If you thought your doctor had cold hands when he or she asked you to turn and cough, wait until RP-VITA gets you in its grasp.
Developed by the makers of the Roomba, the Remote Presence Virtual + Independent Telemedicine Assistant that just got a test drive at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach does for doctoring what the robotic vacuum does for housecleaning.
InTouch Health collaborated with iRobot to create RP-VITA, reports Computerworld Techworld. The version that recently made the rounds at Hoag was 5-foot-4, 140 pounds, had a video screen for a head, a microphone and speaker for a mouth and two high definition cameras for eyes.
That allowed a physician or nurse offsite to be right there--virtually--in the examination room. Movements were controlled by the human user thanks to a laptop and WiFi connection. The makers are betting their telemedics can pitch in at times staffing is low, such as graveyard shifts.
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"Remote presence capability has the opportunity to transform healthcare delivery at its core," Yulun Wang, CEO of InTouch, reportedly boasted. "I can see a day where millions of sessions are going on on an annual basis."
Were only the hospital co-pays virtual.
Besides Hoag, clinical trials geared toward FDA approval of the technology are being held at Children's Hospital of Orange County, where patients have long interacted with RP-VITA's cousin, the handheld video game machine.