What will hospitals look like in the next generation? If they start following in the footsteps of Seton Medical Center in Austin, you may see more robots lending a helping hand, literally.
The hospital staff introduced ‘Poli’ to KVUE News. She can talk, answer questions and walk on her own. She's an assistant, whose job title is “Hospital Service Robot.”
She is being trained to do the following:
- Assemble and deliver supply kits to a specific unit
- Find IV Poles and make safety rounds
- Check maintenance stickers on hospital equipment...
“We want nurses to be telling us everything that’s keeping them away from having direct patient care. That’s some of the things we want to think about automating,” said Andrea Thomaz, Diligent Droids CEO.
Seton Healthcare Family teamed up with the robotics company, Diligent Droids to study how robots can be used to support hospital staff in a non-clinical capacity.
"We're not doing direct patient care, we really want to help nurses find more time to be doing direct patient care,” said Thomaz, “Our robots don't go into patient rooms, we're doing everything outside of the rooms."
While the developers are still working out the kinks, the nurses hope the robot will leave them with more time to concentrate on doing their favorite part of the job, which is directly caring for the patients.
"When you're talking to somebody, you want them to just be able to focus on you, or whatever activity the nurse might be doing with the patient,” said Jessica Meinhardt, Seton Nurse. "That then frees us up time to go see our other patients, while we're waiting for new patients to come to the floor."
There have been talks of all different kinds of robots in the works -- such as robot farmers, or weaponized robots in the near future.
As for Poli, she's expected to start helping out with simple tasks around the hospital, starting next year.