Derry doctors to use ‘telerobot’

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A new state-of-the-art Telerobot, which allows clinical specialists to provide patient care remotely, is about to be used at Altnagelvin Hospital.

Consultants and other clinicians can link in and manoeuvre the Telerobot from their Altnagelvin Hospital base or indeed remotely from any Wi-Fi environment to present themselves virtually in a ward setting at another site.

Using the most up to date modern technology, the telerobot is the first of its kind in the Western Health and Social Care Trust (Western Trust).

The equipment is a telemedicine solution which enables remote interaction between a specialist doctor and colleagues in other hospitals or at other sites in the interests of clinical decision making. It also provides a basis for direct verbal and visual contact between a patient and clinical personnel from different locations.

Funding for the new telerobot has been provided by the European Union’s INTERREG IVA programme secured by Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT), the cross border health and social care partnership. The Telerobot has been procured and is now positioned at Tyrone County Hospital, Omagh. As a stand-alone piece of equipment it roves between the Renal Satellite Unit and the Cardiology Assessment Unit as directed from a control station point.

Dr Ying Kuan, Lead Consultant, Western Trust said: “We are excited by this remote presence robotic technology which helps clinical decision making in the interests of patient care.

“The technology is so advanced that the Telerobot enables myself and other Consultant/Specialists to link into medical devices, such as ultrasound equipment remotely to help assess a patient’s condition.

You can get a huge amount of real-time information from the monitor, you can see the patient up close and look at all the charts and observations.”

Geraldine McKay, Director of Acute Services, Western Trust said: “Having seen the Telerobot in action, it clearly demonstrates real benefit to the care of patients.

“Technology like this affords us an incredible opportunity to bring clinical expertise to the patient instead of, in some instances, having to refer the patient on for a higher level of care in another facility.

“To have a specialist Consultant virtually at the bedside is a real bonus in terms of patient care and adds to our effective hospital network.”

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