Understaffing is a common problem in hospitals. Hospital logistics is time-consuming for the nursing staff, but this can be done in a better way.
Hospital robots are already being used, but these are for example specialist surgical robots, such as the Da Vinci robot or social robots. But there are plenty of repetitive tasks in healthcare institutions that can be automated using cobots and AMRs (Autonomous Mobile Robots).
Cobots are robot arms that can work with and alongside people. Their force and speed are limited, so that their routine can be stopped by hand. Because they were made to work with people, they were also developed to be handled by the operators who work with them. The cobots can be controlled via a graphical interface. You don’t need a long course or an expensive robot programmer to teach them a task.
AMRs are self-propelled, flat carts. They map the area in which they are driving by using cameras and sensors. These also prevent them from driving into obstacles and let them take an alternative route to their destination when necessary. AMRs communicate among other things through Wi-Fi, which enables them to open doors and to call lifts. With different types of top modules they can transport a variety of goods throughout a building.: e.g. meals, incl. collecting used trays, medicines, tests, but they can also collect the laundry or clean linen.
Cobots in a hospital laboratory
Two UR5 cobots optimise the handling and sorting of blood samples for analysis in the University Hospital of Copenhagen in Gentofte. The application enables the laboratory to produce more than 90% of the results within 1 hour, in spite of an increase of 20% in samples to be analysed.
Cobots en AMRs take over tasks from healthcare staff, so that they have more time to interact with patients or to carry out work with more added value.
Several tasks that are carried out within healthcare institutions can be automated. The sterilisation of machines and medical instruments is of vital importance. A cobot prevents contamination. That is why it is better to let these instruments be handled by cobots instead of by people. A cobot can unload a sterilisation machine or autoclave and subsequently pack the instruments.
Another example is sorting, preparing and packing medication. The risk of human error is diminished significantly, because cobots always carry out the same routine without tiring or being distracted.
Our cobots do not perform surgeries, but they can assist! For example, a Universal Robots cobot is being used to assist a surgeon during surgery. How? A microscope, mounted on the cobot, sends the image to a monitor, so that the surgeon doesn’t have to bend and twist in all directions.
Do you have an idea for automating a task in your healthcare institution? Contact us, so we can put it to the test (and add it to this list).