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Steve Biko Academic Hospital has a new robot helping out in ICU

Business Insider SA
stevie the robot
From left to right: Steve Biko Academic Hospital CEO, Dr Mathabo Mathebula; Prof Tiaan de Jager, faculty of health sciences dean at UP; Prof Robin Green, chairperson of the School of Medicine at UP and Prof Fathima Paruk, academic and clinical head of the Department of Critical Care at UP and Steve Biko Academic Hospital.
  • Stevie is a mobile robot that recently joined the University of Pretoria’s faculty of Health Science, and the Steve Biko Academic Hospital. 
  • The gender-neutral robot was named after South African anti-apartheid struggle icon Bantu Steve Biko. 
  • It will allow ICU specialists from Germany and South Africa to attend to cases via the robot.
  • ICU specialists will also be able to make diagnoses and guide medical procedures.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

The University of Pretoria’s faculty of Health Science and Steve Biko Academic Hospital have welcomed a mobile robot to the ICU team, to help with the treatment of patients during the pandemic.

"Stevie" is a mobile robot named after South African anti-apartheid struggle icon Steve Biko. The gender-neutral mobile robot is intended to foster instant live discussion and communication between German and South African ICU teams daily.

“Telemedicine plays a crucial role in encouraging long-distance patient and clinician care. Covid-19 has been a massive disruptor in society, especially in the healthcare sector,” said Dean of UP’s Faculty of Health Sciences Professor Tiaan de Jager, in a statement.

The robot, which will help doctors identify illnesses and diseases in ICU, has a privacy handset to help with confidential communication during ward rounds. It also has a stethoscope port to remotely relay information during the examination of a patient, and a high-definition pan-tilt-zoom camera for close-up diagnosis.

According to Professor Fathima Paruk, Academic and Clinical Head of the Department of Critical Care at UP and Steve Biko Academic Hospital, “ICU specialists and their teams based in Germany at the CU and RKI will join the South African ICU team in person through the robot’s digital screen.

“Both the SA and German teams, led by ICU specialists, will be able to interact virtually. This will enable the team from Germany to see the patient, look at the ICU monitors, and engage in discussions with patients. The ward round will involve discussing the medical condition and include a management plan over a secure line.”

In addition to ICU patients, Stevie the robot will also benefit Covid-19 patients and those with other illnesses. The robot will also be used to exchange ideas, specialist training, global collaborations, webinars and educational workshops, especially for highly selective or niche specialties in critical care.

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