Hospitals are generally short of health care workers, negatively affecting the working conditions for the workers and the quality of the care for the patients. When a health care worker leaves a patient to get equipment, linen etc. the time for care is reduced. This creates a need for the health care workers to have the equipment right at hand, so they can stay with the patient.
Based on knowledge and experience from previous projects, the aim of the MoreCare project was to develop a mobile service robot that could bring equipment etc. from local depots to the patient wards. The health care workers should be able to call the robot via a smartphone, in order for the robot to be ready with the equipment at the patient ward when the health care worker needs it. The robot was developed and qualified at the hospital and in cooperation with the health care workers who should use the robot and ensure the daily performance of it.
Many hospitals are already using Mobile Service Robots (MSR) for the transportation of products for example in basements and other locations without patients, relatives or staff without knowledge of robots. But in clinical departments, MSRs are used in a very limited extent even though there is a big potential for supporting the health care workers and service workers in their daily work, by releasing time for the main task.
The limited use of MSRs in the clinical departments is mainly caused by high requirements for interaction, interface and handling of emergencies, hygiene etc.
The covid-19 situation made testing of the robot more difficult, and so it was not tested to the desired extent. But the personnel still estimate that the robot can be beneficial when put to correct use, especially for decreasing disturbances in their workday.
The testing of the robot has also indirectly brought rewards to the department, as exemplified by the personnel now having a greater focus on keeping corridors and depots tidy, a necessity for the robot to work. The department has also been through a process gave rise to rethinking the use of available rooms.
Another reward is that the work with the robot has been an occasion for introducing more standard procedures for the health care workers, as the project has demanded a discussion of how the individual worker performs a given task, with regard to standardization and which equipment the robot should deliver.
The project has resulted in great knowledge on the practical conditions when using robots on a clinical department. This includes hygiene standards, fire standards and the way patients, relatives and personnel move around on the department, which will all be of great value in future robot projects.
Start: July 2019
End: December 2020
The project was funded by the OUH Innovation Fund.