Monday, November 05, 2007

University of Louisville sends robots to link doctors with hospital patients in rural areas of Kentucky

The lack of doctors in rural areas is a common problem, but the University of Louisville has an unusual answer to it — robots. U of L Health Care announced Monay that it will be rolling out models of the RP-7 Robot to allow doctors in Louisville to treat patients in hospitals in Central and Western Kentucky. It may sound like science fiction, but the Owensboro-Mercy Health System already has the 5-foot-6 robot roaming its halls (U of L photo).

The robot, first invented five years ago by I
nTouch Health in Santa Barbara, Calif., uses a secure wireless connection to share information instantly between doctor and patient. Through live, two-way audio and video, the doctor can speak to the patient and the patient's family in real time. A joystick, camera and 360-degree sensors allow the doctor to guide the robot through the hospital. "The physician drives the robot through remote access, and the robot is almost self sufficient; the only thing it needs assistance with is plugging in to recharge the robot’s battery," the news release said.

While the program is limited to OMHS for now, U of L Health Care "
expects to expand it to other rural areas where the expertise of specialists and sub-specialists might not be available during an emergency, according to Ellen de Graffenreid, a spokeswoman for U of L's Health Sciences Center," reports Business First of Louisville.

3 comments:

GM Wells said...

This is truly amazing.
How could someone think this was anything but a monumental waste of money is not to be believed.
What doctor in this country is going to sit there in his office and patiently drive this machine around the hallways of a hospital.
This is yet another instance where the “gee-whiz” factor won out over common sense in the grant funding process.
Install four or five high quality remotely controlled webcams along with a remote feed on other pertinent data then link a monitor in that room with a web-cam in a doctor’s office, and then repeat that in four exam rooms in the hospital. With that you’ll have the same or better interface with no lag time between patients and likely with a lot less damage to the pocketbook.
But then that plan won’t place a “robot” that will wander the halls advertising for U of L.
Particularly hilarious is the concept that this high-dollar toy is something that would be rolled out in times of emergency. Navigating that thing down a crowded corridor, as is common in an emergency, would be (gotta use this here) virtually impossible.
If it would be just infuriating to the doctor in his office miles away how will an orderly or EMT trying to get a patient down that same hallway going to react when their path is blocked by a slow moving gizmo.
More than a couple of them I’ve known over the years would toss the thing out of the way and say “Oops I thought it was some kid’s toy,” after the fact.
But really how cute is the comment, “Only thing it needs assistance with is plugging in to recharge the robot’s battery.” Never happen. These things will be locked in a closet long before they need recharging.

GM Wells said...

This is truly amazing.
How could someone think this was anything but a monumental waste of money is not to be believed.
What doctor in this country is going to sit there in his office and patiently drive this machine around the hallways of a hospital.
This is yet another instance where the “gee-whiz” factor won out over common sense in the grant funding process.
Install four or five high quality remotely controlled webcams along with a remote feed on other pertinent data then link a monitor in that room with a web-cam in a doctor’s office, and then repeat that in four exam rooms in the hospital. With that you’ll have the same or better interface with no lag time between patients and likely with a lot less damage to the pocketbook.
But then that plan won’t place a “robot” that will wander the halls advertising for U of L.
Particularly hilarious is the concept that this high-dollar toy is something that would be rolled out in times of emergency. Navigating that thing down a crowded corridor, as is common in an emergency, would be (forgive me for this) virtually impossible.
If it would be just infuriating to the doctor in his office miles away how will an orderly or EMT trying to get a patient down that same hallway going to react when their path is blocked by a slow moving gizmo.
More than a couple of them I’ve known over the years would toss the thing out of the way and say “Oops I thought it was some kid’s toy,” after the fact.
But really how cute is the comment, “Only thing it needs assistance with is plugging in to recharge the robot’s battery.” Never happen. These things will be locked in a closet long before they need recharging.

GM Wells said...

This is truly amazing.
How could someone think this was anything but a monumental waste of money is not to be believed.
What doctor in this country is going to sit there in his office and patiently drive this machine around the hallways of a hospital.
This is yet another instance where the “gee-whiz” factor won out over common sense in the grant funding process.
Install four or five high quality remotely controlled webcams along with a remote feed on other pertinent data then link a monitor in that room with a web-cam in a doctor’s office, and then repeat that in four exam rooms in the hospital. With that you’ll have the same or better interface with no lag time between patients and likely with a lot less damage to the pocketbook.
But then that plan won’t place a “robot” that will wander the halls advertising for U of L.
Particularly hilarious is the concept that this high-dollar toy is something that would be rolled out in times of emergency. Navigating that thing down a crowded corridor, as is common in an emergency, would be (forgive me for this) virtually impossible.
If it would be just infuriating to the doctor in his office miles away how will an orderly or EMT trying to get a patient down that same hallway going to react when their path is blocked by a slow moving gizmo.
More than a couple of them I’ve known over the years would toss the thing out of the way and say “Oops I thought it was some kid’s toy,” after the fact.
But really how cute is the comment, “Only thing it needs assistance with is plugging in to recharge the robot’s battery.” Never happen. These things will be locked in a closet long before they need recharging.