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Robot connects rural patients to specialists

10/9/2013

Special to The Hays Daily News

PLAINVILLE -- Rooks County Health Center has partnered with Wesley Medical Center in Wichita to connect a stroke-trained neurologist with a patient suffering from stroke-like conditions, allowing that patient to be examined and diagnosed while the patient is still in Plainville.

With the use of a robot, the attending medical provider immediately can be connected to a neurologist through the WesleyCare Telemedicine Network, saving precious time for patients who are experiencing a stroke.

Time is critical in the treatment of a stroke, which disrupts the flow of oxygen to brain cells, causing brain damage and disability. According to the National Stroke Association, there is a three-hour window of opportunity to administer a clot-buster medication.

"To have the ability to immediately be seen by a neurologist when a patient presents stroke-like symptoms at RCHC is invaluable," said Mike Sinclair, CEO of Rooks County Health Center. "You cannot put a price on the time saved and what it will do for the health and quality of life for residents of Rooks County."

The "robot" is comprised of a mobile cart equipped with a computer, monitor, high-resolution camera and microphone to simultaneously transmit the audio and video portions of a physician consult. Patient medical records can be assessed by the consulting doctor.

RCHC is asking for help naming the robot. Suggestions should be submitted by Nov. 1 to PO Box 389, 1210 N. Washington. Plainville. The winner will receive a Kindle Fire and be announced at the Rooks County Healthcare Foundation's Annual Golf Ball Drop at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 3.