As a way to offload and provide relief to their current hospital staff, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center integrates 3 TUG robots into its workforce to help deliver medication from its pharmacy to inpatient units. The deployment of the TUG robots came just in time for Dartmouth’s newly opened Patient Pavilion, which will allow the hospital to take in more patients under its care.
The TUG robots were manufactured by Aethon and are intended to be used as mobile robots for healthcare. Aside from being able to deliver medications, the TUG robots are also capable of carrying meals, linens, and other medical supplies that previous employees were tasked to sort out. With the integration of the TUG robots, employees and staff can now focus on patient care and more pressing work that requires their time, attention, and skills.
“We have the opportunity to bring in these types of robots, which will replace that function so that we can have our technician doing higher level, more complex work”, says Robert Maloney, Director of Inpatient Pharmacy at Dartmouth Hitchcock. He also noted how the TUG robots were an added relief concerning the national issue of hiring and laboring shortages, especially within pharmacy departments.
The effectiveness and navigation accuracy of the TUG robots are also no problem for the staff. The TUG robots finished the mapping phases since their arrival in June and can now autonomously navigate around the pavilion, avoid bumping into people, and travel across multi-levels. The work will also be divided among the TUG robots with two making hourly deliveries along a set route and one robot tasked to take on more urgent demands of medications coming from pharmacy technicians themselves.
Waiting for the TUG robots will also not be an issue as these bots can travel at a speed of 30 inches per second and have a 10-hour-long battery life. Once the robots have reached their destination, the nursing staff will be alerted so they may log into the robot to retrieve the items delivered that were kept safely inside the robot’s built-in drawers.
As of writing, Dartmouth Hitchcock is the first medical center in New Hampshire to integrate TUG robots into their workflow. However, with positive results so far, seeing more robots incorporated into other hospitals and medical facilities may soon happen.