Spectrum can use robots to treat patients thousands of miles away

Spectrum can use robots to treat patients thousands of miles away

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan (Wood) — Spectrum Health is transforming Grand Rapids into a telemedicine center.

Physicians are pioneering research that would allow them to perform robotic operations on patients thousands of miles away.

The technology will benefit people in rural areas who do not have access to specialists, said Dr. Ryan Mader, chief of interventional cardiology.

“They’re actually getting inferior or outdated treatments because the technology or expertise to do these more advanced treatments and some kind of newer treatments isn’t available in more rural areas,” Mader said.

Corindus CorPath GRX is to be used on patients who have Spectrum Health doctors nearby. Madder was part of the team that showed it could be used 3,000 miles away.

The use of telerobotics can improve outcomes for patients with heart attacks who are currently being treated with medication and are often transferred to another hospital.

“In the event of a heart attack, these transfer times are associated with significant delays in opening the artery, leading to increased risk of death, resulting in a larger heart attack,” Mader said.

Madder and his team Announcing a grant of $8.8 million for three years this week to continue funding research. The funds were provided by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

“One of the things that we will be able to do is develop the first remote communication between different hospital systems in different situations, so we are going to link a series of robotic controls here at Spectrum to five different[systems]in the field,” Mader said.

With technology already proven to be effective on mannequins, funding will allow the project to move forward.

“One of the things that the grant will allow us to do is really develop and build a training program, which will allow us to bring doctors and hospital staff from other parts of the world to Grand Rapids to train and learn how to do robotics and robotics remotely,” Mader said.

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