Hutchinson Health Clinic Premieres New Robot Assistant
Inside the Hutchinson Health Clinic, a robot is going into overdrive to help staff receive and deliver samples.
Following a two year process that involved a proposal to the Patient Family Advisory Council (PFAC), visitors and physicians agreed an extra set of wheels would be beneficial.
Last week, the new transportation unit officially got its start, making it the only transportation gadget in the Midwest to be used in a healthcare setting.
Although the machine hasn't worked here long, it has received quite a response.
Laboratory manager Laura Templin-Howk said "It's been really fun. To be able to see the reaction, of course there is a lot of buzz going on. A lot of excitement, little kids will run up and hug it. Some of the older patients are a little afraid of it."
When staff need specimens brought to the lab, a request is made and sent to the robot.
Using its internal mapping software, the machine maneuvers its way through the clinic to pick up its delivery.
Once samples have been dropped in, it makes its way back toward the lab, making for a more efficient process of shipment.
Phlebotomist Meghan Doll said "It saves a person having to run back and forth, running the specimens. It helps with turnaround times as well. We're able to get the specimens to the lab tested. It's faster than having them hangout and wait for someone to have to run them over to the hospital lab."
The four foot tall device makes more than 50 trips per day, allowing its human coworkers to focus on drawing blood and working with patients.
On June 29th, the clinic robot will extend its route to the newly constructed oncology department across the campus, which would normally be a ten minute walk roundtrip.
Using a Wi–Fi connection, it will also use the elevator to make trips to and from the cancer center downstairs.
The machine so far doesn't have a name, but community members have aided in that process suggesting more than 250 potential labels.
Lab staff have narrowed it down the list of names to five:
Spencer (Specimen + Dispenser)
DAVE (Delivering A Valuable Element)
B.O.B. (Blood On Board)
A decision is scheduled to be made on Tuesday along with dressing up the robot with a jacket as well as branding partners logos across the body.
To keep up with the clinic's newest addition, you can visit Hutchinson Health's Facebook page.
- KEYC NEWS 12