Robots in hospitals can be quite handy. For example, the one you can see in this picture. He is holding a bag and looks quite cute, but his main skill is the ability to navigate around the hospital. So he can help patients to find their way to the needed place, as well as carry some stuff around.
Of course, there are some more serious robots in hospitals too. I am talking about surgical robots, but this article is focused on machines that can ease the day-to-day work in a hospital. So, if you are interested in surgical robots you should check out my article on surgical robots.
OK, back to diligent hospital workers. I like to divide everything into types, categories, sections and so on. This article is not an exception. I will try to shed some light on robots in hospitals by discussing, more or less separately, the different kinds of robots that operate (or will operate) in hospitals.
You guessed right, they carry stuff around. Or at least carry themselves around the hospital. The main task of this kind of robots is to find their way around the hospital in order to carry stuff around or to work as a guide.The japanese robot in the first picture also falls into this type.
The concept of courier robots in hospitals is not very new. For example, the HelpMate that you can see in the picture to the left was developed and started to operate in the 90-ties, 20th century. A HelpMate can carry around x-ray images, food, medication and other stuff.
There is, for example, McKesson ROBOT-Rx. It is a robotic system intended for automated medication processing. It automates medication storage, selection, return, restock and crediting functions.
As the McKesson website states, more than 1/3 of all hospitals in North America use their robotic system. So it is quite widespread. That is not without a reason. Hospitals can reduce errors and costs, as well as enhance productivity by using this robot.
Again, don’t be confused by the way it sounds. Robots in hospitals can’t replace doctors at least not at the moment. The robotic doctors I am talking about are actually tools to extend the capabilities of a doctor. In this case – his presence. Look at the picture below.
The robot you can see in this picture is RP-7 made by InTouch Health. As you can see, the doctor can examine the patient from entirely another location hence its name – RP-7 this stands for Remote Presence 7. This telerobotics application can be invaluable in an emergency situation when every second counts.
The same way robots can enhance the productivity of a manufacturing environment, they can also help to reduce costs and achieve better level of productivity in hospitals. Yet, there are still many things to do in this field. Although it could be available in future to fully robotize a hospital, the question remains – should it be done.