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Telemedicine, with all its new tech glitter, is a synonym for technology-assisted remote care. We’ve written about a wide range of telemedicine applications including physical therapy with remote supervision following hip and knee replacement surgery, telemedicine via backpacks dropped by drones in remote disaster sites, and store and forward telemedicine for primary care physician specialist consultations.
Corindus Vascular Robotics recently announced a milestone in the company’s unique remote medical development program for percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs): specifically to implant stents. A stent is used to open a blockage in a patient’s artery, and is widely used in operations for coronary heart disease. As the company’s full name implies, Corindus develops robotic-assisted technology for vascular procedures. The CorPath GRX System is an FDA-cleared platform consisting of a radiation-shielded workstation with joysticks and touchscreen controls to translate the physician’s movements through a robotic arm. In an earlier stage, physicians working in an isolated room outside a procedure room completed multiple successful robotic stent procedures. The latest achievement was to complete a remote PCI from more than 100 miles away; in this instance, the remote procedure was performed on a pig model and not a human patient.
According to Corindus, if remote PCIs can be completed successfully 100 miles from the telestent platform, there is no distance limitation. This could lead to performing PCIs in underserved remote areas and extending the technology for other vascular procedures. As telerobotic procedure experience and expertise grow, the potential for a growing catalog of approved remote surgical procedures may be the best answer yet to shortages of physicians, medical specialists, and surgeons.