Mercy St.Vincent Medical Center introduces robot doctor

Robot doctor on display in downtown Toledo.

Some day in the near future, when you visit the doctor, you might be speaking with a robot named Vincent.

A remote-presence robot is one of the newest additions at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center.

"I've seen these save lives," Dr. John Whapham of Mercy St. Vincent said. "Let alone the cost savings with all these disease processes that are prevented and limited."

The machine can virtually bring a physician to an emergency scene in seconds.

Doctors can access the RP-7 camera through an iPad, allowing them to assess a patient from almost anywhere in the world.

"This helps bridge that personnel gap and the economic cost of having to put a specialist in every single place a patient could end up," Whapham said.

Remote-presence robots represent another chapter in home health care.

Doctors say patients could someday have their own remote-presence robots at home.

Costs are dropping but machines aren't currently covered by insurance.

"Patients actually find this quite comforting," Whapham said. "To be able to have contact with their physician."

Vincent was on display Friday at a health care conference in downtown Toledo.

EMTs and air medical transport professionals are excited about the device.