‘RoboNurse’ to relieve nurses and staff of hospital: Report
According to Aethon, one of the companies making RoboNurse or TUG, more than 100 hospitals in United States have found these robots very useful for transporting medical equipment, blood samples, meal trays, linens and other supplies along with medications.
What they do
These TUGs are programmed with a map of the hospital for proper functioning. They can sound like a doorbell to alert others and can "push the button" to reach the floor they wish. They also have infrared and laser sensors as well as on board sonar to avoid running into anything.
Staff can keep a close eye on the movements of the TUGs through a monitor placed just besides the battery-charging stations in the hospital.
It can be a relief for technicians from the delivery business. "It seemed like a non-productive use of their time," says pharmacy Director Jay Barbaccia of Washington Hospital Center. "We wanted to have the tech staff perform more of a supportive role for nursing."
Reactions of hospital staff
Deborah Templeton, vice president of supply chain services for Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pa, informs that there are five TUGs at the Geisinger Medical Center.
Each of those five robots is efficient enough to cover approximately 2-4 miles per day and make more or less 17 deliveries as well as other tasks including supply of small equipment and medications throughout the hospital.
"These are routine tasks. The robot doesn't get bored doing them. To put people in these routine jobs, sometimes that gets a little monotonous”, she added.
According to Shawn Goldrick, head of patient support services at Children's Hospital Boston, food service employees can communicate more with patients and their families now as the tasks such as heavy lifting and pulling meal carts from the kitchen to patient floors have been taken over by six TUGs, arranged like trains and programmed to say "choo-choo".
Director of the American Nurses Association's Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, Nancy Hughes who also worked at Geisinger at the time of its first TUG lease, says, "We'd be all for anything that makes life easier for nurses, particularly when you need supplies. If you can keep the health care workers at the bedside delivering the human touch, I think that's a great thing."