Starlight and Astellas USA Foundation Bring VGo Robots to MassGeneral Hospital for Children
Connecting patients, families and communities through innovative robot technology
BOSTON – Starlight Children’s Foundation and Astellas USA Foundation are partnering to advance children’s health and education through technology with the placement of three VGo robots at MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston. Hospital staff and representatives from Astellas USA Foundation and Starlight gathered at the facility today to unveil and celebrate the new technology.
VGo robots offer hospitalized children the convenience and ease of telecommuting into a school or health care setting. Remote control access with 2-way audio-video motorized mobility puts students with injuries, extended illnesses and other physical challenges back in the classroom, and gives doctors, nurses and child life staff the ability to care for patients over long distances. VGo robots allow users to easily move about in real-time through the school or hospital environment by means of a laptop or handheld remote control.
The VGo robots are funded as part of a $250,000 grant from Astellas USA Foundation that will transform the quality of life for thousands of patients and staff every year at Starlight community partners across the nation including MassGeneral Hospital for Children and Brigham Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Boston.
“As technology advances, the opportunity for our patients to stay involved in their classroom communities and at home increases,” said Brian Grottkau, MD, chief of Children’s Orthopaedics at MassGeneral Hospital for Children. “These tools allow kids to just be kids during their treatment and can ease the stresses of hospitalization and long term recovery.”
Remote controlled through a laptop, iPad or iPhone, VGo robots allow a patient or a doctor to navigate and interact with people in a different location. VGo is uniquely integrated with a camera, microphones and a video display – all on a light-weight, motorized and stylish platform. VGo robots are optimized at 4 feet tall so they work equally well when interacting with people who are sitting or standing.
“Astellas USA Foundation supports innovative ways to positively impact patients and their families,” said Jeff Winton, president of the Astellas USA Foundation. “Through our work with Starlight Children’s Foundation and VGo robots, we are giving hospitalized children a chance to experience the classroom alongside their peers.”
“Children who experience critical, chronic or terminal illnesses often feel isolated from their families and friends,” said Amy Stillion, Senior Director, Global Impact & Philanthropy of Starlight Children’s Foundation. “Thanks to this generous donation from Astellas USA Foundation, children and families in Boston and in other communities across the nation are able to connect with each other using innovative VGo robots, even across great distances.”
In 2016, Astellas USA Foundation is funding the placement of 22 VGo robots in 13 Starlight community partners’ locations in Massachusetts, Illinois, Oklahoma and California. Previous support from Astellas USA Foundation to Starlight has funded the renovation of two state-of-the-art, family-friendly healing environments – a pediatric dialysis unit in Oklahoma City and teen lounge in Chicago – both of which opened earlier this year.
VGo was founded by veterans of visual communications and robotics industries who invented a simple and secure solution to enable a person in a distant location to replicate themselves in another location. VGo was acquired in 2015 by Vecna, a leader in autonomous logistics and IT solutions for healthcare.
About Astellas USA Foundation
Astellas USA Foundation is a tax-exempt, nonprofit corporate foundation that awards grants to support charitable, scientific, literary and educational programs. Learn more at www.astellasusafoundation.org.
About Starlight Children’s Foundation
Starlight is on a mission to improve quality of life for children, families and communities. We harness the power of giving to advance children’s health through a global network of community partners. Starlight supports kids and families in 11 countries and territories around the world. Learn more at www.starlight.org and follow Starlight on Instagram and Facebook at /StarlightChildrensFoundation and on Twitter @StarlightOnline.