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Robots aiding hospitals could be a thing if a pilot program in Texas works out

By Cal Jeffrey · 4 replies
Oct 4, 2018
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  1. It has no verbal communication skills. However, Moxi is socially literate and can convey how it’s feeling through facial expressions. It can also wave hello at appropriate times.

    “We want to learn where nursing intersects with socially and artificially intelligent robotics in the daily processes of caring for patients and families, really investigating how this kind of technology can help nurses focus more on the direct needs of our patients by alleviating the more routine, non-clinical duties of caregivers,” Cole Edmonson with Texas Health Resources told CBS.

    Indeed, the turnover rate in nursing is high. Not only is there the day-to-day stress of patient care, but up to 30 percent of their shift can be spent fetching medical supplies. It is estimated that this equates to about 8-10 miles of running per day.

    “Nurses and other caregivers want to spend more time with their patients and on high-value work that improve outcomes at the end of the day,” said Edmonson. “By participating in this project, we are creating the future today and setting a national research agenda that will create a path forward for caregivers and robots working side by side in a human environment.”

    The robot was designed by Diligent Robotics and is being provided to the hospital as a research project. The company hopes to gain insight into the interactions between robots and humans in a clinical environment.

    “Our vision at Diligent Robotics is to enhance the relationships between people and technology, so technology supports the positive work people do,” said Diligent’s CEO and co-founder Andrea Thomaz. “We’re thrilled to pilot Moxi at Texas Health Dallas and work with their amazing team to evaluate the impact Moxi could have.”

    During the pilot program, Moxi will work alongside its “Innovation Team” from Diligent as well as nurses and doctors in a neurology and stroke unit at Texas Health. During this time the robot will be tasked with support activities assigned by the clinicians and techs.

    The pilot will occur in two phases. Phase one has already been completed. It was a one-week trial last month just to get Moxi introduced and accustomed to hospital staff. It will remember people. Phase two is a one-month hands-on evaluation beginning this month.

    If the pilot is successful, Moxi could deploy to other Texas Health facilities.

    Correction: I previously referred to Moxi as a robotic nurse. To be clear, the robot is not a nurse. That would require a degree and a license.

    According to Texas Health Resources, "Moxi is part of a research project to determine whether it can use artificial intelligence technology to autonomously fill shelves in supply rooms, set up and stock patient rooms, run labs and perform other tasks normally handled by nurses and staff."

    Apologies for any confusion.

    Permalink to story.

    Last edited: Oct 5, 2018
  2. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Evangelist Posts: 415   +288

    We are not prepared as a society for the amount of job loss that will come due to automation, artificial intelligence and robotics.
    Dimitrios likes this.
  3. dualkelly

    dualkelly TS Booster Posts: 75   +52

    This isnt exactly true it was said of the same thing when ford introduced the autoline and then robots replaced them most automation changes happen over enough time that the displaced workers an replaced by other workers elsewhere. For example dying coal industry is being replaced by an army of more skilled wind and solar workers.
    As a current RN that works in one of the largest hospitals in the country none of these robots can currently come near to replacing me. I already do the work for 3 to 4 people as most nurses do. Even lightening my load a little bit would amount to better outcomes for patients and less turn over for nurses.
    Cal Jeffrey likes this.
  4. Cal Jeffrey

    Cal Jeffrey TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 1,769   +428

    And this is exactly the intent of Moxi. It will not be replacing nurses. But menial tasks like stocking supplies and such will free up nurses and staff to do more important work.
  5. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Evangelist Posts: 415   +288

    I don't agree with you. I think we are underestimating what robots, ai, and automation are capable of. We think that they can't "act intelligently", or problem solve as well as humans. The truth is they simply can't do that stuff right this second. It's just a matter of time before they can though. The only jobs that are truly safe are jobs of expression, like making music, painting, stuff like that. Everything else is on the chopping block.

    I think that doctors could be replaced by sensors and applications for example. Cameras could analyze all manner of visual cues. It's not very hard to get and analyze vitals. Computers could compare symptoms to millions of medical records in a blink of an eye and prescribe the most accurate medications required.

    I think it's dangerous to assume that 'we'll just find other things to do'.

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