Greenville, S.C. (WSPA)– A trip to the emergency room, hospital stay, or even a routine visit to your doctor– it’s likely there’s a robot in the room.

As part of our “Ask the Expert” series, in partnership with Bon Secours St. Francis, 7News Anchor Taylor Murray spoke with two physicians about robotics and how they are improving the quality of care.

Robots in healthcare settings help to support healthcare workers and enhance patient care.

Dr. Jessica Gonzalez Hernandez, chief of surgery, uses them in the operating room to perform more complex surgeries in a minimally invasive way.

“Instead of using a large open incision, we’re able to do small, multiple smaller incisions and still accomplish the same operation.”

Dr. Jessica Gonzalez Hernandez, Chief of Surgery, Bon Secours St. Francis

She says robotic surgery has multiple benefits for patients.

“It does reduce the risk of infection, blood loss, scarring, but it also shortens hospital stay. It reduces pain and discomfort for patients which allows for them to have a faster recovery and faster return to work and normal activities,” Dr. Gonzalez Hernandez said.

Robots are not only used in the operating room but also in clinical settings, according to Dr. Bruce Swords, Chief Clinical Officer for Bon Secours St. Francis.

Robotics is significantly bigger than just surgery. And so, technology in pharmacy, food preparation and disinfection, given the Covid pandemic– robotics and AI is important in all of that,” Swords said.

Swords says during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, and now, robotic technology is used to clean rooms.

“Making sure that rooms are disinfected from pathogens, bacteria, and viruses that could have been left by a previous patient. And so all rooms are cleaned. As part of that cleaning, we use a system of UV disinfectant to clean a room. And that’s all done by a robot.”

Dr. Bruce Swords, Chief Clinical Officer, Bon Secours St. Francis

Dr. Swords says if you are hesitant about the idea of robots being involved in your patient care, it’s important to remember they are just tools.

“These robots are, at least to date, nearly useless without being in the hands of a skilled surgeon. But, when they are used and used efficiently, patients can get a much better outcome,” Swords said.

If you have an upcoming surgery. Dr. Gonzalez Hernandez and Dr. Swords encourage you to talk to your healthcare provider about how robotics can or will be used in the procedure.

Click here to submit a health topic for our Ask the Expert series.