Objectives: Limited resources and the diminishing physician workforce in trauma require unique and innovative solutions. Our hypothesis is that telepresence by a remote physician is an appropriate application in an urban trauma setting. The purpose of this study is to assess user satisfaction and usability of a mobile telemedicine robot in trauma care. Materials and Methods: A usability study of trauma patient assessments utilizing the Remote Presence-7 (RP-7) robot (InTouch Health, Santa Barbara, CA) with real-time, two-way communication between remote and local physicians was conducted at a Level 1 trauma center. Usability and acceptability was measured using survey questionnaires, open-ended feedback, and general observations. Comparisons were made between remote and local physician responses. Results: One hundred fourteen patient encounters utilizing telepresence were performed. Remote and local physicians expressed a high level of satisfaction with the mobility (92% and 79%, respectively), communication (97% and 90%, respectively), and visual abilities (91% and 97%, respectively) of the RP-7 robot for remote consultation purposes. On average, 89% of remote and local physician participants rated their overall telemedicine experience as "excellent" or "above average." Conclusions: This study suggests that telepresence of a remote trauma surgeon may be a useful and functional adjunct in the trauma setting. Further development of these technologies could mitigate current and future concerns about gaps in rural and urban trauma care and critical care staffing shortages and during mass casualty or disaster scenarios.
- Robotic surgery
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Informatics
- Health Information Management