Dr. Zippy: Children’s Health Gets ‘Robot Doctor’

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DALLAS—You’ve got to admit, robots can do a lot of cool stuff. But have you seen a robot doctor? Folks at Children’s Medical are doing the robot.  Meet RP-VITA, or as the kids call him, 'Zippy.'

“Robots, for them, are something that they love,” Tamera Perry, Program Manager for Innovative Healthcare and Telemedicine said.  “They can hug the robot, they can take a picture with the robot.”

Zippy’s looking pretty snazzy.

“Yes, he has a bow [tie.]  He’s certainly part of our staff here. So our patients are able to see that specialist without a week wait or without a two-week wait,” Perry added.  “Sometimes, to see a specialist, it takes a little bit longer.”

Doctors can communicate with patients  through this $30,000 piece of equipment from anywhere in the world.

“As we saw, unfortunately over the summer, with concerns about infectious diseases in hospitals, cutting down on people going in and out of rooms in very specific emergent situations may be helpful,” Dr. Benjamin Greenberg said, through Zippy, from his office nearby.

What makes Zippy…zip?

“When I control Zippy, I do it via iPad..There is an application on it,” he said.

Don’t worry. The information is encrypted, so what’s private stays private. There’s even a laser pointer, sensors so Zippy doesn’t hit anything, and a stethoscope where the doc can hear your heartbeat.

“Say I’m hearing a murmur.  They can listen as well, which is not something we can currently do bedside.  From anywhere in the world, [we] can get access, and take the robot on the rounds,” he added.

Zippity-Doo-Da! Now that’s a robot!