The use of remote robotic telemedicine technology in neonatal intensive care units is a safe and feasible way to provide care in hospitals with a limited work force, according to a study published in the Journal of Perinatology, InformationWeek reports. For the study — titled, “The Use of Mobile Robotic Telemedicine Technology in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit” — researchers at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles compared the findings of an on-site neonatologist at the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center’s NICU with the findings of a remote neonatologist. The researchers also conducted an additional experiment comparing the findings of two on-site neonatologists. The uation of 304 patient encounters on 46 preterm and term infants found excellent or intermediate-to-good agreements between the on-site and remote specialists for nearly all physical exam assessments. With or without the use of telehealth, poor agreements were found for certain physical exam uations, such as heart sounds and capillary refill time. However, the researchers noted that “robotic telemedicine technology should not be conceived as a replacement for the provision of on-site intensive care but rather a way to ensure that prompt attention and early intervention based on direct and accurate information can be provided to sick neonates.

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