Israelis returning from China have been testing a new telemedicine app to help the country prepare for the spread of Covid-19, with robots lined up in hospitals to treat sufferers without endangering staff.
The latest technology was launched last week at Sheba Medical Centre, with home-bound patients entering information regarding their vital signs such as body temperature and submitting this for doctors’ assessment.
“This is one instance where telemedicine protects both staff and patients by minimising direct contact with those infected by the coronavirus,” said Galia Barkai, head of telemedicine at Sheba.
Once in quarantine in hospital, patients could be tended to by a California-designed remote-controlled robot, with the clinicians operating it from outside the room.
They are already used in the hospital’s paediatric cardiology and trauma wards.
“This technology is the perfect solution to provide care to patients infected with coronavirus, while protecting staff from contagion,” said Barkai.
Last week Sheba ran its first drill for operating a pop-up unit to deal with any Israeli outbreak of Covid-19, with isolation units for those who test positive.
Tests can give results in hours, but currently only those returning from China are been screened.