Now this is a robot that might change the way that doctors are trained to perform a prostate exam in the future – by coming in the form of a plastic posterior that is hooked up to a video screen. In fact, this robot has even been given the name of “Patrick”, and Patrick would remain bent over a desk. Something tells me that first time medical students who lay their eyes on this will probably stifle a giggle or two, but it is all serious business in reality. Specially designed to train doctors-to-be on how to perform a prostate exam on a patient, Dr. Benjamin Lok shared, “In the experience, the student talks to a virtual person and is able to practice their communication skills. The mannequin is instrumented with force sensors that can measure where the student is examining and with how much pressure. This enables the system to provide a realistic encounter with a virtual patient that includes communication and physical exam components.”
Patrick is also able to measure eye contact between the medical student and the virtual patient so that the future doctor’s bedside manners can improve. There are also force sensors within Patrick to provide an alert should the student be deemed to have poked or prodded with too much force, while registering the overall thoroughness of the examination. Right now, Patrick sees action at Drexel University in Philadelphia and at the University of Florida.