Toward telemedical diagnostics—clinical evaluation of a robotic examination system for emergency patients

Maximilian Berlet, Jonas Fuchtmann, Roman Krumpholz, Abdeldjallil Naceri, Daniela Macari, Christoph Jähne-Schon, Sami Haddadin, Helmut Friess, Hubertus Feussner, Dirk Wilhelm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has affected global public healthcare for several years. Numerous medical professionals have been infected since the outbreak in 2019, resulting in a shortage of healthcare providers. Since traditional personal protective wear was insufficient to eliminate the virus transmission reliably, new strategies to avoid cross-infection were imperative while enabling high-quality medical care. In the project ProteCT, we investigated the potential of robotic-assisted examination in providing medical examination via a telemedical approach. Material and Methods: We constructed a fully functional examination cabin equipped with cameras, microphones, screens and robotic arms to evaluate usability and perception. Therefore, we conducted a preliminary study with 10 healthy volunteers and 10 physicians to gain first insights and optimize the setup. In a second step, we performed telemedical examinations of actual patients from the local emergency department to compare the robotic approach with the classical method of measuring vital signs, auscultation, palpation and percussion. Results: The preliminary study identified basic requirements, such as the need for force-feedback and telemedical training for physicians. In the main study, acceptance was high and most patients indicated they would use a telemedical system again. Our setup enabled the physician to make the same diagnoses as by classic examination in the emergency department in most cases. Discussion: The potential acceptance of a telemedical system such as ProteCT is high. Robotic telemedical approaches could complement future healthcare beyond the Corona pandemic to reach rural areas or even war zones. Moreover, the daily clinical use of robotic telemedicine could improve patients’ safety, the quality of perioperative management and the workflow in any medical facility. Conclusion: The development of telemedical and telerobotic systems is a multidisciplinary and complex challenge. However, acceptance of the proposed system was high among patients and physicians, indicating the potential use of similar systems for future healthcare.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDigital Health
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2024


  • clinical examination
  • coronavirus
  • emergency room
  • future healthcare
  • robotics
  • telemedicine


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