It’s the center of the winter and a six-month-old little one is introduced with acute respiratory misery to a nursing station in a distant neighborhood within the Canadian North.
The nurse realizes that the kid is significantly sick and contacts a pediatric intensivist situated in a tertiary care centre 900 kilometres away. The intensivist makes use of her pill to activate a remote presence robot put in within the nursing station and asks the robotic to go to the evaluation room.
The robotic autonomously navigates the nursing station corridors and arrives on the evaluation room two minutes later. With the assistance of the robotic’s highly effective cameras, the physician “sees” the kid and talks to the nurse and the mother and father to acquire the medical historical past. She makes use of the robotic’s stethoscope to hearken to the kid’s chest, measures the kid’s oxygen blood saturation with a pulse oximeter and performs an electrocardiogram.
With the robotic’s telestrator (an digital system which permits the consumer to write down and draw freehand over a video picture) she helps the nurse to begin an intravenous line and commences remedy to deal with the kid’s life-threatening situation.
This isn’t science fiction. This distant presence know-how is at the moment in use in Saskatchewan, Canada — to offer care to acutely sick kids dwelling in distant Northern communities.
Treating acutely sick kids
Advances in telecommunication, robotics, medical sensor know-how and synthetic intelligence (AI) have opened the door for options to the problem of delivering distant, real-time well being care to underserviced rural and distant populations.
In Saskatchewan, we’ve got established a remote medicine program that focuses on the care of probably the most susceptible populations — similar to acutely sick kids, pregnant ladies and the aged.
Now we have demonstrated that with this know-how about 70 per cent of acutely ill children can be successfully treated in their own communities. In related communities with out this know-how, all acutely sick kids must be transported to a tertiary care centre.
Now we have additionally proven that this know-how prevents delays in analysis and therapy and ends in substantial financial savings to the health-care system.
Prenatal ultrasounds for Indigenous ladies
Distant communities typically lack entry to diagnostic ultrasonography companies. This hole disproportionally impacts Indigenous pregnant ladies within the Canadian North and ends in will increase in maternal and new child morbidity and mortality.
We’re pioneering using an revolutionary tele-robotic ultrasound system that enables an knowledgeable sonographer to carry out a diagnostic ultrasound research, in actual time, in a distant location.
Analysis reveals that robotic ultrasonography is comparable to standard sonography and is accepted by most sufferers.
The primary tele-robotic ultrasonography programs have been deployed to 2 northern Saskatchewan communities and are at the moment performing prenatal ultrasounds.
Emergency room trauma evaluation
Portable remote presence devices that use accessible mobile networks may be utilized in emergency conditions, similar to trauma evaluation on the scene of an accident or transport of a sufferer to hospital.
For instance, emergency physicians or trauma surgeons might carry out real-time ultrasonography of the stomach, thorax and coronary heart in critically injured sufferers, determine life-threatening accidents and begin life-saving therapy.
Wearable distant presence gadgets such a Google Glass technology are the following step in distant presence well being take care of underserviced populations.
For instance, a neighborhood nurse and a specialist in a tertiary care centre thousand of kilometres away might assess collectively an acutely sick affected person in an emergency room in a distant neighborhood by the nurse’s eyes.
Though distant presence know-how could also be utilized initially to emergency conditions in distant areas, its main impression could also be within the supply of main well being care. We are able to think about using cell distant presence gadgets by well being professionals in a variety of situations — from home-care visits to follow-up psychological well being periods — during which entry to medical experience in actual time can be simply a pc click on away.
A paradigm shift in health-care supply
The present mannequin of centralized well being care, the place the affected person has to go to a hospital or a clinic to obtain pressing or elective medical care, is inefficient and dear. Sufferers have to attend many hours in emergency rooms. Hospitals run at overcapacity. Delays in analysis and therapy trigger poor outcomes and even loss of life.
Underserviced rural and distant communities and probably the most susceptible populations similar to kids and the aged are probably the most affected by this centralized mannequin.
Distant presence applied sciences have the potential to shift this — in order that we will ship medical care to a affected person anyplace. On this decentralized mannequin, sufferers requiring pressing or elective medical care might be seen, recognized and handled in their very own communities or properties and sufferers requiring hospitalization might be triaged directly.
This know-how might have necessary functions in low-resource settings. Mobile community indicators across the globe and quickly rising bandwidth will present the telecommunication platform for a variety of cell functions.
Low-cost, devoted remote-presence gadgets will enhance entry to medical experience for anyone dwelling in a geographical space with a cellphone sign. This entry might be particularly useful to folks in growing international locations the place medical experience is inadequate or not accessible.
The way forward for medical care is just not in constructing extra or greater hospitals however in harnessing the facility of know-how to observe and attain sufferers wherever they’re — to protect life, guarantee wellness and velocity up analysis and therapy.