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Daisy Hill has become the first hospital in the UK to use a robot for remote patient assessment The state-of- the-art ‘Telepresence’ robot will be used in the hospital’s new £500,000 high dependency unit which was officially opened by the Health Minister Edwin Poots yesterday (Tuesday). “This use of new technology in the form of the Telepresence robot is at the cutting edge of innovation in our health service to the benefit of patients,” said Mr Poots. “Effective hospital networks and the use of innovative technologies are fundamental to the future of health care as recommended in Transforming Your Care (Compton Report,” added the minister. The ‘computerized doc’ will be able to treat the most acutely ill patients in the hospital from a connection to the intensive care unit at Craigavon Area hospital. It is set to improve patient outcomes and safety, will provide early intervention to patients whose condition deteriorates and reduce the length of hospital stay. Standing 5ft tall the £190,000 the technical unit has been heralded by patients and clinicians alike. Built in the US it is commonly used in private practice there and has a television screen, camera and microphone and the capability of using a stethoscope. The robot allows real-time patient observation, examination and interaction between the patient and the intensive care physician in Craigavon. It has the ability to transmit heart and breath sounds and can even prevent the need to transfer patients to intensive care. Clinicians believe the robot allows them to share expertise and cements the future of the Daisy Hill-Craigavon hospital network. Dr Shane Moan clinical lead in the high dependency unit at Daisy Hill said: “We are looking to enhance care for our patients and because we have a high dependency unit and no intensive care unit there was a great need for it to bring close links between the unit and the intensive care unit (ICU) in Craigavon. The high dependency unit cares for seriously ill and critically ill patients and we have need for professional advice and intervention. Intensive care physicians in Craigavon can be contacted and complete a bedside appraisal of the patient, look at information from the nursing staff and access X-Rays and blood tests. Having more physicians’ individual knowledge is contributing to better patient safety and care. The robot allows earlier intervention in patients that have shown a deterioration and allows more rapid assessment of patients and can prevent in some cases the transfer of patients to ICU. This in turn can reduce mortality and length of stay in hospital.


Newry Reporter

22nd August 2012