May 6, 2014 3:36 pm

Robot to revolutionize patient care in Saskatoon Health Region

State-of-the-art clinical robot deployed at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon to help doctors treat patients.

Devin Sauer / Global News

SASKATOON – A state-of-the-art clinical robot was deployed Monday at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon that will help doctors treat patients.

The remote presence virtual independent telemedicine assistant (RP-Vita) will first be used to help patients in the neurosurgery unit and then the emergency and intensive care units.

Thanks to a $210,000 donation, the Saskatoon Health Region (SHR) now possesses Canada’s most advanced medical robot technology.

The donation came from Saskatoon philanthropist Merlis Belisher and his family.

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“I think is it critical to equip our physicians and health care professionals with the best available technology so that they can efficiently deliver high quality patient care to the most seriously ill people in Saskatchewan,” said Belsher.

The robot’s name is ‘Patrick’ after his son.

Patrick is intended to increase interactions and efficiencies among doctors, caregivers and patients.

It’s equipped with the ability to connect with diagnostic devices and even comes with the latest electronic stethoscope.

Via cutting-edge technology, doctors will be able to see patients while in another part of the hospital and make treatment decisions with access to the necessary clinical information.

Ultimately, RP-Vita is expected to decrease wait times and improve patient flow.

“I think the crucial aspect of this technology is that the robot is a tool. It is a tool that will facilitate the healthcare provider,” said Dr. Ivar Mendez, the unified head of surgery at the University of Saskatchewan and SHR.

“The nurse, the doctor, or other healthcare providers can provide timely care to the patient. It will not replace the human being.”

Mendez also says Saskatchewan will become a leader in the utilization of remote presence medical robot technology.

State-of-the-art obstacle avoidance, autonomous navigation and lasers enable Patrick to travel to selected destinations without user guidance.

An app enables access and control of Patrick from anywhere using an iPad.

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