Telemedicine provider, Consultant Connect, has announced a breakthrough in UK healthcare innovation with the arrival of state-of-the-art robot technology to the NHS.
The device will revolutionise UK healthcare by enabling specialist consultants to see, hear, and speak with patients as if they were at their bedside – even if they are miles away at a different hospital or at home shielding with COVID symptoms.
Consultant Connect offers a leading advice and guidance service to the NHS and has now added a robot division.
The device allows clinicians to give specialised care at a minute’s notice that may otherwise have been unavailable, as well as reducing locum costs.
Liverpool Women’s Hospital and Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool used two telemedicine devices during the pandemic, which enabled them to keep a full neonatal service running.
University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust has also begun using the devices during a ward round.
Dr Steve Jackson, consultant physician and chief medical information officer, said: “With the Teladoc robot I can be doing a ward round on one site in the morning and have a clinic booked immediately afterwards in the afternoon at another.
A potential benefit to patients is the increased access to specialists on other sites, including outside of the trust or across the region in future, which could mean fewer patients need to be admitted or transferred between hospitals
“The system allows for greater efficiency because I’m not having to add travel time or risk being delayed in traffic.
“This means I’m able to spend more time with patients and I have more opportunity to discuss their plans and care.
“I am also able to review patients who are admitted to my ward between my formal ward rounds, and this means that they may be discharged earlier.”
He added: “The image and sound quality of the system are excellent and allow me to see and talk to the patient, alongside onsite junior doctors, while having all the relevant medical records at hand – something you’re not able to do via a phone call.
“Another potential benefit to patients is the increased access to specialists on other sites, including outside of the trust or across the region in future which could mean fewer patients need to be admitted or transferred between hospitals.”
The telemedicine device uses two ultra-high-definition cameras which enable a consultant to see scans, take a temperature, or read hand-written bedside notes.
Powerful batteries allow it to run off-power for four hours and it is height-adjustable, with a pan-tilt and zoom head, allowing a consultant to study monitors.
These devices are a hugely-exciting development in telemedicine and one that will revolutionise efficiency in the NHS
And the remote consultant can grab images of a scan, send it down to the device by the bedside, and annotate it in real time for the medical team with the patient.
In addition, boom cameras with a 36x zoom can look down on a patient in close detail and consultants can listen in to a stethoscope to hear a heartbeat in real time.
The robot’s arrival in the UK follows the acquisition, in January, of Consultant Connect by US telemedicine firm, Teladoc.
Jonathan Patrick, chief executive of Consultant Connect, said: “These devices are a hugely-exciting development in telemedicine and one that will revolutionise efficiency in the NHS.
“They buy back time for specialist consultants which will ease pressure on staff. That, in turn, will reduce waiting times for patients and provide them with better outcomes.”