BIDDEFORD – Technology is a big factor in medicine. While a machine can never replace the connection between doctor and patient, It may add a new dimension for delivering medical care.
There’s nothing like doctor to patient interaction to help medical students learn.
UNE students are interviewing an “actor” about his symptoms to help diagnose and treat his condition. The goal is to figure out what the problems are, but one of the med students isn’t actually in the room and he’s with us via robot.
This “double robot” is on a trial “run” at UNE. It takes “telemedicine” to a whole new level.
“It’s the mobility. It gives the person whose face appears in the iPad, gives them a chance to interact in a very different way than if the iPad was still and static.” said Jim Cavanaught, Assoc. Professor at UNE.
There are a number of different applications for the double robot. It can help connect med students from the different campuses in Biddeford, Portland and even Morocco.
It could be a robot on campus, could be operated by a medical student on the other campus and that student then could participate in another type of team activity this campus. Or it could be used in rural areas, where access to medical care is more limited.
“In rural medicine specifically it’s difficult for patients to get to some specialists and these are really a great tool for that.” added student Nicholas Ballard.
The biggest challenge may be just getting used to the idea, and driving the robot..
The “double robot” – “making a difference” in the way medicine is taught and where it is practiced.
Technology for technology’s sake doesn’t necessarily serve, but if it can enhance a situation, that’s the time to bring it in.