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Tech Talk: Connecting Patients and Families Across the Miles

Palomar Health’s new avatar robots, appropriate named Nuture, Heal and Smile, are connecting patients with family members across the country and even around the world.

These petite robots were developed by VGo Communications. VGo technology enables you to connect across the miles to see, hear, talk and interact with a patient at Palomar Medical Center, Pomerado Hospital or Villa Pomerado skilled nursing facility. Palomar Health is the first hospital system in the region to implement a pilot study of the robots with a goal of improving patient well-being and enhancing recovery.

Palomar Health anticipates that it will be easy for families to direct one of the robots from their own computer. Using an avatar will require downloading software and following the directions. After connecting, you will be in command of the robot and can direct its movements in the patient room, patient visiting areas or patient care areas, such as rehabilitation. 

“Patients are very excited about our new robots because they understand that the technology allows them to connect with family members like never before,” says Luba Burns, MPH, CISM, Director of IS Governance and Innovation Administration for Palomar Health. “The two-way audio/video mobile communications brings patients and families together, which helps families better understand the care the patient is receiving. And it helps patients feel closer to their loved ones who cannot be here with them.”