Pertexa Health Care is looking to develop and manufacture a telemedicine robot in Eastern Kern County. Pertexa was formed in 2005 as a response to the growing need for healthcare software technology in the areas of r evenue management, electronic
healthcare records, and business intelligence. The company is combining its software technology roots with the fast growing field of robotics, in order to address the demand for telemedicine, one of the fastest growing sectors in healthcare. Demand for telemedicine is driven by our aging population, increased healthcare costs, advances in technology and telecommunications and a shortage of primary care physicians in the US. There are an estimated 30 physicians per 100,000 people in the U.S. In contrast, the United Kingdom has 80 and Germany has 150.
Most telemedicine systems today involve a cart that is pushed into consulting rooms and require time-consuming setup. What Robo-Doc Pertexa proposes to manufacture and distribute nationwide would be a remote-controlled robotic device, with a touch screen connecting the patient to a physician command center. It would facilitate providing a specialist’s care even in rural areas. Pertexa received an $875,000 industrial development grant from the City of Ridgecrest to help the company develop and build its Robo-Doc in Ridgecrest and establish a technical-support call center in the city.
Assuming the company achieves just a 5 percent share of the telemedicine market, it “will equal $7 billion in revenue. Jobs by the dozen.” according to Pertexa CEO Kishor Joshi. Pertexa is working with local jobs agencies and Cerro Coso Community College to train a workforce to manufacture, distribute and provide technical support for the Robo-Doc. Local hospitals and medical groups are assisting with development. Pertexa’s Joshi explained that his project is expected to create at least 550 semi-skilled jobs in assembly, support, call center and administration in the next five years here in California. Most jobs will pay between $15 and $25 per hour, with a few paying in the $40 to $150 range.