MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Skypeing with your doctor, surgeons helping with life-saving operations from hundreds of miles away, and a 3-D look at your heart that you can pull up on your iPad.

Medtronic says you could see it all at a nearby hospital much sooner than you think. WCCO-TV took an exclusive tour of what Medtronic calls their “Hospital of the Future.”

In the hospital of the not-too-distant future, chances are good an electronic touchscreen table will replace your traditional coffee table during the patient/doctor chats.

Gone will be the days of images drawn on napkins or dry erase boards to explain procedures. Instead, patients will see their custom made heart in 3-D.

From that to Skype on steroids: It’s a technology that those living in remote rural areas will learn to love. Doctors will be able to communicate with their patients from remote locations thousands of miles away.

It’s not just patients who will be communicating with doctors; surgeons will be able to video teleconference surgeons from one operating room to another operating room across the country, often even in the middle of their own surgeries.

“This gives us a chance to let a very senior implanting physician consult and maybe help a less, more junior physician at another location,” said Paul Thompson, Medtronic’s director of innovation.

The Medtronic representative that specializes in the device being implanted would also be able to tune in from another remote location.

It’s technology that Medtronic hopes will gives assurance that in the future, you will be in better hands.

Thompson says several of the devices could be used at a hospital near you later this year.

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