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Long-distance medicine – InTouch robots can help rural patients get treatment

By   /   Sunday, April 5th, 2009  /   Comments Off on Long-distance medicine – InTouch robots can help rural patients get treatment

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[Editor’s note: This story has changed since its original posting. See the correction appended below.]

A Santa Barbara company that uses technology to bring better health care to rural patients across the country is inking deals and boosting its national presence.

InTouch Health makes the RP-7, an Internet-connected robot that physicians can use to provide care from afar. The machine projects the doctor’s face and voice from a screen and speakers, while using an array of digital cameras, microphones and sensors to let the doctor communicate with patients and maneuver the robot through a hospital.

About 200 hospitals nationwide use the RP-7. Cottage Health System, for example, uses the machine to connect its stroke doctors in Santa Barbara to the Lompoc Valley Medical Center emergency room, giving patients there access to experts scores of miles away.

“When you’re dealing with stroke, you have to do it fast,” Yulun Wang, chairman and chief executive of InTouch, which he founded in 2002.

CORRECTION: A story in the April 3 edition of the Business Times about InTouch Health misidentified Lompoc Valley Medical Center. The center is not part of the Cottage Health System. Neither Cottage Health System nor InTouch Health provided the incorrect information in the story.

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