Covid-19: Hospitals in India deploy robots to help monitor, treat patients

Karnataka has seen two hospitals using robots over the past few weeks and the response has been good.

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Reuters file
Reuters file

Published: Fri 12 Nov 2021, 3:28 PM

Hospitals across India are deploying robots to monitor Covid-19 patients and help doctors in providing treatment. And government officials find the robots are helping ease the pressure on healthcare staff at public hospitals.

Karnataka has seen two hospitals using robots over the past few weeks and the response has been good. “Healthcare staff find them useful,” TK Anil Kumar, principal secretary, health and family welfare department, of the state government, told the media. “We may not be able to deploy robots in all district hospitals, but they will get PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) cameras soon.”

Dr KV Trilok Chandra, special commissioner, of the Bangalore municipal corporation (BBMP), pointed out that ICUs were in a sterile environment and movements are restricted. “Since beds are fixed, the robot can be programmed to go on a predetermined path every few hours,” he said. “It provides two-way communication and relays audio and videos remotely to the physician.”

Invento Robotics, a Bangalore company, has designed robots that answer patients’ queries, coordinate video consultations with doctors and disinfect the ICUs. Balaji Viswanathan, CEO, told the media recently that the robots (known as ‘Mitras’) can help in taking readings, remind them about medications and even move around the hospital, enabling patients to interact with doctors and their relatives.

Another institution that has successfully deployed robots is Meenakshi Mission Hospital & Research Centre in Madurai, which had acquired 16 Teladoc Health Vita robots. They have helped examine 40,000 patients so far. “With remote monitoring, diagnosis and treatment of patients, we managed to prevent thousands of potential cases of cross-infection which could have occurred with face-to-face interaction between patients and doctors,” he told the media earlier this week.

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