The Headlines

Israel’s Sheba Medical Center Develops World’s First Coronavirus Telemedicine Program

RAMAT GAN, Israel — As fears of the growing coronavirus endemic increase worldwide, Israel’s Sheba Medical Center, Tel HaShomer – the largest hospital in the Middle East – has developed a groundbreaking way to treat potential coronavirus patients without risking the health of hospital staff and other patients.

Using a Vici telemedicine system, designed by virtual healthcare company Intouch Health, the robot-like apparatus can be controlled by doctors and nurses to enter the infected patient’s room and even monitor the patient’s vital signs, such as heart rate.

“This is one way to use telemedicine to protect our staff,” said Dr. Galia Barkai, head of Telemedicine Services at Sheba Medical Center. “By minimizing direct contact between the patients and medical personnel, we reduce the percentage risk of healthcare staff contracting the virus.”

While coronavirus has not yet spread to Israel, Sheba is also prepared with a number of isolation rooms in case multiple patients are infected at the same time in an effort to protect staff and other patients from risk of infection.

“Although we don’t have any positive patients in Israel, we are always dealing with suspected patients and preparing for the worst-case scenario,” Dr. Barkai said. “So, we are creating all these systems to help us deal with the occasion when we might have to deal with many patients.”

Sheba will also be using the telemedicine application Datos to help treat coronavirus patients who are not as critically ill. This application allows medical professionals to monitor patients from the comfort and isolation of their own homes.

“We would give them our telemedicine application and communicate with them via video at least twice a day,” Dr. Barkai said. “This would allow them to stay more comfortably in their homes and reduce risk within the hospital.”

For more information on Sheba’s groundbreaking use of telemedicine to prepare for coronavirus patients, contact Adina Pollak at

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