Patients stepping through the doors of Humber River Hospital in Toronto, Canada will not only interact with health professionals, but automated robots that are programmed to complete a variety of tasks.
Touting itself as the first fully digital hospital, Humber River Hospital opened its doors to the public this week. Its automated robots are being used for everything from delivering medical supplies and food to patients, to preparing and administering chemotherapy drugs.
The robots moving medical supplies are designed to pick up carts, call an elevator, and deliver them to the appropriate place. They will then go back to their base to continue making rounds.
“When you’re talking about a building at 1.8-million square feet, and we have to get supplies up 13 floors, you need to start looking for ways to do that other than people pushing carts of supplies,” Humber River Hospital CEO Barb Collins told CTV News.
The robots assisting with delivering chemotherapy medication will receive an order of the drugs that need to be mixed as the physician enters it into the chart. The robots will then check the dose and the patient’s previous medical doses before mixing the drugs.
The benefit of having robots deliver chemotherapy drugs instead of humans is that the medication is “quite toxic,” meaning that if they were ever accidentally spilled, entire chemotherapy areas sometimes had to be shut down to protect the staff, Collins said in the video.
“This will not happen because it’s all internal, it’s mixed properly, checks the dose, checks the weight of the patient, and then actually delivers out a complete bag of product for that patient,” she said.
The chemotherapy bags are printed with the same barcode worn on the intended patient’s medical wristband to ensure the drugs are administered to the right person.
There are also robots in the radiology suite that will move around the patient to take scans, rather than making the patient contort their body into difficult positions.
All rooms in the hospital have a touchpad system where patients can access their electronic health record, order food, Skype, and either read books or have them read aloud.
“I never could have dreamed of it 40 years ago when I got into nursing,” Collins said of the hospital’s innovative technology.
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