Tallaght Hospital the first to trial telepresence robot

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Tallaght hospital this week revealed that they are ahead of all hospitals in the country in regards to technology as they are the first health care institution here to start using a telepresence robot to enable doctors to visit patients at their bedsides remotely.

The new system, which the hospital has named LUCY, consists of a tablet computer secured to an extendable pole which sits on top of a self-balancing electric wheel.

The doctor can remotely drive the device around the hospital floor from an app on their smart phone, and when it is alongside the bedside the physician can then converse with the patient about their condition.

The doctors face is on the screen and he/she is able to speak to them via the tablet’s microphone, while the doctor can observe the patient through the camera on the tablet and speak back to them through the speaker.

Professor Paul Ridgway, surgeon at Tallaght Hospital told RTÉ that;

“The reaction of patients who have used the system has been positive and surprising. Younger people do not see it as alien and older patients tend to take to it well once they have got used to the idea.

“The system is more secure than most consumer video call and messaging services, and no data is saved. It is an addition to doctor care, not a replacement for it, and will be an important means of training junior doctors into the future”

The rechargeable battery powered system, made by Double Robotics, costs around €2,600 to buy. The tablet must also be purchased separately.