How To Use A Robot For Patient Support

While it’s unlikely that we’re going to get much empathy from robots in the near future, VGo Communications is definitely making the idea of tele-presence more believable.  What intrigued me when I first saw this was the ability for remote caregivers to participate in events.  For example, I could imagine my parents going to a physician’s visit in Detroit.  If I was able to log-in and join them using a VGo robot, it would be great.  It’s unlikely I would fly from St. Louis to Detroit to join them.

Now, cost would be an issue here, but I’m guessing someone can come up with a model that allows providers or hospitals to buy multiple robots and allow a remote, web-based log-in process.  (After some training by the user on controlling the robot.)

If we look at studies like the one presented by Kaiser years ago (see below), we know that there’s a huge gap between what the physician says and should say.  For example, this shows that only 34% of the time did the physician tell the patient the duration of therapy.  This play into what I’ve talked about before which is the gap between what the physician says and the patient hears and the questions that come up after the fact versus what questions come to mind during the office encounter.  Could a tele-presence by a third-party help that?  It’s an interesting concept.

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