If the Pixar animated robot “Wall-E” was a doctor, this may be what he looks like. Designed by Modo, the maker of specialized carts for the healthcare industry, this unintimidating device goes by the name “Practitioner Cart ™HDX™.” What makes it such a wonder of design is that it houses 14 separate telemedical technology components from Polycom and more than 97 feet of cabling in a footprint that is smaller than an office chair.
Compact enough to fit in a doctor’s small exam room, the Practitioner allows doctors in rural or remote areas to consult with experts from urban research centers. Instead of just describing symptoms, off-site physicians can interact face-to-face with patients. Modo CEO Bob Marchant explains, “In addition to making the equipment responsive, we lowered the video image to a comfortable, conversational height, so the physician’s image and voice are at the level of a seated patient.”
Live digital video and high-speed satellite connections give the offsite doctor the ability to diagnose illnesses in real time, without requiring patients to travel. A high-resolution digital camera can provide close-ups of skin lesions; a digital stethoscope can take heart rate and blood pressure readings, and x-rays can be uploaded for immediate viewing. Modo design manager Goo Sung says that “Using the system is as easy as having a conversation. There is no start-up calibration. You simply turn it on and talk to your doctor. No one wants to wait when their health is at risk.”