Surgeon Garth Ballantyne, MD, prefers to personally oversee his post-op
patients. So when he had to travel to Europe last year, he turned on his laptop,
hopped on the Internet, powered up a robot in Hackensack, NJ, and drove it
into the recovery room. Soon, he was chatting with his patient, thousands
of miles away.
“Obviously, you have someone covering back home, but it’s
nicer if you can keep in direct contact with the patients,” says Ballantyne,
chief of minimally invasive surgery at the Hackensack University Medical Center.
“And since the hospital has all-electronic records, not only can I see
the patients but I can pull up the vital signs and results from blood tests
and CT scans.”