Robot Doctors Are Here

Posted on May 19, 2005

Apparently, England is miles ahead of the U.S. when it comes to technology and robots. And don't even get us started about Japan. Reuters reports that robot nurses named nicknamed "Sister Mary" and "Doctor Robbie" started work at a London hospital today.
The pair allow doctors to visually examine and communicate with patients, whether they are in another part of the hospital or even another part of the world.

"This is a revolutionary concept which opens new avenues in telemedicine research and integrates technology with healthcare," said Professor Sir Ara Darzi in a statement. Darzi, head of surgery, anesthetics and intensive care at London's prestigious Imperial College is also a practicing surgeon at St Mary's hospital in Paddington, west London.

The 5-foot (1.5 meter) high robots are controlled remotely by a doctor via a joystick. Doctors can look at patients thanks to a camera mounted on top of the robot while patients can see their doctors via a screen on the robots' "face." Patients can be asked questions and medical records -- such as X-rays and test results -- can be read.
After a trial period, some egghead will tabulate the results to see if the patients liked the robots and if they worked well or not. No word on how many patients required psychiatric treatment due to trauma sustained from waking in a hospital bed, only to find a robot "doctor" treating them, causing delusions of time travel to the future.



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