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Yeah, so the pandemic is not over yet even though vaccines are out. Providing healthcare to patients has become a challenge considering COVID-19 situation. However, as they say, every cloud has a silver lining so has the pandemic. Telehealth has garnered much attention and the good part is that researchers at the University of Cincinnati are also up to something really exciting!
News has it that a group of researchers from the university are in process of designing drones capable of conducting visits to patient’s homes virtually. The goal of drone technology is to provide healthcare services to the ones who either have unstable internet connections or lack access to the appropriate devices. It is believed that such a technology can revolutionize telehealth services.
Dr.Manish Kumar, a mechanical engineering professor and one of the designers of the technology, said that once the drone has been developed completely, it will help establish communication with the patients directly. Kumar further added, “Currently, medical drones… are used to drop off medicines to people’s homes or other places. These drones…are only used for outdoor purposes. Our drone is going to do not only that but also go inside people’s homes.”
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This telehealth assistant aka drone will feature a display screen and cameras through which healthcare professionals can talk to patients. Moreover, the drone will also come with a medical kit. This kit will be designed in such a way that it can deliver devices and medical supplies for self-examination on the patient’s part.
Another expert working on this technology is UC’s College of Nursing Telehealth Director, Dr. Debi Sampsel. Sampsel asserts that a range of medical health assessments can be done using these ‘flying robots’. These health assessments can include tracking of oxygen levels and recording temperatures. The kit that comes with the drone has user-friendly devices. The clinician can easily guide patients regarding the use of these devices. Caregivers and family members can also assist the patients during sessions with the doctor.
The drone effectively eradicates the problem of access to the internet or digital devices. According to Sampsel, one worth noting quality of drone is that it does not require any other device at the patient’s home. She further noted that the drone is hands-free and that it can let people communicate without the need for any additional skill in downloading applications.
Okay, that sounds quite cool!