Your Friday robot special: RP-7 in rural Oregon

robotmedicine2A bit more substantial than a ‘video chat’ is this use of a 5′ telemedicine robot, dubbed RP-7, at the Physician Clinic of Baker City, OR connecting to specialist physicians in Boise, ID, over 100 miles away.  The mobile robot, directed by the doctor, not only connects the doctor and patient visually, but also can, with local assistance, listen to the heart or monitor GI bell tones. 11 clinics in western Idaho and eastern Oregon use the RP-7, developed by Santa Barbara CA-based InTouch Health. Not a small investment, not every insurance carrier covers a telemedicine consult, but they’re working on that. Beats four hours round trip driving. Robot helps patients with checkups ( (with video).