This blog is totally independent and has only three major objectives.
The first is to inform readers of news and happenings in the e-Health domain, both here in Australia and world-wide.
The second is to provide commentary on e-Health in Australia and to foster improvement where I can.
The third is to encourage discussion of the matters raised in the blog so hopefully readers can get a balanced view of what is really happening and what successes are being achieved.
Thursday, May 26, 2016
This Feels Like The Future Is Coming Towards Us At Pretty High Speed.
Robots are on the verge of bridging the gap between the city-based doctors and regional patients.
Robots with a sense of touch, known as haptically enabled, developed by Deakin University's Institute for Intelligent Systems Research (IISRI), with funding and technical support from Telstra, could bring ultrasound patients up to 1000 kilometres away into the offices of medical professionals in city centres.
The remote technology will allow practitioners to conduct abdominal ultrasound imaging to look at patients' kidneys, gall bladder, liver, spleen, pancreas, abdominal aorta and blood vessels.
It can also alert the medical professionals who are operating the equipment hundreds of kilometres away to patient discomfort, and assess tenderness in the examination area.
Telstra, which has some claim on the project's intellectual property, has trialled the technology across its network, the results of which are beyond initial expectations, Telstra chief technology officer Vish Nandlall said.
IISRI director Professor Saeid Nahavandi said trials performed over connections between Melbourne and a number of rural and regional Australian cities had been successful.
"It will increase the availability of ultrasound diagnosis for regional patients, which is incredibly important, but it will also minimise potential errors, saving time that might be spent having the patient re-scanned or transported to a regional hub," Mr Nahavandi said.
"A principal advantage of this system is the ability to translate the sense of touch to the operator. Haptic feedback allows an operator to feel and experience the remote environment, through the robotic system, as though they were interacting with it directly."
Deakin University has developed a robotics technology with force feedback that can allow clinicians to remotely create ultrasound images of their patients.
The HER (haptically-enabled robotics) technology was developed by Deakin University’s Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation (IISRI), and received funding and technical support from Telstra’s research partner program.
The use of haptics allows medical professionals to remotely monitor patient discomfort by probing an examination area, which can be collected and compared to historical data.
Along with haptic force feedback and robotics, the technology incorporates 3D vision and full two-way audio visual communications.
The ultrasounds can be used to examine a range of organs and in abdominal blood pressure. Symptoms that can be diagnosed using the machine include abdominal pain, abnormal liver function and enlarged organs.
The device could potentially be used to provide medical imaging services to remote and regional communities. It can be operated by a sonographer up to 1000 kilometres away from their patient.
Researchers have already conducted remote trials using the technology, where clinicians in Melbourne have examined patients in several regional and rural cities.