FORT WORTH, TEXAS—"Assistance to ER please," The loudspeaker blared. "Assistance to ER 4."
Plaza Medical Center of Fort Worth--where doctors, nurses---and a robot roam the halls.
It's the 'remote presence robotic system' and for a little more than a month now it's been there when the specialist isn't.
Emergency Department doctor Aroon Raghavan and neurosurgeon Greg Ward demonstrated just how the robot works.
EEG technician Tim Haymon played the part of a possible stroke victim.
The robot is Dr. Ward's eyes and ears--he can connect to the robot and control it from a remote location--say his home--to help figure out the best treatment options.
"Dr. Ward," Dr. Raghavan asked. "Are you getting good volume on that?"
Dr. Ward listened to the volunteer patient's heart and lungs--then zoomed in on her vitals displayed on an exam room screen.
"Go ahead and stare straight ahead for me," Dr. Raghaven requested.
And with the twist of a joy stick--Dr. Waked looked straight into her eyes.
When it comes to emergency brain and heart conditions--every second counts.
"Time is of the essence," Dr. Wade said. "The faster we can get a diagnosis and decide which way to go, the faster we can do some of these therapies and treatments that provide better outcomes."
Dr. Ward can even review imaging results with the patient--from anywhere.
"See the white area I'm circling?" Dr. Ward asked our volunteer patient. "That looks like you're having a little stroke."
Dr. Raghavan said the robot helps reduce the number of second and third hand conversations between doctors and the patient.
"When you look at medicine it's a collaborative effort," Dr. Raghaven said. "When we have all physicians that are required to take care of a patient available immediately that's a huge benefit not only to the patient but the expert and physician."
Kim Haymond, our volunteer patient, got to see the robot from the patient's point of view.
"I can't imagine being a patient, much less a family member waiting for answers," Haymond said. "It really helps put them at ease a lot faster than normally we could be able to."
For the robot which is always on call--it's all in a day's work.