A common science fiction theme - the robotic or computerized doctor - is slowly becoming a reality. Soon, patients at Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary will be diagnosed by a remote neurologist via webcam.
According to EliteTele.com, a hospital neurologist position had been vacant for almost a year. The hospital administration sought to hire a new doctor, but finding someone who was both qualified and interested was a difficult task. This led the institution to consider other, less costly alternatives. After analyzing the price of a video conferencing suite, the hospital decided that a similar system would be in their best interests. Analysis has shown that the annual expenses of the system will cost around $8,000, while a full-time neurologist would require a salary of almost $200,000.
Patients confined to Galloway who need a special consultation with a neurologist will be able to hold a web conference meeting with a doctor in Edinburgh's Western General Hospital. Should the diagnosis be serious and require further attention, the patient will be authorized to travel to another medical center. This sort of filtering is an excellent way for hospitals, especially those which are publicly-run, to save money.