Special Report

Top Health Stories to Watch For in 2020

Robots’ use in health care

In 2010, remote-controlled robots performed the very first heart surgery. Over the years, robotic surgery, or robot-assisted surgery, has grown to be one of the hottest fields in health technology.

There isn’t firm evidence that robot surgery yields meaningfully better results, such as , such as in hernia repair operations. The hope however, is that robot use will allow doctors to be more precise and better see the area that is being operated on during certain procedures, and lower costs for patients.

Source: Charday Penn / Getty Images

VR in health care

Most people associate Virtual Reality with cool games they can play for fun, but the technology also has much more serious uses in the fields of health care and physical therapy.

Doctors use VR for surgery simulations, phobia treatment, robotic surgery, and skills training. VR is also being explored as a possible way to treat limb pain relief. The global VR health care market is valued at about $933 million and is expected to boom to about $3 billion by 2023.

Source: AndreyPopov / Getty Images


Telemedicine allows doctors to diagnose and treat patients remotely using telecommunications technology. Telemedicine is seen as a cheaper alternative to traditional face-to-face examinations. While it’s not widespread, it’s growing in popularity. Telemedicine visits, which may be covered by Medicaid, soared from 0.02 per 1,000 patients in 2005 to 6.6 per 1,000 in 2017.

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