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Robots and Improving Patient Care

written by: MandaSpring • edited by: Anurag Ghosh • updated: 12/12/2008

Modern technology is all about computers and robots. Learn how robots are impacting patient care.

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    Intouch Health, a California company built the RP7 Remote Presence Robot to assist in patient monitoring. It looks like an old movie robot with a flat screen television instead of a head. In spite of being somewhat unattractive, the RP7 can be used to stay in touch with patients in their hospital rooms without the doctors having to make personal rounds every day. The doctor’s image appears on the screen and speaks to the patients in real time, just as easily as if he were actually standing in front of them. Doctor’s can keep up with their patients from elsewhere in the facility or even from miles away, making the time spent more efficiently than traveling.

    The RP 7 Remote Presence Robot as a Medical Tool

    The RP7 can be used both by doctors and by teachers! The Nursing Institute of West Central Ohio has used it in teaching nursing students and found that it enables close supervision of both the students and patients for the benefit of everyone involved. An instructor can use the RP7 to be in several places at the same time, explaining procedures to one group of students while observing the patient care the students are providing. The instructor is immediately available for any questions or emergencies that may arise as the nursing students and patients interact.

    How the RP7 Works

    The RP7 costs about $200,000. and is mobile and can operate on high-speed Internet without having to be connected to a stationary location. The doctor and patient (or nurse, or student) can discuss anything necessary, face to face, enabling the physician to see what is going on in real time and give immediate instructions or answer questions. For example, if an emergency arises and the patient needs medication immediately, the doctor can assess the situation, prescribe the drugs and watch as the nurse administers them, just as though he were standing in the room. Time is of the essence in medicine and the RP7 allows for real time treatment.

    Overview

    Modern medical technology is advancing rapidly, and robotics is a major part of it. Being able to treat patients from a distance allows doctors to give better care to more patients in the course of a day. The RP7 is a major step forward in quality medical care. Even with the initial cost of robots like the RP7, health care can become more cost effective.

    Resource:

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/tech/robotics/robot-doctor.html