Physician robot to begin making rounds
The robot can be controlled by an iPad and can make hospital rounds while the doctor observes remotely
Computerworld - The maker of Roomba, the robotic vacuum, has stepped up its game and Tuesday unveiled a 5-ft., 4-in.-tall, 140-pound "telemedicine" robot aimed at aiding hospital patients in emergency situations, especially during nighttime hours when staffing is lower.
The robot, dubbed RP-VITA (Remote Presence Virtual + Independent Telemedicine Assistant), is the result of a collaboration between iRobot and InTouch Health, a telemedicine robotics vendor.
With a video screen for a head, a microphone and speaker for a mouth and two high-definition cameras for eyes, RP-VITA offers a more human-like interaction for physicians who can't be on site. For example, one of the robot's cameras offers a 170-degree view of a room while the other offers a clinician or nurse up to 30-times magnification, enough to see how a patient's eyes respond to light.
"You can read a magazine from across the room with this thing," said Glen Weinstein, general counsel for iRobot.
The robot also has an autonomous navigation capability that allows it to move from one point to another while avoiding obstacles. It can also be controlled by a clinician or a nurse using an iPad tablet or a laptop over a Wi-Fi connection.
Apart from its most well-known Roomba product, iRobot makes a number of products for both the consumer market and the military. RP-VITA, for example, uses technology from iRobot's current Ava robot, which already had autonomous point-to-point navigation. The new RP-VITA, however, has a slicker, human-like form to it. It uses the latest in telemedicine technology from InTouch Health, which already sells remotely controlled robots for hospitals.
For example, InTouch Health's RP-7 robot is already used in several hundred hospitals, offering clinicians remote patient interaction with patients. The RP-7, however, is controlled with a proprietary joystick and not a web-based interface. Even so, there are about 70,000 RP-7 "sessions" or patient interactions per year, according to Yulun Wang, CEO of InTouch Health.
"Remote presence capability has the opportunity to transform healthcare delivery at its core. I can see a day where millions of sessions are going on on an annual basis," Wang said.
The new RP-VITA robot is being marketed for use in hospital emergency rooms and intensive care units to allow physicians speedy access to patients in critical situations. The robot, which has a five-hour battery life, is also being sold as a way for physicians to make their rounds without being at the hospital.
"What's more important here is it's not just facilitating the doctor making his rounds, but the team making their rounds," Wang said. "The challenge is getting all the team members there simultaneously. The ones who are not able to be on site at the given time can beam into RP-VITA and participate in the rounds that way."
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
While it may seem a contradiction in terms, digital automation tools may make possible a new level of personalization in medical care.
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Healthcare Firm Ramps Up for Claims Processing Spikes
- Huge increases in claims processing loads and stringent SLAs for Medicaid patients prompted Molina Healthcare to enhance their IT infrastructure with VCE.
- Patient Portals: A Platform for Connecting Communities of Care
- Connecting patient health data across the care continuum is essential to achieve improved care, increased access to personal health records and lowered costs.
- 3 Ways Clinicians Can Leverage a Patient Portal to Craft a Healthcare Community
- With a bevy of vendors offering patient portal solutions, it can be challenging for a hospital to know where to start. Fortunately, YourCareCommunity...
- Mobile Policy Checklist
- Here's what to consider when putting together a mobile policy designed to support a highly productive workforce.
- Mobile Applications Case Study: 8 Billion Transactions a Day
- The story documents how the online brokerage company tradeMONSTER created a custom mobile app and the success gleaned from this initiative. Also covered... All Healthcare IT White Papers
- Mobile Apps and Devices Slash Customer Cycle Time Consolidated Engineering Laboratories' field employees used to collect data on triplicate forms that were sometimes hard to read and difficult to manage. After...
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources...
- Testimonial: Cystic Fibrosis Trust Peter Hawkins, the Head of IT for Cystic Fibrosis Trust, discusses the role CommVault's Simpana software platform plays in improving the company's information...
- PST Archiving: What is it and How is it Done? Learn more about what PST data is, the risks relating to it, and how the new PST Archiving feature in the Simpana 10...
- How to Select the Right IoT Platform We are rapidly entering a world where almost everything will be connected to the cloud and managing these connected things and leveraging the...
- All Healthcare IT Webcasts