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Rise of the robots: Hospital’s automated technology featured on ’60 Minutes’

Photo By: screenshot courtesy of El Camino Hospital
Photo Screenshot Courtesy Of El Camino Hospital

A CBS production crew filmed El Camino Hospital surgeons using the da Vinci Surgical System for a 󈬬 Minutes” segment on robotics in the workplace.

El Camino Hospital was on the receiving end of some national airtime recently.

CBS’ “60 Minutes” Jan. 13 featured the Mountain View hospital’s use of robots as part of a larger report exploring the emerging use of robotic technology in the workplace and its effects on job growth.

The report – “March of the Machines” – specifically emphasized the hospital’s TUG Automated Robotic Delivery System. According to Chris Ernst, vice president of marketing and corporate communications, the hospital uses TUG robots to assist nurses in the scheduled delivery of medications and to transport linens, supplies and meals, while also removing trash and dining trays.

While the segment focused on the field of robotics’ potential impact on job creation, El Camino Hospital Chief Information Officer Greg Walton told “60 Minutes” reporter Steve Kroft that the hospital’s use of robots is meant to supplement the work of nurses and hospital staff, not replace them.

The segment also featured the hospital’s use of the VGo robot, which serves as a two-way video communication system that allows doctors and nurses to check in on patients from a remote location.

The hospital’s da Vinci Surgical System also made a cameo appearance on the nationally aired show, which came on the heels of a December announcement by the hospital that it performed its 500th robotic surgery in 2012. The surgical system, according to hospital officials, allows surgeons to perform uterine, prostate, lung and kidney procedures in a minimally invasive manner.

Ernst told the Town Crier that the “60 Minutes” crew spent an entire day in late August filming at the hospital. Since the program aired, Ernst said the hospital has received numerous inquiries about its use of various robots in services and surgical procedures.

“We’ve been getting calls from around the U.S., with people saying, ‘I can’t believe I saw you on ‘60 Minutes,’’” she said. “It’s awesome. I’m really pleased.”

To view the “60 Minutes” segment, visit www.cbsnews.com/60-minutes.

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