An essential key industry in the fight against Corona: Why innovative service robotics should be included in the new legislation for the future of hospitals

The corona crisis still has a firm grip on the world. Against this background, the funding which the German government plans to make available to healthcare facilities under its new Krankenhauszukunftsgesetz (KHGZ / Hospital Future Act) is absolutely critical. Up to three billion euros are being provided for investment in modern emergency care capacities, digitalisation and IT security. However, at Robotise we’re slightly stumped as to why the new possibilities of service robotics were so completely ignored in the investment programme. We would like politicians to revise the Hospital Future Act to include these vital systems, particularly so in view of the ongoing corona pandemic and the mandatory hygiene and distance rules that have been put in place to protect both employees and patients.
JEEVES, our intelligent service robot, is ideally suited for use in the hospital and healthcare sector and can handle important processes and provide key services in the corona crisis. Unfortunately, however, the wording of the Hospital Future Act is very unclear and medication-dispensing robots appear to have been completely disregarded as a potential field of investment, putting them at a significant disadvantage and denying hospitals these innovative systems. 

Modern service robots are used on hospital wards to cover the “last metres” to the patient. These robots provide essential support in small to medium-sized hospitals. In these healthcare facilities, service robots can perform any number of infinitely useful tasks, including delivering drinks and medicines, distributing sterile goods and food in the wards or transporting samples to the laboratory. The risk of infection is reduced and skilled healthcare staff, who are usually under great time pressure, can devote their valuable time to more important tasks. 

Robotise collaborates on the Robotics in Healthcare programme sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and is involved as an industrial partner in the REsPonse project, which aims to promote the use of robot systems to relieve caregivers by providing services (https://www.forschungsprojekt-response.de). The objective is to harness the innovative technology of service robots in order to relieve nursing staff and free them up for primary caregiving activities. Robotise is working on the project together with LMU Klinikum München, Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt and Cliniserve GmbH.      

This year, JEEVES was able to impressively demonstrate his strengths during the corona pandemic in a test run spanning several weeks in a special corona hospital in northern Italy. Here, in the so-called Corona Hub, JEEVES delivered drinks and food to patients suspected of having covid-19, and transported medicines and samples between wards and medical storerooms and laboratories. 

JEEVES provides additional safety in the form of Dyphox, a new antimicrobial coating, which we use in cooperation with TriOptoTec. The innovative coating is based on photodynamic technology and is activated by artificial and natural light. It can kill almost 100 per cent of all viruses, bacteria and fungi on surfaces. This means that using JEEVES in medical facilities can make a decisive contribution to closing hygiene gaps and reducing germ loads to practically zero. 

Fuchs Johannes
9 November, 2020
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