Dubai Health Authority has announced the launch of the pilot phase of its telehealth project, also known as RoboDoc, which will see the use of robots to help speed up emergency care.
As part of the pilot, a robot has been placed in Hatta Hospital's emergency department and the Nad Al Hammar Primary Healthcare Centre and both are linked to Rashid Hospital's Trauma Centre.
Amani Al Jassmi, director of Information Technology at the DHA, said: "DHA is the first government health organization in the region to implement telehealth. This project is in line with the vision of Dubai Smart City and it is one of the core projects for the DHA because telehealth can ensure consistent high quality of care, anytime, anywhere and any place due to the remote present robot systems.
"Multiple specialists from the Trauma Centre can provide immediate consultations for a patient in Hatta hospital. Thus, the RoboDoc will help reduce transfer of patients to Rashid Hospital's Trauma Centre. It will also help enhance the function of other DHA emergency departments and ICUs."
The robot is operated from the doctor's control station in Rashid Hospital and gives guidance through a screen displayed in Hatta Hospital and Nad Al Hammar Centre.
Al Jassmi added: "Telehealth is a boon especially in emergency cases, where time plays a critical role in saving a patient's life. Telehealth provides immediate access to consultation with specialists. In fact, through the robot, doctors can consult with two or more specialists in different health facilities at the same time to get immediate specialised consultation."
DHA will be using robots designed by InTouch Health Technologies, which is a company that pioneers in remote present robots systems.
Yulun Wang, chairman and CEO of InTouch Health, said: "The challenge today for all healthcare organisations worldwide is how to deliver consistent high quality care at lower costs. Telehealth is the answer because it can leverage physicians such that physicians can be available anytime and anywhere and they can provide quality care to anyone at reduced costs."
In future phases, DHA said it plans to extend the usage of RoboDocs to ICUs, NICUs and for further consultation purposes.