A disembodied human face hangs atop a robot chassis next to a Redmond, Oregon hospital bed (not pictured). The doctor on the screen is 20 miles distant, in Bend. But from there he is able to assess the patient and determine whether she should be moved to a better equipped hospital in Bend or further afield.
The doctor’s name is Dr. Kevin Sherer, the volunteer patient Anita Boucher, and together they recently performed a test run using an InTouch Health RP-7i telepresence robot nicknamed Roda (robotic office diagnostic assistant).
Dr. Sherer can pilot Roda down the hall with a joystick, turn its camera to check vitals, and interact with the patient by way of the screen atop Roda’s chassis. In addition to telepresence capabilities—and with the help of a nurse placing a special stethoscope—he can remotely check the patient’s heart beat over headphones.
Although they haven’t had a chance to make full use of Roda’s capability, Daniel Davis of St. Charles Redmond told Singularity Hub most medical equipment with USB connectivity can be transmitted to doctors. And according to Davis, those early tests using volunteer mock patients went well, winning over even the skeptics. Since then, the robot has been put to good use, including at least one midnight visit.
Via Ray and Terry's