The future is here: how robots are shaping the health care industry

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Remote health services soared during the pandemic, when patients avoided offices.Many states already have extended temporary telehealth measures that were set to expire.Bills pending in state legislatures would allow more services to be provided virtually or mandate that insurers cover them.More than two dozen states also have made permanent some telehealth coverage requirements for private insurers.Many in health care insist the service has proved its value in complementing in-person care

What if the next time you stepped into a hospital, a robot stood alongside your nurse?

Robots could provide a solution that eases some of the stress put on the health care system due to the pandemic.

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According to Intel, health care systems have increased the use of robots in hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic to minimize exposure to the virus among nurses. Responsible for a number of tasks, robots deliver food and drugs, check a patient’s vitals and disinfect spaces.

Elberton Memorial Hospital in Elberton, Georgia, has two sanitizing robots that use UV Light to deactivate coronavirus and other pathogens in two minutes, according to Business Wire. These robots can disinfect an entire room in less than 15 minutes allowing for a faster turnover in rooms and giving nurses more time to attend to other patients.

Robots are not only used in clinical settings but, they are also found to be resourceful in nursing homes.

Stevie the robot was introduced to Knollwood Military Retirement Community in Washington, D.C. where the robot would lead bingo games or trivia nights at the retirement home. The robot patrols hallways to make sure there aren’t any wandering residents, performs routine cleaning duties and can speak in multiple languages, displaying subtitles on its screen.

Robots are used to support nurses and are not intended to replace them.

“It’s a force multiplier for care staff,” said Connor McGinn, one of the engineers behind Stevie. “It’s not to replace people, but it’s to augment how people care for people.”

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A Texas-based company, Diligent Robotics, created the Moxi robot to help nursing staff with tasks that do not require meeting patients. First brought to Shannon Medical Center in San Angelo, Texas, Moxi assists with distributing PPE, delivering medications and lab samples and running patient supplies in hospitals.

According to nurse.org, the founders of Diligent Robotics found that nurses spend 30% of their time gathering supplies. This takes away from patient care, so the robot Moxi was then created.

Shannon Medical Center Director of Innovation, Steven Short told FOX West Texas that the robot will increase staff satisfaction and will be, “(a) time saver for our nurses and allow them to spend more time caring for our patients which is what we want our nurses to do.”

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