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Monday, March 3, 2008

Robo's in Hospitals

Has it come to this?Robots standing in for doctors at the hospital patients bedside?Not exactly,but some doctors have found a way to use a video conferencing robot to check on patients while they are miles away from the hospital.

At Baltimore's Sinai Hospitaloutfitted with cameras ,a screen and a microphone,joystick controlled robot is guided into the rooms of Dr Alex Gandas patients where he speaks to them as if he were right there."The system allows you to be anywhere in the hospital from anywhere in the world"says the surgeon who specialises in weight loss surgery.


Besides his normal morning and afternoon in person rounds,Gandsas uses the$150,000 robot to visit patients at night or when problems arise."they love it.They'b rather see me through the robot"he said of his patients' reaction to the machine.

Gandsas presented the idea to the hospital administrators as a method to more closely monitor patients following weight loss surgery.Gandsas an unpaid member of advisory board for the robot manufacture who has stock options in the company, added that since its introduction the length of stay has been shorter for the patients visited by the ROBOT.

A chart review study of 376 doctors' patients found that the 92 patients who had additional robotic visits had shorter hospital stays.Gandsas study appears in the july issue of the Journal Of The American College Of Surgeons.

Nicknamed Bari for the bariatic surgery Gandsas practices, the RP-7 Remote Presence Robotic System by InTouch Technologiesis one of a number of robotic devices finding their way into the medical world.About 180 of the robots are in use in hospitals world wide.

A similar robot is used for Teleconference with a translater for doctor who dont speak their patient language.Robotic devices have also been used to guide stroke patients through therapy.

Nurse Florence Ford, who has worked with the robot since it was introduced about 18 months ago,said patients have reacted well, particularly because "seeing the doctors faces gives them confidence".

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