Self-service medical booths to measure vital signs can help cut waiting times at clinics

Sensors built into RP Medbot can measure a patient's height and weight, while a machine takes his blood pressure. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Imagine stepping into a clinic and having your temperature, blood pressure, blood oxygen levels and body mass index taken within minutes - all without having to interact with any other human being.

Sensors built into RP Medbot - an "unmanned medical booth" developed by local tech firm Republic Power - can measure a patient's height and weight, while a machine takes his blood pressure.

This is all done without additional manpower as a video guides patients through these processes ahead of a teleconsultation session with a doctor.

Republic Power chief financial officer Edward Yoon said on Wednesday that the RP Medbot booths will also include digital stethoscopes, which can accurately measure heartbeats as well as detect conditions such as heart murmurs.

The company is seeking regulatory approval for the stethoscopes.

These devices give RP Medbot an advantage over telemedicine services such as WhiteCoat and Doctor Anywhere, he said, noting that patients often may not have such devices at home.

Having the patient conduct these screening procedures themselves with the aid of devices can also help cut down waiting times, said Mr Yoon, adding that such booths can also help address the manpower crunch in the healthcare sector.

The costs of using such a booth will be comparable to those of teleconsultation services, he added.

The company aims to launch up to 10 of the booths in areas such as Jurong and Tampines in partnership with a multinational company, adding that it is also in talks to introduce them in Malaysia and Indonesia.

The RP Medbot is one of the displays at Medical Manufacturing Asia and Medical Fair Asia, which opened on Wednesday at Sands Expo and Convention Centre.

The two exhibitions - which are being held at the same time - feature more 700 exhibitors from 50 countries and regions, with 20 companies from Singapore alone.

In her speech, Singapore Precision Engineering and Technology Association chairman Elise Hong described the Republic as "the most sought-after location for medtech companies" in Asia. She noted the presence of more than of more than 60 multinationals in the sector here.

This was due to the country's "strong design and engineering competencies", as well as robust manufacturing capabilities, she said.

Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong attended the opening ceremony for the two exhibitions.

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