Using robots, physicians in remote locations can substantially reduce lengths of stay for patients undergoing noncomplicated laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery, researchers found.
Their study involved 376 patients who underwent laparoscopic gastric bypass for morbid obesity. One group (284 patients) received standard bedside postoperative visits. A second group (92 patients) received a combination of standard bedside visits and robotic assessments.
The 5-foot 5-inch (163-cm) robot is equipped with a 15-inch monitor that displays the physician's face, two-way cameras, and microphones. From a remote location, a physician using a joystick guides the robot to assess and interact with patients and review charts and test results.
The average length of stay was 2.33 days for patients receiving standard care and 1.26 days for those in the robotic assessment group. Seventy-seven percent of those who had robot visits (71 patients) were discharged on the first postoperative day. In contrast, 77% of those receiving standard care (218 patients) were discharged on the second postoperative day. Researchers say the technology substantially reduced costs.
Gandsas A, et al., Robotic telepresence: Profit analysis in reducing length of stay after laparoscopic gastric bypass, Journal of the American College of Surgeons, July 2007.