Health Headlines: Robots being tested to assist with nurse shortage

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Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 8:32 AM CST
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - The world is dealing with a nursing crisis. Currently, two out of three nurses in the US say they are considering leaving the profession. This comes as the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reports we will need 200-thousand more nurses in the next ten years.

Between burnout, retirement, and a growing aging population, there may not be enough nurses to handle the rising demand. One answer may be robots. Not to replace RNs but to help them in tasks that take their time away from patients. One of them is Moxi, a robot that may fast become a nurse’s new best friend.

From retrieving supplies, delivering food, and running for meds, Moxi is paving the way for robots in healthcare.

Aaron Miri, Chief Digital and Information Officer at Baptist Health explains, “We can’t just churn out more nurses and the demand is off the charts right now. So, how do you enable them to work smarter and not harder? So, Moxi is the quickest way to be able to do that.”

Moxi uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to roam halls and navigate people. Equipped with three locked drawers and an automated arm.

“Moxi is gonna be going to pharmacy and dietary to get food and supplements, medications for our clinical team to give to the patients so they don’t have to leave the area where they’re working,” says Tammy Daniel, DNP, Baptist Health.

Recent studies show that nurses spend at least an hour a shift tracking down equipment. That’s where Moxi is making the biggest impact in hospitals like Baptist Health.

Daniel says, “When we walked just yesterday on the path that Moxi will go from pharmacy, it took about 15 minutes. So, when you multiply that by multiple times a day and then multiple times a week. That’s more time spent with the patient, more time doing what we need to do for not only the patient but our family members as well.”

Right now, Moxi is in 100 hospitals throughout the country, but there is concern robots may replace humans. A survey of nurses who worked with delivery robots found that roughly half worry that robots represent a threat to their jobs.

Gregg Springan of Diligent Robotics explains, “Every organization is looking at how they can best utilize the human staff that they have. Moxi can’t really replace the human touch.”

Right now, robots in healthcare are only utilized for repetitive, time-consuming tasks, without patient interaction. And experts believe robots roaming the halls may be one of many solutions to a growing healthcare crisis.

MIRI says, “Put it this way, if Tesla made such an impact in the community by having autonomous cars, why can’t autonomous robots be the same effect for healthcare?”

At Cedars Sinai, within six weeks of the initial implementation, Moxi saved clinical teams nearly 300 miles of walking.

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer and Editor.