We've already seen the RP-VITA in action -- and so, for that matter, has the FDA. Now iRobot / InTouch Health's telepresence 'bot is ready to take the field. The companies today jointly unveiled a list of seven US and Mexican hospitals that will be using the iPad-friendly wheeled robot. The list includes a handful of locations that helped demo RP-VITA ahead of its official release. Check in after the break for all the locations, which include half a dozen in the US and one in Mexico.

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InTouch Health and iRobot Announce First Customers to Install RP-VITA

Top academic medical centers and leading healthcare systems across North America are now introducing their patients to RP-VITATM, the first FDA-cleared telemedicine robot that combines state-of-the-art telecommunications and AutoDrive technology. InTouch Health, the leader in acute care telemedicine, today announced at the 18th Annual American Telemedicine Association's International Conference the first hospitals to integrate this new telemedicine platform into their TeleStroke, TeleICU, TelePsych, and TelePediatric programs. RP-VITA, jointly developed by InTouch Health and iRobot Corp. (NASDAQ: IRBT), a leader in delivering robotic technology-based solutions, is a class apart from any other telemedicine device available, providing a new level of ease of use and independence that frees doctors and nurses to focus solely on patient care and to forget the technology.

One of the first major academic medical centers to introduce RP-VITA is the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, which was the initial TeleICU program involved in the clinical development of RP-VITA. "The robot is the next best thing to having a doctor come and talk to you," shared Kevin Sittner, a former neuro-ICU patient at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. "You see each other's face, and it feels like you're actually talking to the doctor. It's added comfort to me as a patient knowing I can get care whenever I need it."

Paul Vespa, M.D., Director of Neurocritical Care, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and Professor of Neurosurgery and Neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, describes his experience with RP-VITA: "During a stroke, the loss of a few minutes can mean the difference between preserving or losing brain function. The new technology enables me to concentrate on caring for my patient without being distracted by the need to set up and manage its technological features."

From virtually anywhere in the world, RP-VITA allows a physician to remotely take command of the clinical environment without the need for any onsite setup, coordination or assistance from nurses or technical staff. Physicians can use an iPad[1] interface to send RP-VITA to the patient's bedside, and the robot automatically navigates throughout a busy hospital environment, avoiding people and other obstacles along the way. RP-VITA is the first telemedicine platform to cause virtually no disruption to the existing procedures of hospital staff.

With RP-VITA, Providence Saint Joseph's Medical Center is leading the first integrated TeleStroke network in Southern California by partnering with community hospitals throughout the San Fernando Valley. "What's really unique about this program is that we're looking at using the resources of various different hospitals to bring better services to the entire community," commented Jason Greenspan, M.D., the project leader for the network.

The first academic medical centers and health systems to use RP-VITA are leaders in integrating telemedicine to improve patient care and optimize limited resources. The centers are located around the U.S. and in Mexico, representing a wide range of large, urban hospitals and regional and community medical centers. These centers include:

Medical Center:

Location:

Clinical Services:

Dignity Health

Sacramento, CA

TeleStroke, TeleICU, TelePsychiatry, Newborn Care, and TelePediatrics

Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian

Orange County, CA

TelePediatrics, TeleStroke, TeleICU, TelePsychiatry

Instituto de Salud del Estado de México

Mexico City, Mexico

TeleICU, Multispecialty

Ohio State Wexner Medical Center

Columbus, OH

TeleStroke, TeleICU

Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center

Burbank, CA

TeleStroke

Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center

Los Angeles, CA

TeleICU

St. Mary's Medical Center

Huntington, WV

TeleStroke

"Hoag is proud to be the first hospital in Orange County enhancing patient care and safety with the new RP-VITA," said Robert Braithwaite, President and CEO of Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian. "We have been using telemedicine robots for the delivery of pediatric care through our CHOC partnership with much success, and are expanding its use for additional services including stroke, psychiatric and critical care. This new device will enhance future care opportunities as we strive to provide our community the very best in patient care."

"I believe telemedicine is now reaching an inflection point where its presence in healthcare will grow at an exponential pace because telemedicine has become easy to use," said Yulun Wang, Ph.D., Chairman and CEO of InTouch Health. "The need to provide high-quality healthcare to everyone while reducing costs, has reached a crisis level. RP-VITA brings the right clinical expertise to the right place, at the right time to make medical decisions in a cost-effective manner. No other telemedicine technology is as powerful and enabling as RP-VITA."

"RP-VITA is a state-of-the-art, expandable robot that allows for several enabling telemedicine applications to improve the way healthcare is delivered," said Colin Angle, Chairman and CEO of iRobot. "I am excited about the role RP-VITA will play in hospitals both now and in the future. We are just now seeing the beginning of its potential benefits for patient care."