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Our patients’ stories: using medical robots at home

When you hear the word robot, which image comes to mind first?

Those of us raised on Star Wars and Buck Rogers are likely to identify with the first image, but physically speaking, the robots of today have more in common with your computer and microwave than a Hollywood android.

They may look less interesting than your favorite sci-fi film characters, but modern medical robots are still quite helpful. So much so that the Boston Globe recently ran a story about a pilot project that placed a medical robot created by VGo Communications in the home of the Tally family, whose 2 year-old son Aidan is recovering from surgery he received at Children’s Hospital Boston last month to treat his urinary reflux .

The VGo robot’s main function is videoconferencing, which connects the Ashland-based family to their doctors and nurses here in Boston. Operated by remote control from Children’s, the VGo robot lets medical professionals see and communicate with Aidan’s parents, take video and close-up photos of Aidan’s scars for medical review and figure out if the prescribed medication is doing its job.

And because videoconferencing appointments are easier to coordinate than hospital visits, the Tally family was able to check in with Aidan’s care team every three days, instead of waiting for their first post surgical appointment, scheduled for six weeks after his surgery.

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