Some of the most dynamic areas of robotics research and development today are healthcare applications. Robot-assisted surgery, robotic nurses, in-home rehabilitation, and eldercare robots' are all demonstrating rapidly iterating innovation. Rising healthcare labor costs and an aging population will increase demand for these human surrogates and enhancements. However, like many emerging technologies, robots are difficult to place within existing regulatory frameworks. For example, the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) seeks to ensure that medical devices (few of which are consumer devices) are safe, the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules apply to data collected by health care providers (but not most consumer-facing hardware or software developers), and state licensing statutes oversee the conduct of doctors and nurses who, heretofore, have all been human beings.
Drew Simshaw, Nicolas Terry, Kris Hauser & M.L. Cummings,
Regulating Healthcare Robots: Maximizing Opportunities While Minimizing Risks,
Rich. J.L. & Tech
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/jolt/vol22/iss2/1