Investigating the Need for Point-of-Care Robots to Support Teleconsultation

Hyeongsuk Lee, Jeongeun Kim, Sukwha Kim, Hyoun Joong Kong, Hyeongju Ryu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Development of a point-of-care (POC) consultation system based on telepresence robots is needed to enable effective decision-making by medical staff at care sites. Introduction: This study aimed to identify essential features and functional requirements of teleconsultation robot systems and predict potential administrative and clinical issues. Materials and Methods: Surveys were conducted with 90 health care professionals and additional focus group interviews with 4 physicians and 5 nurses. The questionnaire for the surveys was developed by the authors. Survey results were analyzed using descriptive statistics, and content analysis was used to extract themes from the unabridged transcripts of focus group interviews. Results: The most desired functionalities were related to patient evaluation and facilitation of communication, including measuring vital signs, and medical record sharing and delivery. Nurses and physicians reported different needs for human-robot interactions. Nurses valued robotic functions such as voice command, automatic camera movement, voice recognition with contextual perception, and recognition of nonverbal signals. The thematic analysis of the interviews yielded four themes: major functions, usability, expected effects, and potential issues. The results indicated that robots should primarily be employed to support communication between medical professionals. The major expected effects included prevention of treatment delays and decision-making assistance. Participants believed that teleconsultation robots would be helpful, but had concerns, including anxiety about the robots and judgment errors. Conclusions: Using robots in health care institutions may support effective communication among medical staff, thus contributing to health care improvement. In the future, an actual POC robot system will be developed and its effectiveness evaluated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1165-1173
Number of pages9
JournalTelemedicine and e-Health
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2019


  • E-Health
  • Technology
  • Telecommunications
  • Telehealth
  • Telemedicine

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