UCLA tests medical robot

March 11, 2005 at 8:12 PM
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LOS ANGELES, March 11 (UPI) -- A Los Angeles hospital is testing a medical robot to determine if the RP-6 mobile system can be a useful extension of human doctors.

UCLA plans to use the RP-6 in its neurosurgery intensive care unit to allow "intensivists" to consult with patients even when they are miles away. Intensivists are the specialists who work with seriously ill patients and are familiar with the complications that can arise from neurosurgery.

During remote consultations, patients will see the doctor's face on a computer screen on the robot's "head." The doctor will be seated at a ControlStation with the patient visible on a monitor and a joystick that provides remote control of the 5 foot, 6 inch robot, allowing doctors to move it on to another bed.

Dr. Neil Martin, the hospital's chief of neurosurgery, called the robot "the newest member of our team."

"We recognize that leveraging the health care expert's time offers the possibility of improved patient care, reduced length of stay and cost savings," Martin said.

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