Robot-assisted telemedicine can help neonatal intensive care specialists provide effective care, according to a new research effort.
Researchers at the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles looked at robot-assisted telemedicine in performing bedside rounds and directing daily care for infants with mild-to-moderate disease. They compared the care given to two similar groups of patients, one by an offsite provider through robot-assisted telemedicine technology and an onsite neonatologist.
After examining 20 pairs of patients, found no differences in several care measures including average length of stay, age at discharge, hospital charges between the two groups, patients’ nutritional needs, respiratory support, days on antibiotics, phototherapy and number of radiological studies.
"However, there was a significant difference in time spent at the bedside, with the remote neonatologist requiring nearly twice as much time to care for the patient," Philippe Friedlich, M.D., chief of Neonatology at CHLA and an author on the study, said in a statement. The additional time, he noted, was mostly due to maneuvering the robot, as well as issues of internet connectivity.
Of those patients treated through telemedicine, all who responded to a survey said they were happy with the experience. The results of the study were published in the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare.