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LAKE ST. LOUIS, Mo. – A iPad on a stick with wheels is assisting doctors at SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital in Lake St. Louis treat coronavirus patients.

The Double 2 Telepresence Robot was originally designed to allow the user to quickly cover larger distances in schools and businesses. Since many schools and businesses are closed now, a vendor who rents the robots had a fleet of unused Double 2s.

That vendor, Technology One Services of Georgia, is allowing the hospital to use the robots free of charge.

“I think a lot of hospitals in general in America are struggling with how are we going to get providers to see all of these really sick patients when we only have so many resources, so when Becky came up with this idea, I thought it was fantastic,” said Dr. David Uhls, an ICU physician at SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital.

Critical care nurse Becky Dosenbach came up with the idea. The robot is also used by family members to communicate with a loved at end of life moments.

“So, with the robot, it was nice to able to visualize the family could see the nurse at bedside, holding the family member’s hand, still being there talking with them, so an intimate moment,” she said.

The robot gives doctors, nurses, and other hospital workers a valuable tool to have a virtual conversation with a patient without risking exposure to the coronavirus and conserves precious personal protection equipment.

“I think the biggest thing we’ve used it for now is reducing the PPE; that’s huge. But I can still evaluate the patient and I can look at all the settings on the monitors and on the ventilator,” Uhls said.