Nightly News   |  September 02, 2013

Paging Dr. Robot: Telemedicine a game changer

So-called robot doctors are allowing patients in more remote areas to get lifesaving care. NBC’s Julia Boorstin reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> look at what could be the future of medicine. robots already roaming through hospitals and allowing doctors to diagnose patients and, in some instances, make lifesaving decisions for from miles away much faster when every second counts. we get our report tonight from cnbc.

>> reporter: to see edith long now, you'd never know she recently had a near-death experience. when she suffered a stroke, there was no specialist at the hospital that night to evaluate her. so a robot named rp vida came to call, connecting a doctor 25 miles away.

>> the next thing i remember is the robot coming into the room, and dr. lee introducing himself to me.

>> reporter: when neurologist dr. andrew lee got the call at home, instead of getting in his car, he powered up his ipad and immediately examined edith through the robot's monitor.

>> i did notice that she had profound weakness of her left arm and her left leg.

>> reporter: he ordered a clos-busting drugs within -- clot-busting drug within minutes.

>> for every moment lost, someone who suffers a stroke, 1.9 million brain cells could possibly be irreversibly damaged.

>> reporter: dr. lee, if you were to evaluate a patients through the robot, what would you do?

>> to assess for strength and coordination, i would have you raise both arms up as if you're holding a tray, take your left index finger and touch your nose.

>> reporter: that would allow you to assess a spoispatients without being in the room?

>> absolutely.

>> reporter: there are 25 robots in use so far. doctors who use the technology same it's a game-changer.

>> we are actually to provide services to some of the smaller community hospitals. there is a large cost savings and the ability to treat many more patients.

>> reporter: thanks to the robot, edith long made a full recovery.

>> to be back to normal so fast brings tears to my eyes because i'm back to my normal life .

>> reporter: a high- tech house call, rebatting medicine. nbc news, los angeles .