12 September 2019
First virtual consultation using robot technology helps patients in Ante Natal Clinic
A pilot project to explore the benefits of video technology to help Ante-Natal Clinic patients and staff at The Royal Oldham Hospital has been launched.
The trial scheme, which is part of the Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) Fast Follower programme, will enable staff from the interpretation and translation service to link to a mobile robotic device to see, talk, hear and monitor patients in the Ante Natal Clinic, as if they were there in person.
Using the InTouch robotic systems they can connect through a computer to the virtual consultation hi-definition camera to give them a crystal-clear and close-up view of the patient. The devices also feature a screen, speakers and a microphone to enhance a two-way live link – equipping staff with a pair of mobile eyes and ears.
The pilot will use the device to link up The Royal Oldham Hospital’s Interpretation and Translation Service to patients attending the Ante-Natal Clinic that require translation assistance.
The service aims to reduce time and costs currently spent on staff travelling to and from hospitals across the region to provide the service.
Currently more than 100 staff are regularly used by the hospital to help interpret and translate more than 94 languages, including help with sign language. The trial will initially support three different languages – Urdu, Punjabi and Bengali- and will last for 13 weeks.
A robotic video unit – the InTouch Vici device - will be installed within the Ante-Natal Care outpatient department to support people who need interpretation and translation support.
Nayla Rehan, Interpretation and Translation Service Manager, Northern Care Alliance NHS Group, said: “This service will speed up the way we offer support for people who cannot communicate well with the staff in our service. We are always looking to improve our patient experience and we hope that this new digital technology will really help everyone who needs this support."
The trial is the latest innovation to go live as part of the Northern Care Alliance Group’s GDE Fast Follower programme.
Dr Georges Ng Man Kwong, Chief Clinical Information Officer, Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “We are really pleased to be working with InTouch to begin testing these two concepts to help improve things for staff and patients. We will be monitoring these projects closely and gathering the benefits before hopefully introducing similar practice across the Trust.”