President’s Perspective

Robots in the Texas Medical Center

The TMC welcomes international company ABB Robotics


William F. McKeon is the president and CEO of the Texas Medical Center. William F. McKeon is president and CEO of the Texas Medical Center (photo: Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle)
By William F. McKeon | September 26, 2019

My early childhood memories of robots come from dark science fiction movies, where these lifeless objects play menacing roles.

But as you can see from the photo on the cover of TMC Pulse magazine, robots in the real world aren’t scary. In fact, they’ll play an increasingly significant role in advancing health care within the Texas Medical Center.

Robots offer us an exciting opportunity to improve our treatment of patients and to streamline our processes. For nearly 20 years, surgical robots have assisted surgeons. A physician stationed at a terminal can direct a surgical robot, sometimes known as a “telemanipulator,” to perform work with an incredible degree of precision. Robots also allow surgical procedures to be performed remotely, when a patient requires surgical expertise that is not available locally.

I am very excited to welcome ABB, the largest robotics company in the world, to the Texas Medical Center. Its mission here is to work closely with our physicians and researchers to identify and develop new, innovative applications for robots to transform health care beyond the operating room.

When I arrived in Houston six years ago, I’ll admit: I was dismayed at the lack of leading technology companies operating in the world’s largest medical city. We had some of the most talented clinicians and researchers on the planet, but we were missing the requisite industry presence that could accelerate our discoveries into technologies that better serve patients.

Today, that’s all changed. We’re now home to Johnson & Johnson (the largest health care company in the world), AT&T (the largest telecommunications company in the world) and now ABB (the largest robotics company in the world). Of course, this is just the beginning, as we will soon break ground on TMC3, our 37-acre campus designed specifically to encourage collaboration between our researchers and industry partners.

Robots will undoubtedly play a vital role in supporting our researchers as they develop cutting-edge treatments that help patients overcome disease. And just as they have for generations, robots will continue to push the boundaries of our imaginations.

 

William F. McKeon
President and Chief Executive Officer
Texas Medical Center




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