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Robots let doctors ‘beam’ into remote hospitals

November 17, 2013 • Business


In this photo taken Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013 Dr. Alan Shatzel, medical director of the Mercy Telehealth Network, is displayed on the monitor RP-VITA robot at Mercy San Juan Hospital in Carmichael, Calif. The robots enable physicians to have a different bedside presence as they “beam” themselves into hospitals to diagnose patients and offer medical advice during emergencies.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

CARMICHAEL, Calif. (AP) — The doctor isn’t in, but he can still see you now.

Remote presence robots are allowing physicians to “beam” themselves into hospitals to diagnose patients and offer medical advice during emergencies.

A growing number of hospitals in California and other states are using telepresence robots to expand access to medical specialists, especially in rural areas where there’s a shortage of doctors.

These mobile video-conferencing machines move on wheels and typically stand about 5 feet, with a large screen that projects a doctor’s face. They feature cameras, microphones and speakers that allow physicians and patients to see and talk to each other.

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