As hospitals become overburdened during the COVID-19 pandemic, their medical staffs also continue to be overworked. To combat this issue, two hospitals in Texas have employed Moxi the robot as auxiliary staff.
Moxi, the Robot.
A white, one-armed robot made by Diligent Robotics, Moxi can be found roving along the floors of Medical City Heart Hospital and Medical City Spine Hospital in Dallas. It transports PPE, COVID-19 tests, and lab samples from one place to another. It even helps deliver patient’s belongings; its wide, rounded eyes turning into hearts whenever it sees someone.
These tasks, previously assigned to nurses and other medical staff, can take up a lot of precious time. With Moxi’s help, however, staff can now completely concentrate on their patients.
Josh Kemph, COO of the two hospitals explained:
“When you add it up—I mean it could add maybe 10-15 minutes per task, and when you have Moxi running you know anywhere from 50 to 60 to 75 tasks during a shift—I mean it adds up quickly. So, yeah it’s hours and hours back to the staff,”
Andrea Thomaz, CEO of Diligent Robotics elaborated:
“When a hospital frontline worker needs to go from their unit to deliver a lab sample or run and get a piece of medication from the pharmacy… it’s a physical burden on them.” “They are leaving their unit, leaving their patient… the other nurses that are on that unit are going to have to cover for them. And this is stressful for everyone involved. And so, that’s what we’re really focused on is making sure that, you know, that clinicians get to stay in clinical care, and they don’t get interrupted from that.”
Movement has become severely restricted during the COVID-19 pandemic due to social distance protocols. Moxi helps run things along smoothly during this time and reduces the risk of COVID-19 exposure to medical staff.
“The day-to-day work in the hospital has changed where patients are located, what supplies need to get where,” said Thomaz. “Moxi carrying things from place to place—you have fewer people moving around between spaces.”
But how do they keep Moxi running?
Diligent can upgrade and service Moxi remotely. They can even add to its task database to ensure smooth workflow at the hospitals.
A Welcome Addition
Kemph does not see Moxi as a temporary solution. It is here to stay, and it’s not replacing anyone. In fact, he says, everyone knows Moxi and treats it as a friend.
After all, who wouldn’t want to be friends with a helpful robot whose eyes turn into hearts when it recognizes you?