Robo-docs: The future of telemedicine?

Patient care may be taking an interesting turn as doctors can now treat you through a mobile robot.

Patient care may be taking an interesting turn as doctors can now treat you through a mobile robot.

Seven U.S. and Mexican hospitals have now installed the RP-VITA telepresence robot -- which secured FDA approval this year -- which is a robot touted as the "first of its kind" in telemedicine.

RP-VITA, which stands for Remote Presence Virtual + Independent Telemedicine Assistant, has been designed to help overstretched doctors better monitor their patients as well as deal with heavy workloads. When time is of the essence for patients who are suffering from conditions including suffering a stroke, the mobile robot is able to keep medical professionals in contact with their patients more consistently and may prevent complications in treatment.

Paul Vespa, director of neurocritical care at the Reagan Center commented:

"During a stroke, the loss of a few minutes can mean the difference between preserving or losing brain function. The new technology enables me to concentrate on caring for my patient without being distracted by the need to set up and manage its technological features."

The iPad-controlled RP-VITA is remotely controllable by a doctor, and is able to navigate hospital wards autonomously. A map can be integrated through the use of a tablet so patients can be found automatically with no disruption to hospital procedures.

Currently, the RP-VITA is present in TeleStroke, TeleICU, TelePsych, and TelePediatric programs at care centers including the Hoag Memorial Hospital, Ohio State Wexner Medical Center and Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center. The robot can also be found at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Read More: CNET

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