Wednesday, July 06, 2005

PAGING DR. WHO

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The Asminovian robotic revolution continues apace. Robots to comfort and care for the elderly in Japan, for example. Manga-style Gundums. Robots build many things for us already. The news about the robot that can assemble replicas of itself has been created in labs.

The applications grow apace. From the Washington Post:
"Well, let's see how you are feeling later on today," Kavoussi said . "If you're feeling better, we'll send you home, all right?"

After telling Daniel that he was ordering a chest X-ray and other tests, Kavoussi tweaked a joystick to maneuver the robot back to the hallway.

Such robot-assisted exchanges are being repeated in dozens of hospitals across the country by doctors who use the machines to make their rounds, monitor intensive-care units, respond to emergency calls and consult with other physicians.

Proponents say this and other new "telemedicine" technologies are allowing doctors to use their time more efficiently and serve more patients, often at odd hours or in remote places where the sick would otherwise have a hard time seeing a doctor.

"There's a tremendous amount of medical care being provided from a distance today through technology like this," said Jonathan D. Linkous, executive director of the American Telemedicine Association.

Skeptics, however, fear that the technology is further depersonalizing health care, accelerating the trend of doctors spending less and less time with their patients, and eroding what remains of the doctor-patient relationship.
Hate to say this, AMA, but many of my interfacings with doctors may as well be with robots. The chief impression I have gotten over the years is they want to breeze by as fast as possible. If I want to live or die, I got to do it myself, pretty much. No hand holding, lingering help, as far as I can see. The pressure to perform as many visits as fast as possible have pretty much killed the medical beside method anyway. Pretending it is robots vs human interaction is rather funny since our medical apparatus is a factory-style set up in the first place.

Maybe, while robots administer various things, a doctor can find time to chat for more than three minutes!

Of course, one can fanasize various proceedures and probes done by robots in the future. Sort of like all those alien abduction fantasies people are prone to imagine in idle half wakening hours!

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