Our Telemedicine ‘robots’ used in hospitals featured in the Loughborough Echo, in print.
Doctor robot set to revolutionise NHS efficiency; at patient’s bedside – virtually
NEW cutting-edge technology which enables patients to have a specialist doctor at their bedside in moments, even if they are miles away, has arrived in Leicestershire.
University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust is one of just a handful of locations in the UK using a Teladoc “robot”, according to a spokesperson for Consultant Connect, which provides the service. The “telemedicine” robots enable specialist consultants to see, hear and speak with patients as if they were at their bedsides – even if they are at a different hospital or at home shielding with Covid symptoms. The robot uses two ultra-high definition cameras which enable doctors to see scans, take a temperature or read hand-written bedside notes. The “remote consultant” can grab images of a scan, send them to the device by the bedside and annotate them in real time for the benefit of the medical team with the patient.
Consultants can also listen in to a stethoscope to hear a heartbeat in real-time.
Increased use of technology allows the NHS to reduce patient waiting times, the spokesperson added. It could also save the health service tens of thousands of pounds in locum fees, as the device allows clinicians to give specialised care at a minute’s notice that might otherwise not have been available.
Dr Steve Jackson, consultant physician and chief medical information officer with the Leicestershire trust, said: “With the Teladoc robot I can be doing a ward round on one site in the morning and have a clinic booked immediately afterwards in the afternoon at another.
“The system allows for greater efficiency because I’m not having to add travel time or risk being delayed in traffic. This means I’m able to spend more time with patients and I have more opportunity to discuss their plans and care.
“I am also able to review patients who are admitted to my ward between my formal ward rounds and this means they may be discharged earlier.”
He said the devices allowed him to “see and talk to the patient, alongside on-site junior doctors, while having all the relevant medical records at hand – something you’re not able to do via a phone call”.
“Another potential benefit is the increased access to specialists on other sites, including outside of the trust or across the region in future which could mean fewer patients need to be admitted or transferred between hospitals,” he added.
More hospitals in England and Scotland are planning to adopt the technology soon.
Jonathan Patrick, chief executive of Consultant Connect, said: “The roll-out of the robots means busy consultants can be at a patient’s bedside virtually even if they are in a different hospital.
“These devices are a hugely exciting development in telemedicine and one that will revolutionise efficiency in the NHS. They buy back time for specialist consultants which will ease pressure on staff. That in turn will reduce waiting times for patients and provide them with better outcomes.”