Robots put on scrubs and help out at Danish hospitals

Robots put on scrubs and help out at Danish hospitals
Photo: MiR
Sterile equipment and waste are transported around hospitals and nursing homes by small mobile robots, giving more time for patients and lower costs.

Small mobile robots from companies such as Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR) cover up to 15 kilometres each day transporting equipment, food, bed linens or other necessities at hospitals in Denmark, writes

“MiR robots can take the lift, drive down corridors alongside staff and patients, avoid obstacles and open doors on their own,” the company’s CEO Thomas Visti said.

At Zealand University Hospital, staff members at the Sterile Centre load single-use equipment and sterile instruments onto carts that are subsequently transported to the hospital by robots from MiR. 

“We free up staff resources used on transport and precious square metres on storage,” the hospital’s operations manager Johnny Petersen said.

Automatization of workflows at hospitals pays for itself in four to six years, according to Thomas Strecker Leitner, market director for hospital logistics in Scandinavia at consultancy firm Rambøll, who noted previous experience in Germany and Austria.

“The cost of healthcare in Denmark is among the highest in the world, so it makes sense to save resources while also increasing quality in the final steps of the pathway to the patient by using mobile robots instead of staff having to walk back and forth to retrieve everything from depots,” Leitner said.

At Engparken nursing home in the municipality of Ikast-Brande, MiR robot Roberta helps staff conserve time and energy and avoid heavy lifting by removing waste.

Social care worker Dorthe Marinussen said that before the nursing home acquired the robot, having to leave a ward to remove waste could be problematic.

“There are quite a few dementia patients here who can grow anxious and create conflict. Now I can be present in the ward all the time, because the robot automatically removes waste,” Marinussen said.

In total, Roberta saves staff 48 minutes of waste management in the course of a shift at Engparken nursing home.

Danish Service Industries Federation director Jakob Scharff said he was pleased that the technologies have reached a maturity and price level at which it is attractive for companies to invest.

“Service companies are always on the lookout for new ways in which to optimize and improve their service to customers. Robots, automation and new technologies are drivers for development which also improves the ability of staff to complete tasks,” Scharff said.

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