Thursday, August 08, 2013

Talk about telemedicine

Distance doctorin' to the max! Two hospitals in the US and China are partnering up so Chinese patients can be operated on by US doctors in Texas.

The Shenzhen Peoples Hospital in China and the Methodist Hospital in Houston are going to cooperate on robotic surgery.

The Methodist Hosp already has four working robots and the Chinese hospital did its first robotic surgery in 2004.

Presumably this will be on one-off or difficult cases where the Texas doctor has more experience.

The surgery involves tiny, precise instruments that can wiggle into places human hands sometimes cannot--and the surgeon operates the arm on a computer instead of standing over the patient.

Robotic surgery is gaining popularity--although studies do not show conclusively that it is superior in every case. It certainly would be if the doctor had to walk down the hall instead of traveling thousands of miles to an unfamiliar team and facility.

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