More Calif. Hospitals Using Robots To Expand Access to Specialists
An increasing number of hospitals in California and other states are using telehealth robots to increase patients' access to health care specialists, especially individuals seeking treatment in rural locations, AP/ABC News reports.
How Telehealth Robots Work
The robots are mobile video-conferencing machines. They move on wheels and are typically about five- feet tall, featuring:
- Microphones; and
Doctors can access the robots -- and the clinical data and medical images they contain -- remotely using a computer or tablet.
An auto-drive function on some robots allows doctors to navigate to a patient's room.
During robot consultations, an in-person nurse or medical assistant is on hand to assist patients.
Use of Robots in Calif.
In California, the use of such robots is increasing, according to AP/ABC News.
Dignity Health has installed the machines in emergency departments and intensive care units throughout 20 hospitals in the state.
They provide access to specialists in:
- Mental health;
- Neurology; and
Alan Shatzel, medical director of the Mercy Telehealth Network, said the technology allows providers to "compress time and space," adding, "No longer does distance affect a person's ability to access the best care" (Chea, AP/ABC News, 11/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.