An article published in this months Journal of the American College of Surgeons concludes that visits from a robot helped gastric bypass patients get well faster and go home sooner. But lets get this clear before we go on. The robot rounds were in addition to personal bedside visits from a surgeon, not instead of. So doctors, dont feel bad about your bedside mannerat least not because of this.
Researchers reviewed charts of patients who received the procedure laparoscopically from the same surgeon at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore from January 2004 to July 2006.
One group received bedside rounds from a surgeon only. The robot rolled into the rooms of the other patients several times a day, yielding about twice as much contact. The robot visits provided physician contact of a sort, a remote doc who coached patients and monitored hydration, pain and ventilation through the roving 6-foot-tall machine (which struck Outliers as bearing some resemblance to a vacuum cleaner with a video screen on top).
The RP-7, made by InTouch Health, features a 15-inch screen, two cameras and a microphone for real-time audio and visual communication with the patient.
Of 92 patients visited by the RP-7, 71 met discharge criteria a day after surgery. All 284 of the other patients took at least another day to get well enough to go home. The early discharges, the researchers calculated, yielded the hospital more than $200,000 in new admissions and saved more than $14,000 in room and board costs.