Artificial intelligence

Inside the high-tech hospital where robots perform rounds of duty, AI detects cancer and surgeons perform surgery with VR

An eight-day-old baby in a hospital bed is cared for by a robot remotely controlled by a doctor, in scenes that could herald the future of the NHS.

Little Yousef is hours away from life-saving heart surgery, and his distraught family are aware there’s a chance he won’t make it.

Graeme Culliford visits the modern mega Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, IsraelCredit: Louis Wood
Surgeons at Sheba Medical Center can perform surgery with virtual realityCredit: Louis Wood

But they can at least take comfort in knowing that he has a constant companion in the intensive care unit.

The tot is being closely watched by a £60,000 tip agent robot this allows doctors to monitor it regularly – even if they are miles away from home.

Yousef is being treated at Safra Children’s Hospital, part of the pioneering Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, Israel.

The complex is presented as the hospital of the future and an inspiring example that could help take the NHS excluding vital assistance, if we follow his example.

As young doctors strike crippling our health service, Sheba’s use of artificial intelligence, robots and remote ‘virtual hospital’ care shows how costly disruption could be avoided in the future.

Dr. Evyatar Hubara is part of the pediatric team caring for Yousef, who arrived from his home in Palestine when a heart abnormality was spotted after he was born.

First response

About 35% of patients treated here come from the West Bank and Gaza, where facilities are much more basic.

Dr Hubara told The Sun on Sunday: “Robots have been important to us since the pandemic, when we were afraid to touch patients. Now, when I’m on call at home, I can send the robot to monitor patients and act as first response in a potential emergency. I connect my computer to the robot and send it to the patient’s room. Then I can study the data on their monitor using the camera in the robot’s head.

“I can also log in and my face will appear on the screen of the robot’s head, allowing me to communicate with the patient.

“After assessing the situation, I can decide if I should drive to the hospital. This saves a tremendous amount of time and money.

“The robot can even do my rounds – checking 20 beds – while I’m at home having coffee.”

His colleague, Dr Amir Vardi, added: “The robot’s camera allows me to see some things better than I can in person, because I can zoom in.

“I can’t physically touch the patient, but it’s still a powerful tool and families are very excited about it.

“When I arrive in the morning, they rush in and say, ‘I spoke to your robot last night’.”

The Sun traveled to Tel Aviv on Sunday to see the groundbreaking developments that experts say point the way forward for healthcare.

In addition to introducing robots, Sheba bosses have integrated artificial intelligence into their radiology department, increasing the accuracy of results by 24%.

Ministers believe that such technology could save the NHS a million working days a year.

Baby Yousef is being closely watched by a state-of-the-art £60,000 tool that allows doctors to monitor him regularlyCredit: Louis Wood
Dr Evyatar, left, told The Sun on Sunday: ‘Robots have been important to us since the pandemic when we were afraid to touch patients’Credit: Louis Wood

A blueprint for our health department says “robotic automation” could handle back-office tasks up to ten times faster than humans, saving 30% of costs.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay last month announced a £21million fund to develop AI care.

Dr Adam Dubis, Associate Professor at the Global Business School for Health at University College London, said: “The potential impact on the NHS is limitless. We are well aware of the long waiting times to see the GP. Having AI-enabled assistants will help triage patients. »

British doctors are already being trained by Israeli experts.

Avner Halperin, CEO of Sheba Impact, recently visited Great Ormond Street Hospital in London to provide training.

He believes technology will eliminate the need to see doctors in person within 30 years, significantly reducing the pressure on the NHS.

Avner said: “Hospitals will be dinosaurs with most care taking place at home. Patients will only come for operations that cannot be performed remotely, such as transplants. For almost everything else, we will send sensors and robots to the patient’s home. We are already testing drones to deliver medicine, and will soon be doing home blood tests. When I visited London it was clear they were interested.

“It could take three years or even ten years to get up to speed.”

Sheba also makes the most of new technologies. It performs remote ultrasounds on pregnant women using a sensor device that they attach to their smartphone.

This saved patients with high-risk pregnancies hundreds of hours of travel time and long waits.

And the facility is set to open a “simulation building” where surgeons will practice saving lives by performing operations through virtual reality headsets.

Mica Medical, an AI system that helps doctors identify breasts, is also making progress in Israel. cancer from mammograms.

It could be introduced by NHS Scotland this year.

Michael Krichli is one of the patients benefiting from Sheba’s advances.

Five months ago he was brought back to life after suffering heart failure at home.

Later, he had a stroke and was fitted with an artificial heart.

The Israeli, from the city of Be’er Ya’akov, had just finished popping balloons on an XR Health VR headset when we spoke to him.

The game was fun but had a serious purpose: to help him regain mobility in his arms.

Aviation worker Michael, 65, said: ‘I’m so grateful because five months ago I was dead. Doctors brought me back to life with amazing technology.

His wife of 45, Sarah, 63, added: “The whole team and the technology they use is amazing. British doctors have so much to learn from these people.

Around 35% of patients treated at Sheba Medical Center come from the West Bank and GazaCredit: Louis Wood

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