NBC 4 News from Los Angeles reports:
A robot is doing rounds at a UCLA Medical Center intensive care unit in a test of new technology.
The 5-foot, 6-inch tall RP-6 robot’s visits to the hospital’s neurology intensive care unit function as a videoconference with the live doctor, who is able to work the controls from miles away from the hospital. A screen on the robot’s head shows live images of the doctor.
Officials at the hospital say the robot will increase patients’ access to their physicians, and allow the doctors to monitor patients at anytime, even from home or offices.
Hospital officials also say the device will extend the reach of critical-care specialists, who are in high demand. Nationwide, there are fewer than 6,000 doctors who specialize in treating critically ill patients, and more than 5 million patients are admitted to ICUs each year.
A study by Johns Hopkins Hospital found that half the patients who received a virtual visit by their own doctor preferred it to a live visit from another doctor. About 80 percent said the robot made their doctor more accessible.
According to UCLA, its medical center is the first hospital to test the robot in an ICU…