‘Stevie’ the robot to help with patient care at Steve Biko Hospital

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Stevie the robot will be helping to manage care of patients in ICU at the Steve Biko Hospital. Pictured (from left) with the robot are Dr Mathabo Mathebula, CEO Steve Biko Academic Hospital (SBAH); Prof Tiaan de Jager, dean: faculty of health sciences at UP; Prof Robin Green, chairperson of the School of Medicine at UP; and Prof Fathima Paruk, academic and clinical head of the department of critical care at UP and SBAH.
Stevie the robot will be helping to manage care of patients in ICU at the Steve Biko Hospital. Pictured (from left) with the robot are Dr Mathabo Mathebula, CEO Steve Biko Academic Hospital (SBAH); Prof Tiaan de Jager, dean: faculty of health sciences at UP; Prof Robin Green, chairperson of the School of Medicine at UP; and Prof Fathima Paruk, academic and clinical head of the department of critical care at UP and SBAH.

A mobile robot, called Stevie, is helping to improve the treatment of patients during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Named after Steve Biko, the robot works in the Steve Biko Academic Hospital’s intensive care unit and will help medical teams in South Africa to communicate with ICU teams in Germany.

“Stevie is now officially the much adored baby of our ICU team and is stimulating much excitement throughout the hospital.”
Professor Fathima Paruk

Academic and clinical head of the department of critical care at the University of Pretoria (UP) and Steve Biko Academic Hospital Professor Fathima Paruk said Stevie is the second robot to be employed by UP, following Libby, the robotic library assistant who arrived in 2019.

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“Stevie is now officially the much adored baby of our ICU team and is stimulating much excitement throughout the hospital,” Paruk added.

Stevie has a privacy handset, a live phone to aid confidential communication during ward rounds.

“ICU specialists and their teams based in Germany at Charite University and Robert Koch Institute will join the South African ICU team in person through the robot’s digital screen.”
Professor Fathima Paruk

The robot also has a stethoscope port, which can remotely relay information while a patient is being examined, and enables visualisation of detail for close-up diagnosis and patient care oversight with high-definition pan-tilt-zoom cameras. “ICU specialists and their teams based in Germany at Charite University and Robert Koch Institute will join the South African ICU team in person through the robot’s digital screen,” Paruk said.

“Both the South African and German teams, led by ICU specialists, will be able to interact virtually.

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“This will enable the team from Germany to see the patient, look at the ICU monitors, and engage in discussions with patients. The ward round will involve discussing the medical condition and include a management plan over a secure line.”

Stevie will be used for the benefit of all ICU patients, including those with Covid-19, as well as for exchanging of ideas, specialist training, global collaborations, webinars and educational workshops, especially for highly selective or niche specialties in critical care.

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