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Transcript - Atlantic Tele-robotic

Homes during the winter in remote communities.
Health clinic in Nain.
Streets of remote communities during the winter.

Narrator - Nain is a small, remote, isolated community in Northern Labrador. Their health clinic does have a nursing staff, but only one visiting physician for the entire community of 1500. Patients must depend on air travel nine months of the year to see a specialist - and bad weather often delays access to needed medical services.

Debra Keays-White - Health Canada - "There's only one way in and one way out of communities like Nain. And those flights are often unreliable and they're always expensive. So when a plane doesn't land, patient care can be compromised. And it leaves patients, their families, nurses and doctors frustrated; because of the inability to provide access to the care that patients need in these northern and remote communities."

Doctors and staff with Rosie the Robot.
Rosie the Robot moving through hospital hallways.

Narrator - Enter Rosie the Robot, a tele-robotic system that is helping people in this remote community access specialist care as part of a pilot project initiated by Dr. Ivar Mendez.

Debra Keays-White - Health Canada - "When I learned about Dr. Mendez's work, I saw how all that could change. I saw the possibilities with the use of tele-robotics levelling that playing field."

Dr. Ivar Mendez - Capital Health Division of Neurosurgery - "And to be able to do that we have used a tool called RP7 Remote Present Robot, which is a robotic system that uses regular Internet communications to be able to actually see in real time take care of patients that are at a distance from our centre."

Doctor speaking to colleague about robot.
Doctor teaching colleague how to use the robot to do an eye exam - "Let's say you are going to do an eye exam on this patient."

Ron Hill - Capital Health - "Now what we can do is a specialist can go visit you. He can spend the five minutes visiting you via the robot and save you the travel, save admit time at that acute hospital and it will save his time."

Pat Crowley - Nurse - Nain, Labrador - "It's just like anything new you know. It's always the strangeness of it at first. But I think people will take to it just like they do to us going back and forth here and doing the things that we do. And not only that, I'm sure they'll be happy that they'll be able to talk to the doctor on the other end instead of maybe having to go to Goose Bay. So that's where any nervousness that they will have about this will disappear. Because it will mean they can stay home."

Rosie the Robot.

Dr. Ivar Mendez - Capital Health Division of Neurosurgery - As Canadians we're always proud of our healthcare system. And our healthcare system is predicated to equal access to health care. Individuals that live in smaller communities; individuals that live in communities that are far away from urban centres do not have the same access to healthcare of a citizen that lives in Halifax or in Toronto. So we have over the past decade or so worked very hard in bringing not the patient to the centre, but bringing the expertise that resides in the centre, to the communities anywhere in Canada.

Rosie the Robot moving.
Medical scans provided by robot.

Rosie is a part of a 12-month pilot project with the following partners

  • Dalhousie University
  • Brain Repair Centre - Capital Health
  • Government of Nunatsiavut
  • Labrador - Grenfell Health
  • InTouch Technologies
  • Bell Aliant
  • Health Canada

In partnership with the residents of Nain, Labrador.

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