Medical Robotics: a Lucrative Opportunity in Latin America

Andrés Oppenheimer’s new book ‘The Robots are Coming!’, explains the future of automation in the workplace spurring an era of technological revolution. Already, car factories are employing robots on the production line in roles traditionally reserved for human labour, whilst the agriculture industry undergoes a massive transformation to automated machinery.

Robotics in medicine

The medical robotics industry is at the forefront of artificial intelligence (AI) innovation, and we are at the stage now where robots are saving human lives.

The medical robotics industry is at the forefront of artificial intelligence (AI) innovation, and we are at the stage now where robots are saving human lives.

According to Zion Market research, the global medical robotics industry is estimated to be worth USD$ 24.6 billion by 2025, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 20.8% between 2019 and 2025. Latin America may be slow on the uptake, but that only serves to provide great opportunities for businesses to provide off the shelf solutions already deployed in other markets to a growing, tech-hungry region.

Latin America lags behind the market for Medical Robotics 

Medical robotics involve the use of any AI in medical practice or pharmaceuticals. A medical robot’s role can be as simple as patient registration in a hospital, or as complex as conducting intricate neurosurgery. However, on all counts, Latin America lags behind global progress.

Mexico is by far the largest producer of industrial robotics in the region, with a projected sales value of up to USD$314 million by 2021. Behind Mexico lies Brazil, at USD$36 million. All other countries combined are valued at USD$24 million. As well as production, Latin America are behind the curve on the use of industrial robots. Mexico, for example, uses only 36 robots per 10,000 workers compared to the US, using in excess of 200 for the same amount.

However, according to market research, Latin America is projected to demonstrate swift progress and a quick adoption, thanks to a skilled workforce and favorable government initiatives. With Latin America generally quick to adopt most global trends, it can be expected that this one is similar.

Invest in reliability and results

According to a 2018 Bain and Company study, as of 2016, the average cost of a robot equaled 1.5 years of a worker’s salary, down from average 5.3 years of a salary in 2010. This cost efficiency makes investing in industrial robots very profitable. Robots reduce human error, can work longer hours and process formulas or calculations much quicker than their human counterparts.

Specifically, within medical robots, the largest systems in which Latin America have invested have been in laparoscopy robots to do small abdomen incisions followed by the neurology segment. These trends have followed the rise in nerve-related diseases.

medical robotics

One field of medical robotics which has been extremely popular has been in the field of diagnosis. Software has become available which has significantly reduced doctor-patient appointments.

With robots now successfully being integrated into some of the most technical parts of medicine – including brain surgery and recently groundbreaking operations on the retina – it is safe to say that they are universally accepted and trusted. It has to be said that in terms of surgery, there is very little difference between the performance of a highly trained surgeon and state-of-the-art robot. However, it is not surgeons they are seeking to replace; robots are ideal servants to nations with underdeveloped medical practices and limited human resources.

One field of medical robotics which has been extremely popular has been in the field of diagnosis. Software has become available which has significantly reduced doctor-patient appointments. The use of online ‘chat bots’ has reduced the strain on doctor-patient time whilst also proven to be an entire 13% more accurate in diagnosis than the average doctor and reducing diagnosis time by an average of 1 minute per patient. This more accurate and more efficient streamlining of medical appointments is one of the largest sectors within medical robotics.

The pharmaceutical industry in Latin America

Like the medical robotics industry, pharmaceuticals in Latin America do not compare to their northern cousins in production figures. Brazil is the leading pharmaceutical producer in the region with the market being larger there than all the other Latin American countries combined and continually growing. Brazil are the main exporters to Latin America as well as shipping some to Europe, Asia and North America.

What are the business opportunities?

Latin America’s industry robotics is undoubtedly under-explored yet is likely to be the next continent to undergo the industrial robotics revolution according to market observers. Africa will be unlikely to yield fast growth in the AI market due to a lack of a skilled workforce whilst Asia, North America and Europe have already undergone massive transformations. The trends in AI tend to follow patterns in growth as it is still seen as a luxury. The more Latin America grows, the more likely medical robotics will be used as well as produced.

How can Biz Latin Hub help?

Latin America is fast adopting tech manufacturing in favor of the waning mining industries. Investment into quaternary industries and into scientific research projects in the region is becoming more and more popular. It is only a matter of time until Latin America fully embrace the possibilities that lie within robotics and Artificial Intelligence.

If you are interested in finding out more about the industry robotics arena in Latin America, get in touch here at Biz Latin Hub to get personalized legal and accounting advice on your venture.

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