A fleet of transport robots arrives at Upstate Medical University

Hospitals are always reasonably busy with nurses caring for multiple patients. Now, Upstate University Hospital and its adjacent Upstate Cancer Center have new technology to ease the workload. You could call him a co-worker who has multiple assignments to move slowly but safely through the hospital floors at 30 inches per second. They are not very talkative but, they will announce the most important thing upon arrival, (Robot voice) “Your order has arrived!”

It’s a robot known as TUG and is 4ft tall by 2ft wide and will carry prescriptions, for now, in secure drawers. The 14-person fleet is already starting to turn heads as they ride up and down elevators. Yes, with advanced sensors, robots are becoming quite independent these days. CEO Dr Robert Corona said the scheduling of their routes would be handled weekly by 20 different hospital departments.

“We asked our system engineers to map out what a nurse does, for example, run to get sheets, syringe, supplies. Now the nurse stays at the bedside. All of this is recorded by the robot doing the work .”

Then go to the next adjacent nursing station, pharmacy or cancer center. Following the initial implementation, the hospital hopes to program the TUGS to also carry linens, meals and medical supplies in its tightly locked drawers. So what’s the next step?

“We actually have robots that look like animals, four-legged dogs. They can climb the stairs so they don’t have to use the elevator. We have two of these robots coming.

Transport bot usage in Upstate will likely increase and should free up even more time as tasks are added; so that nurses can maximize the time spent with patients.

Lillian L. Pena