Hospital robots bolstering nurses energy, time

Hospital robots have been developed to carry out certain tasks that have saved nurses time, Wired reported April 19.

According to the report, two Moxi robots, designed to transport medications, bed linens, food and laboratory specimens from floor to floor, began operating in the halls of Fredericksburg, Va.-based Mary Washington Hospital in February, and they've given workers back about 600 hours of time.

Moxi, which can be hailed by nurses from kiosks at nursing stations or sent a task via text message, has helped nurses save time by fetching or transporting items that are too big to fit into a tube system, like IV pumps. 

An American Nurses Association supported a case study that assessed Moxi trials at Texas hospitals. Afterwards, nurses were surveyed about their experience with the robot. 

The study found that a majority of nurses said Moxi gave them more time to talk with patients being discharged from the hospital, saved them energy, brought joy to patients and their families and ensured that patients always had water when it was time for them to take their medication. 

"I could do it faster, but it's better for Moxi to do it so I can do something else more useful," said one of the nurses surveyed in the case study.

But not all feedback was positive. Some nurses complained that Moxi had trouble maneuvering through cramped halls during the morning rush or anticipating needs by accessing EHRs.

The creator of Moxi, Diligent Robotics, announced that it is working to integrate Moxi's software with EHRs so the robots can carry out tasks without the need for a nurse or physician to make a request.

About 15 Moxi robots are now operational in U.S. hospitals, including two at Cedars-Sinai, with another 60 scheduled to deploy in 2022.

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