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Vince the Robot Helps Stroke Patients At Providence

By Sharon Ko

MEDFORD, Ore. — For stroke patients every minute counts. In 16 locations across Oregon, including in the Rogue Valley, hospitals use a special machine that doctor’s say is helping stroke patients get the best medication and treatment.

An unfamiliar machine has landed at Providence Medford Medical Center. With symbols and it’s odd shape, the machine looks like an alien. Meet Vince: a telestroke robot. Providence hospital has neurologists, but they’re not there around the clock; that’s where Vince comes in.

Vince is a two-way video conferencing system where neurologists in Portland control the machine with a joystick or computer. The robot comes in handy for the Rogue Valley.

In 2011, emergency responders helped over 400 patients who were having strokes. Vince helped with about half of those cases. With the robot’s help, doctors were able to prescribe a specific medication.

Vince isn’t only used for stroke patients, but also in the critical care unit. Rogue Valley Medical Center also has a similar robot like Vince. The hospital works with neurologists at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland.