A new doctor at the hospital. Well, more or less.
The male doctor is a robot that works with a joystick, has three wheels, a stethoscope and may be the solution to the shortage of doctors and nurses that affects hospitals in the nation. Chico (English acronym of Computer Intensive Care Attendant) allows physicians and nurses to virtually examine patients, they speak, have access to digitized medical records and, ideally, diagnose diseases but is far from the patient.
The robot’s face is a flat screen.
Not that Chico does the work of doctors, but facilitates their work supervising the patient. And when the doctor is next to the patient, can get a second opinion from a distance. Or if the doctor and patient speak different languages, Chico coordinated interpretation. “With the acute shortage of specialists in trauma and critical care, telemedicine is going to move,”said Dr. Jeffrey Augenstein, a professor of surgery and director of Ryder Trauma Center.” The advantage of such a thing is worth millions.”
The robot does not cost a penny to Jackson Memorial Hospital. The Army and the Jackson lease it reaps the benefits because the Army medical personnel are trained in this hospital before being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Doctors at Jackson and Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami began using a male since last month on an experimental basis, although not yet fully operational. As the population ages and the shortage of specialized physicians is acute, medical videoconferencing robot could be the future.
“In the history of modern medicine to the patients we assessed seeing and talking to them. This would be a way to change that system,”said Augenstein.” We sat in this room [the robot] and have access to all information of no matter who is patient with us or across the world.” The robot of Jackson is one of a kind used in the trauma center, according to the creator of the device, In Touch Technologies, based in California. Four other Army hospitals – one in Seattle, two in Texas and one in Germany – but those hospitals are trauma centers.
Dozens of similar units, called RP-7 Remote Presence Robots are used in hospitals around the country to assess embolisms, heart attacks and critical care. Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson handles 4,000 cases a year.
The Army expects that robots allow access to specialists at the forefront of battle.”The Army has a shortage of surgeons … with a growing need in the battlefield … this can help,”said Dr. Donald Robinson, lieutenant colonel and chief of Army Training Center at Jackson.
Hospital officials say the robot is a great benefit to the population.
“What if someone is injured in Key West or in a rural county,” asks Augenstein. Answer: If the hospital has a broadband connection the robot can help doctors diagnose from Jackson if the patient should be transported to the trauma center. The robot was created by Dr. Yulun Wang, In Touch Technologies. This latest version of the preceding six.
Robots do not require regular maintenance but are permanently monitored every two minutes, technical service teams. “The robot informs its corresponding computer server when operating properly,”Wang
Some 25 doctors, surgeons and trauma center technicians have learned to use the robot. Dr. Antonio Martta Jr., Associate Professor of Surgery, is known as the most skilled operator of the robot, which sensors avoid colliding with people or objects. “For me it’s easy,”said Martta laughing.” Before I spent much time playing video games.”
The robot is new, but doctors say that the origin of its operation is not.
“All of us have practiced telemedicine, just not as advanced,”said Augenstein.”You get a call from another doctor, send a picture … we do this daily. We practice distance mentoring.” Doctors do not believe that robots replace them completely. “In the practice of medicine the doctor’s presence is necessary for human contact.”