InTouch Robot Beams Doctor's Presence Into Your Hospital Room

A medical specialist in Los Angeles can now see a patient in Washington, a second patient in Kansas, and a third in New York, in just a span of two hours ... without having to leave his chair.

What actually gets beamed across large distances is the doctor's presence, displayed on a robot's screen. Through the robot, the doctor can examine the patient even when they're separated by hundreds or even thousands of miles. 

intouch robot and patient

'Examining' includes conversing in real-time with eye-to-eye contact via the robot's screen, which also serves as the machine's head. Since it's the doctor's face that's seen on the screen, it makes the patient feel that the doctor is inside the same room. Furthermore, the doctor, through his own control station, can zoom into the patient's body to examine even say, his eyes or tongue.

Using the same remote control station, the doctor can navigate the robot around the patient's bedside, through the hallways and into his other patients' rooms. This allows for easy (and more frequent) supplemental rounds and can allow for an earlier discharge of the patient once the doctor sees that everything is alright. Didn't you experience having to wait for a long time to be discharged even if you felt you were already cured just because the discharge orders weren't issued yet? 

The main cause of this common problem is geography. If the doctor is busy with other appointments in other places, he might not be able to attend to you immediately. The InTouch Robot can be the answer. As a patient, you'll feel more secure knowing that the probability of having a specialist look in on you even after office hours is now higher.

intouch robot and local doctorsOne of the major benefits of this technology is when you have a specialist on one part of the country and his services are needed in a health care facility located elsewhere. Resident health care practitioners in that facility can consult with the remotely situated specialist through the robot's interface. In fact, the resident doctor(s) can perform a medical procedure on a patient while being assisted remotely by the specialist.

Let me give you an even more sophisticated scenario. What if the specialist's assistance is direly needed by 3 different health care facilities within a short period of time? Since the system supports a many-to-many architecture, i.e., one control station can connect from one robot to another and one robot can be controlled by one control station after another, this scenario can be catered to.

Thus, not only will a single specialist be able to look into many patients around the country in a single day, but also, many specialists (from different parts of the country) can take turns examining a single patient on a single day.

Communication is provided by proprietary wireless and mobile technologies, so essentially, this system can be implemented virtually anywhere. Imagine having health care facilities in Asia tapping the services of specialists in the US or Europe. 

intouch robot and specialistControl stations can take the form of a laptop, desktop, or a much smaller ControlStation kit that can be plugged into any computer with the right specs.

At the end of the day, once the robot is temporarily free of its duties, it can perform automatic docking maneuvers just like the Roomba ... and everyone, doctor, patient, and robot, can rest more peacefully.

For more information about the InTouch Robot, visit the InTouch Health website.

The images are screencaptures from the first video below, which features the Saint Joseph Health System, one of the health care providers employing the InTouch Robot.  


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