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Telemedicine Using Remote Presence Robots

Last week, I attended the National Rural Health Association (NRHA) Quality and Clinical Conference in Park City, UT. At the conference, Doug Romer, Executive Director-Patient Care Services at Grande Ronde Hospital in LaGrande, OR, gave a fascinating talk and demonstration of the “remote presence” telemedicine services provided by the hospital in conjunction with various partners.

The hospital uses an inTouch RP7 robot that can be controlled remotely by physicians not located at the hospital. The robot has a monitor, camera and audio system so that the patients and remote physician can see and hear each other.

At the conference, Mr. Romer conducted a live demo of the system using the hotel’s wireless Internet access — participants were able to communicate with a patient undergoing an ultrasound and see the results of the ultrasound live. We were instructed that the patient did not want to know the sex of the baby, so to please not reveal that information when we saw the ultrasound!

To see the system in action, view the video the hospital has made available on this page: http://www.grh.org/srvTelmed.html.

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