Robot helps doctor operate from 20 miles away

October 15, 2019

In September of 2019, a doctor in India performed a series of exploratory heart procedures on patients who were 20 miles away from him.

He did it using a surgical robot developed by an American company and during the procedures, the doctor guided the robot with a set of joysticks, via a hardwired internet connection, while he watched on a video monitor. The surgeries were successful.

The news highlights how quickly robots are being developed for surgical procedures and the frontiers of their applications.

In fact, the global robotics market is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 25% between 2019 and 2024, according to a report by Research and Markets.  As reported by Yahoo Finance, robotic applications are spreading in all industrial areas, including healthcare, entertainment, retail, automobile and defense.

In the healthcare area, one of the catalysts is the rise of an applied engineering field called medical mechatronics.  Mechatronics combines mechanical and electrical engineering and computer science and uses artificial intelligence software to gather information, interpret the data and translate the information into motions and actions.

The goal of these devices is to help surgeons be more precise and perform surgery that is less invasive. This is, in turn, is leading to faster patient recovery, a reduction in post-operative pain and a reduction in length of hospital stay and fewer readmissions due to complications.

Reuters’ article predicted that one on three surgeries conducted in the United States by 2021 will be performed with robotic systems. As the U.S. is the biggest market for surgical robots, this is helping drive sales growth of these systems by 10.4% annually to reach a value of U.S. $6.5 billion between 2018 and 2023.

Two medical device companies that are benefitting from these trends are Stryker Corp. and Medtronic Corp. These U.S.-based multinationals are developing robotic aids and are seeing sales growth in this area. Both are components of the Harvest Portfolios Group’s  Harvest Healthcare Leaders Income ETF (HHL:TSX, HHL.U:TSX).

The Harvest Healthcare Leaders Income ETF aims to capture growth in the healthcare sector and invests in the stocks of 20 healthcare companies with an average capitalization of US$161 billion.

The holdings have an average dividend yield of 2.07%, a current monthly distribution yield of 9.49% for the ETF (yield enhanced through a covered call option overlay) as of Sept. 30, 2019 and a 5-year return on equity of 18.34%”

For more on Harvest Portfolio Group ETFs click here.

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