Revolve Robotics and Swymed have collaborated to create a HIPAA compliant telepresence device called Kubi that can stream medical data. This compliance is a big deal: no longer do MDs have to rely only upon what they see, or think they see, to make a diagnosis; they can use data streaming directly to the app to help make decisions. In smaller rural hospitals or even in ambulances, where a specialist cannot be physically there, this is going to be the best alternative.
HIPAA compliance means that medical data can be streamed. A simple MD telepresence consult, which is similar to a telephone call, would not require this type of certification. But once you start implementing data, you enter into a new realm or regulations. While the RP-Vita by iRobot / inTouch Health has HIPAA compliance as well, many hospitals cannot afford or implement such a full blown solution. I did a test drive back when Kubi was released and it was very easy to operate.
While there are other telemedicine apps out there that provide consultations, like Teledoc or Doctor on Demand, Kubi can further enhance those visits by allowing MDs to engage and look around, rather than relying on the patient to hold or move the device for them.
There are certainly obstacles to such devices coming into wide use, particularly around what can actually be charged as service, and how an MD will get reimbursed. These will likely be solved by lawmakers seeking to use technology to reduce costs and save budgets.
Kubi was developed by Revolve back in 2012 and initially funded through an Indiegogo campaign.