Morrison Community Hospital Bridges the Gap in Rural Healthcare
Morrison Community Hospital (MCH) has announced the placement of a remote physician presence robot that will expand the delivery of specialized health care to patients in their service area. On January 21 the robot became active at MCH, adding to their existing line of patient services.
The remote physician presence robot improves rural patient’s access to a wider range of specialists, technologies and services through a secure, completely confidential delivery system. Morrison’s inaugural program physician is David J. Lopez, M.D. a psychiatrist specializing in remote service delivery.
With over 12 years of practice in a variety of settings, Dr. Lopez earned his graduate degree at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, MN. He also holds a Doctor of Medicine Degree from the University of Minnesota’s Medical School, and a BA in Russian Studies from Brown University in Providence, RI, where he graduated with honors. Dr. Lopez studied abroad in Russia and Spain during his collegiate years. He is fluent in Spanish and proficient in Russian.
Dr. Lopez will see patients at MCH Specialty Clinic on Mondays from noon until 6 p.m. and Thursdays from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. Call 815-772-5590 to schedule an appointment.
“Morrison Community Hospital’s mission is to improve the health of the residents of the hospital district and surrounding areas as well as focusing on personalized care.” said Kent Jorgensen, MCH’s CEO.
The RP-Lite® Robot, through the utilization of a secured wireless, broadband, internet connection, provides specialized physician care to patients that are in a separate location from the physician. In this case Morrison, Illinois and Fargo, North Dakota. Within moments of a request for a psychiatry consultation, a physician, seated at a computer ControlStation (either at home, office, or anywhere in the world that has a wireless connection) connects via the Internet to the RP-Lite Robot located at MCH to converse with or examine the patient.
Through the robot (which stands 5 feet 6 inches tall), a doctor can interact and converse with a patient, patient’s family, physician or nurse through a live, two-way audio and video. Using a joystick, the camera and the guidance of 360-degree infrared sensors, the physician can move the robot’s head to view vital signs on monitors and charts. The physician operates the robot through remote access, and the robot is almost self sufficient; the only thing it needs assistance with is plugging in to recharge its battery.
“The presence of a physician robot will become an important component to our delivery of care. The first program is our psychiatry program. We plan to expand to other specialists as the system is proven. We are committed to excellence in care and through our local medical staff and our specialist partners we hope to be able to offer the community a broad spectrum of professional resources at any time for every patient,” said Jorgensen.
MCH’s patients will be the first to benefit from the Robot in this region for psychiatry services. The rural hospital is taking steps to provide the best care for their patients despite the national shortage of specialized physicians - a shortage that is often more pronounced outside metropolitan areas.
“By making the world of healthcare smaller and more accessible for our patients MCH is making it more personal, “ said Pam Pfister, MCH’s Associate Administrator. “The implementation of the physician robot is one way that MCH provides patients in the Sauk Valley with modern and convenient access to complete healthcare that maintains excellent confidentiality throughout the process.”
Morrison Community Hospital is a 25-bed critical access hospital in existence since 1930. Our Long Term Care Facility, Four Season’s Living Center is highly respected and supported by the community. Morrison Community Hospital is located at 303 N. Jackson St. Morrison, IL.