Science + Technology

UCLA Medical Center Becomes World’s First Hospital to Introduce Remote Presence Robots in ICU

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UCLA Medical Center hasannounced initial clinical tests of the RP-6 mobile robot system in itsneurosurgery intensive care unit (ICU). The RP-6 robot, made by InTouch HealthInc. in Santa Barbara, Calif., allows doctors to "virtually" consult with patients,family members and health care staff at a moment's notice, even if miles awayfrom the hospital.

Intensivists — the physicians who specialize in the careof critically ill patients — in theneurosurgery department at UCLA are using RP-6 to provide additional monitoringfrom their homes and offices of ICU patients in response to studies showingthat intensivist presence in the ICU can decrease morbidity, mortality, lengthof stay and cost of care. The project, to be funded through anassistance agreement with the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command,Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center, located at Ft. Detrick,Md., will be led by professor and Chief of Neurosurgery Dr. Neil Martin,associate professor Dr. Paul Vespa and associate professor Valeriy Nenov, allof the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

There is a nationwide shortage of intensivists. There are fewerthan 6,000 practicing intensivists in the United States today and more than 5million patients admitted to ICUs annually. Therefore, only about 37percent of ICU patients receive intensivist care, yet having trainedintensivists in the ICU results in better outcomes and decreased length of stayin the ICU and hospital. These specialists are familiar withcomplications that may occur and are therefore better able to minimize errors.

UCLA will test the RP-6 robot as a way to extend the reach of theintensivist. The patient sees, hears and interacts with the doctor through thenearly 5-foot-6-inch tall robot, which displays a live video image of thephysician's face on its monitor/head. The physician, seated at a computerconsole called a ControlStation, also sees and hears the patient through a livevideo image projected on a monitor. The ControlStation comes equipped with ajoystick, which allows the physician to drive the robot to the patient'sbedside, control movements of the robot's head and even zoom in to take acloser look at the patient or bedside monitors.

"The RP-6 robot will increase doctor access for patients, theirfamilies and hospital staff, and UCLA is excited to test the newest addition toour intensive care team" Martin said. "We recognize that leveraging the healthcare expert's time offers the possibility of improved patient care, reducedlength of stay and cost savings. UCLA has combined our in-house electronicmedical information system, GCQ, with the RP-6 remote presence system, and weare able to monitor and access our patients anytime from our homes and officesin a way not previously possible."

"The RP-6 robot will increase doctor access for patients, theirfamilies and hospital staff, and UCLA is excited to test the newest addition toour intensive care team" Martin said. "We recognize that leveraging the healthcare expert's time offers the possibility of improved patient care, reducedlength of stay and cost savings. UCLA has combined our in-house electronicmedical information system, GCQ, with the RP-6 remote presence system and weare able to monitor and access our patients anytime from our homes and officesin a way not previously possible."

Global Care Quest, or GCQ, founded by Martin, Nenov and FarzadBuxey, is a commercially available, remote wireless mobile patient data systemdeveloped at UCLA Medical Center.

Patient and family reaction to the robot has been very positive.In a study done by Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Md., half the patientspreferred a tele-rounding visit by their own doctor to a "real" visit byanother physician. And 80 percent of the patients felt that the robot increasedphysician accessibility.

 

Dr. Louis Kavoussi, vice chairman of urology at Johns HopkinsHospital said, "Patients love it! I was very surprised at how much our patientsenjoy remote video interactions via the robot."

UCLA is the first hospital to test the RP-6 robot in the ICU,though more than a dozen other institutions are using the robot to provideremote medical expertise in areas such as emergency rooms and patient wards.

UCLA Medical Center ranks as the best hospital in the Western United Statesfor the 15th consecutive year according to a U.S. News & World Reportsurvey of 2,550 board‑certified physicians from across the country. UCLAMedical Center is a nonprofit, self‑supporting 668-bed hospital providingpatient care in all medical specialties. It is the primary teaching hospitalfor the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. For information about clinicalprograms or help in choosing a personal physician, call (800) UCLA-MD1 orvisit http://www.healthcare.ucla.edu/.


InTouch Health is a privately held company based in Santa Barbara,Calif. InTouch Health provides technology solutions that dramatically increasethe effectiveness of health care professionals. The company is addressing theimpending demographic crisis in acute care by pioneering the use of RemotePresence in health care with its RP-6 robotic system. Through a proprietarycommunications and mobile robotic platform, skilled medical professionals areprojected to other settings where a patient or caregiver is located to providecare, coach and train staff, or monitor health care services. The InTouchHealth solution leverages the time and expertise of health care professionalsacross multiple care-facilities, improving the efficiency and effectiveness ofcare delivery. For more information about the company, please visit http://www.intouchhealth.com/.

Global CareQuest is a privately held medical software company based in Torrance, Calif.This state-of-the-art software solution allows clinicians to view medical dataremotely, including patient monitors, imaging systems, and medical lab resultsand reports. Data can be accessed through WiFi and cellular wireless networkson the latest, most popular handheld devices and smart phones. With functionsfar beyond pagers and cell phones, GCQ represents the next generation ofwireless medical communication and remote patient monitoring. The company hasplans to commercialize the technology through a license agreement with UCLA.

More informationis available online at http://www.globalcarequest.com/.

-UCLA-

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