteer service given by a group of people who want to make these lonely elderly happy. When we visit, the folks there are so happy to see us they beg us to stay.

Mr. Smith (name has been changed as per rules and regulations) enjoys telling me about the wars he fought in and about how his wife thinks he's a hero.... she's been dead for thirty years.

Mrs. Doe begs us to bring her stuffed animals to play with because "they won't let me bring my Patches with me." Patches was her dog, which, unless registered as a therapy dog, is not allowed within the premises.

The fact is, these people are not cared for by humans in the first place. They're shuffled about, treated like children without the added warmth a parent might give, and generally forgotten about.

If a robot is capable of providing them comfort I say PLEASE do it. All the company they can get, as they won't get it from humans, makes them extremely happy.

Posted July 19, 2007 08:10 AM



So much of medical robotics being funded and promoted is just plain silliness. The logic goes something like this. Medicine is kind of high-tech, and robots are kind of high-tech, so let's put them together and get some money from the government to have some fun. We can get some surgeons to play video games and play with manipulators. We can take photos of robot arms doing "surgery" on plastic models. We can tell everyone that this is very important for the future. After all, we might need to do brain surgery in Antarctica or on the way to Mars. Or maybe in some poor country where they don't have doctors. Give me a break. Like so much of the publicly funded scientific enterprise, it is all about politics and creating the illusion that we are a technologically advanced country. They babble about economic opportunities and spin-off companies that are supposed to follow - just don't ask if there is a real need. It seems that robots are still a metaphor for intelligence gone awry.

Posted July 21, 2007 06:04 AM

Donna Cooper

My elderly parents live in a rural community in Saskatchewan. It is a 2 hour trip to Regina to see specialists. The trip is very hard on them as the day is very long. Most often the actual time with the specialist is 5 minutes. Recently my mother and I were told that a procedure would be set up within a month and that was it. A system of talking to the specialist via a robot or video conferencing would save much time & energy & money both for the doctor and the patient. The elderly and their care givers are usually very tired and time is precious. An all day trip for 5 minutes usually takes the elderly several days to get over.
In long term care homes this system would be especially helpful. The care robots might be fun & educational for the residents of all ages. Hopefully though the robots would not relace the human touch and the love so necessary for all of us survive.
With the health care under so many pressures I think long distance conferencing would be absolutely welcomed.

Posted July 21, 2007 08:13 AM

« Previous Post | Main | Next Post »

Post a Comment


Note: By submitting your comments you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that due to the volume of e-mails we receive, not all comments will be published, and those that are published will not be edited. But all will be carefully read, considered and appreciated.

Note: Due to volume there will be a delay before your comment is processed. Your comment will go through even if you leave this page immediately afterwards.

Privacy Policy | Submissions Policy


World »

Salman Abedi, 22, ID'd as suicide bomber in Manchester attack
British police on Tuesday identified the suicide bomber who killed 22 people, including children, in an attack on a crowded arena in Manchester, and said they were trying to establish whether he had acted alone or with help from others.
'We are the many, they are the few': Manchester vigil for attack victims video audio
Thousands of people turned out for a vigil in Manchester, England, on Tuesday evening, with the crowd holding a minute of silence to honour the victims of an attack at the conclusion of an Ariana Grande concert.
Ex-CIA chief concerned by Trump campaign's Kremlin contacts video
Former CIA director John Brennan says he was concerned about the number of contacts between Americans involved with the Trump campaign and the Russians last year.
more »

Canada »

'Absolutely tragic': 2 dads, 2 sons die on northern Manitoba canoe trip
A community is in mourning after two men and two boys drowned while on a canoe trip in northern Manitoba.
'Fear-mongering': Anti-immigrant protest at Red Deer school follows student fight video
RCMP officers stood guard outside a high school in Red Deer, Alta., Tuesday morning as more than 40 demonstrators marched outside the grounds as part of an anti-immigration protest.
The story behind an alleged fraud worth millions in Nova Scotia's lobster industry
Lobster, once called the 'cockroach of the sea,' is now a billion-dollar industry in Nova Scotia. And RCMP say it's also the centre of an alleged scheme that stole about $2.5 million from four different seafood companies.
more »

