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Telemedicine, Robot Bridges Doctor and Patient Gap

Beam is a robot-like machine used for remote telemedicine.

Box office hits like Transformers, and the science-fiction franchise, Terminator, make one think that robots are invented for the sole purpose of defense. Technology, though, has found a far greater purpose for these. Over the years, robots have evolved in a lot of different ways. Moreover, they have even penetrated different industries around the globe, including healthcare. The Miramont Family Medicine, a medical facility located in Fort Collins, Colorado, is experiencing the bold impact of robotics. The patient-centered healthcare facility has been using an innovative device called Beam, which is an advanced telemedicine robot developed by Suitable Technologies.

Beam, the telepresence robot

Beam is a robot-like machine that has two legs with wheels and a screen for a face. The monitor is also used to present live video streaming on both ends.

The California-based company manufactures systems that combine both mobility and video conferencing. Scott Hassan, the President and CEO of Suitable Technologies, believes that Beam will benefit both patients and doctors.

The robot has the capability to deliver an accurate eye-to-eye or face-to-face connection instantly across distance, thus letting users move effortlessly from one place to another and engage in real time.

According to John Bender, the CEO of Miramont Family Medicine, and a representative for the American Board of Family Medicine, he was trying to come up with a better way to get in touch with his patients and healthcare staff every time he is not in the office. And using Beams helps the facility bridge the said gap.

I can log in from my computer or phone from wherever I am and drive the Beam around the office for up to eight hours at a time without needing a charge. Beams have a solid base with wheels that maneuver extremely well so I can navigate small spaces of go over the bumps in the carpet. I even use the speed often to get from one room to another.

– John Bender, the CEO of Miramont Family Medicine

The Potential of Beam in Telemedicine

The Colorado-based medical facility admits that in the past, they were only able to conduct nutritional, pharmaceutical, and psychological consultations. However, because of the technical prowess brought by Beam, the healthcare facility can now provide more advanced consultations designed to address chronic diseases.

Bender said, “I also regularly use the Beams for acute consults when I’m not onsite, where the PA or nurse practitioner is seeing the patient and I ‘Beam in’ to assist with medical decision making for a patient I have not previously seen.”

Companies Make Sure that Telemedicine is in Check

Telemedicine is becoming one of the fastest growing areas in healthcare. By 2020, the telehealth industry will reach a market value of $78.82 billion.

More and more companies are now delving into the technology of telemedicine.

  • SnapMD creates a cloud-based virtual care management platform with the ability to let healthcare providers engage with their patients. Dave Skibinski is the President and CEO of the company. The company now has an estimated total funding of $13.1 million.  SnapMD delivers services such as program performance and measurement, predictive analysis, and telehealth consulting services.
  • Physitrack is a UK-based startup, private firm. It provides application for home exercise programming, physical rehabilitation, and engagement for patients. Henrik Molin is the Co-Founder and CEO of Physitrack. The company has a projected total funding of $1.6 million. It has services in Canada, USA, Australia, and the Netherlands.
  • Practo Technologies manufactures a medical practice management software that provides scheduling for the patient appointment, billing services, and record management. Shashank ND heads the company located in Bengaluru, Karnataka. It has an estimated total funding of $179 million.
  • American Well, a web-based telehealth platform, lets patients be in touch with physicians using text chats, videos, and phone calls. Ido Schoenberg is the Chairman and CEO. To date, American Well has a projected total funding of $21.3 million. The Massachusetts-based company also delivers web and mobile technology solutions for accessing medical care services.

Now that the Food and Drug Administration has allowed the telemedicine manufacturer InTouch Health to sell telemedicine robots, it will already be easier for other companies to have their own futuristic machines join the growing market.

Miramont Family Medicine is a small facility. However, because of the technological advancements made by its very own Beam, the Colorado-based facility can provide more assistance and cure to patients.

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