There are times when there aren’t enough hours in the day to care for patients. It raises the question whether it is the best use of time for a trained medical professional to manually deliver items from one department to another.
In response, Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville and Wolfson Children’s Hospital are using a robot delivery system called Moxi to handle the routine jobs.
“Today, our team members spend time retrieving and gathering supplies, medicine and patient items. Moxi’s support will allow them to focus on people as opposed to tasks and on what they do best: patient care,” said Tammy Daniel, senior vice president and chief nursing officer at Baptist Health.
No one will lose a job because of Moxi, which is an additional tool for the health care team.
Moxi looks like a combination of Star Wars characters R2-D2 and C-3PO. It stands about 5 feet tall and has one arm with a gripper hand.
Its head is an LED screen with two circles that resemble eyes, which can turn into hearts. The body consists of secure drawers and compartments to carry medicine and supplies.
No special infrastructure is needed for the robot, which is programmed to navigate throughout the hospital and can recognize when an obstacle may be in its path. The arm can open any door in the facility.
Moxi will teach itself to become more familiar with its surroundings the more it is used.
It has its own Wi-Fi and uses cloud-based software.
The robot can be used to pick up and deliver medicine and lab samples. It can carry lightweight medical equipment and other materials not stocked in patient care units as well as retrieve items that have been left at the front desk for patients.
All the while the mechanical helper amuses patients and lifts spirits as it cruises through the hallways. It even poses for selfies.
Moxi was developed by Diligent Robotics, which was co-founded in 2017 by Vivian Chu, a former Google X researcher, and Andrea Thomaz, who developed Moxi while an associate professor at The University of Texas at Austin.
There are two Moxi robots in the J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Tower at Baptist Medical Center. They are in a six-month evaluation while their effectiveness will be determined.
The Reid Endowment for Technology at Baptist Health and the Miller Electric Technology Endowment at Baptist Health provided funds for the program.
“We are continually looking for innovative ways to support our team in caring for our patients, which is why I am so pleased to see this project begin,” said Michael A. Mayo, Baptist Health president and CEO, in a news release.
“Artificial intelligence combined with robotic process automation in a tool like Moxi provides a way to improve hospital functions.”