The automated intensive care unit

The June 2004 issue of Popular Science has a short article on a growing trend in America's intensive care units: remote monitoring of patients. There are video cameras mounted in the patient's room. A remote doctor/nurse watches the patient with the camera and uses a number of electronic monitoring devices attached to the patient. Before turning on the camera, the remote doctor rings a doorbell to let the patient know that he/she is about to be observed.

The system is run by a company called Visicu. Eight hospitals are currently using it, with eight more coming online soon.

Using this system, one doctor/nurse can monitor 50 patients.

The economic pressure to replace doctors and nurses with robots and automation is immense, just as it is for pilots, because doctors and nurses are extremely expensive.

Now that this system has been successfully installed in intensive care units, three things are inevitable:This trend has the potential to significantly reduce health care costs, which is good if the savings are passed on to patients rather than being concentrated in CEOs and executives of healthcare companies. However, it also means that the number of doctors and nurses will fall eventually as robots take over healthcare. What will those doctors and nurses end up doing once they are fired?

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home
Archives © Copyright 2005 by Marshall Brain
Atom RSS

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?