University of Louisville and Owensboro Medical Health System — a hospital 100 miles west — are bringing city physicians to the more rural hospital via robots.

The doctor on wheels is RP-7, the 5′ 6″ invention of InTouch Health of Santa Barbara, Calif. Through remote control, a doctor in Louisville can evaluate patients long distance. “Using a joystick, camera and 360-degree infrared sensors, the UofL Health Care doctor can maneuver the robot through the hospital to a patient’s bedside and move the robot’s head to see” and hear, not only the patient, but medical staff in Owensboro, and “vital signs on monitors and charts” as well.

For now, the robot will be used to consult the Owensboro hospital in cases of stroke, pediatrics, and maternal fetal medicine. “I can listen to heart sounds ,” said Louisville physician Dr. Kerri Remmel, pictured above on the tube. “I just need someone to put the stethoscope on a patient’s chest.”

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