Politics »

New Online threat against Sophie Grégoire Trudeau leads to arrest of Lethbridge woman
A Lethbridge, Alta. woman is facing charges after allegedly posting threats online against Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, wife of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Federal inmate dies by suicide after 118 days in solitary confinement
Guy Langlois took his own life on April 24 after spending 118 days in solitary confinement at a federal institution in New Brunswick, CBC News has learned. The inmate had a long history of mental illness and had been transferred multiple times. In fact, he was due to be sent to B.C. on the day he died.
Division is the biggest threat to federal Conservatives, says Kenney
As the federal Conservatives are poised to choose a new leader, former Harper cabinet minister Jason Kenney warns against those who want to divide the party.
more »

Health »

Sorry - we can't find that page

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Arts & Entertainment»

James Corden, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj 'heartbroken' after bombing at Ariana Grande's Manchester concert
Friends, celebrity fans, music world peers of pop singer Ariana Grande and more are expressing their sorrow and sympathy after a shocking bomb attack at the American singer's concert in Manchester, England, on Monday night.
Some musicians cancel concerts after Manchester blast
The suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England has shaken the music world, with some artists cancelling upcoming gigs and others planning to go ahead as scheduled.
Zack Snyder exits Justice League after daughter's death
The recent death of director Zack Snyder's daughter has driven the prominent filmmaker to step away from finishing the ensemble superhero movie Justice League.
more »

Technology & Science »

Flood prediction, climate change impacts on water studied at new Canmore lab
At a new research lab in Canmore, scientists are studying the impact of climate change on water, glaciers and snow, and developing tools to predict and warn people about future floods.
Trump budget cuts funding for clean air and water programs
The Trump Administration budget released Tuesday slashes funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by nearly one-third, laying off thousands of employees while imposing dramatic cuts to clean air and water programs.
Astronauts conduct spacewalk to perform urgent repairs
Spacewalking astronauts made urgent repairs at the International Space Station on Tuesday, three days after a critical relay box abruptly failed.
more »

Money »

U.S. suing Fiat Chrysler for cheating on emissions tests
Some of Fiat Chrysler's diesel pickup trucks and Jeep SUVs cheat on emissions tests similar to how Volkswagen engines did, the U.S. Justice Department alleges in a lawsuit launched Tuesday.
No desk of your own: The office plan of the future? video
A growing number of Canadian companies believe it’s time to overhaul the old office layout where cubicles, offices and meeting rooms are the only options. The new buzzwords are flexibility and choice.
Trump's 1st budget pitches spending cuts for social programs
President Donald Trump Tuesday is unveiling a $4.1 trillion spending plan that relies on faster economic growth and steep cuts to programs for the poor in a bid to balance the government's books over the next decade.
more »

Consumer Life »

Sorry - we can't find that page

Sorry, we can't find the page you requested.

  1. Please check the URL in the address bar, or ...
  2. Use the navigation links at left to explore our site, or ...
  3. Enter a term in the Quick Search box at top, or ...
  4. Visit our site map page

In a few moments, you will be taken to our site map page, which will help you find what you looking for.

more »

Sports »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Coming Up Hockey Night in Canada: Senators vs. Penguins, Game 6
The Ottawa Senators host the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final on Hockey Night in Canada. Watch coverage on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET with our free live stream on the CBC Sports app or tune in to CBC-TV.
Video Insta creep sesh - Long weekend edition video
Take a break from your work day with Jacqueline Doorey of CBC Sports and creep Canada's Olympians' Instagram pages. This week: athletes apparently don't get long weekends. Also, Mark McMorris heals like no one's business.
Rookie Colin White could be part of Senators' lineup changes for Game 6
Colin White might make his NHL post-season debut when the Ottawa Senators face elimination in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference final tonight.
more »

Diversions »

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
more »