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Robot Will Roam Halls of Hutchinson Health

In the coming weeks, a new addition to the Hutchinson Health team may cause heads to turn. A Savioke Relay™ Robot will start roaming the hallways of our organization, transporting specimens to the hospital laboratory.

Robot Fills A Need

Savioke Relay™ Robot in lab

Hutchinson Health currently transports specimens by a staff member walking them to the laboratory. This process gets more time consuming and inefficient as our organization grows. Two years ago, all laboratory testing was consolidated from the clinic to the hospital lab, which increased the frequency of delivering specimens between locations. In addition, the Cancer Center location, which is another source of specimens will be relocated across the building in the near future. This will more than triple the time it will take to deliver specimens. As a result, it became apparent that we needed to evaluate options for specimen transport, so that our phlebotomists, technicians, and nurses could spend less time walking specimens and more time with patients.

Multiple solutions reviewed such as:

  • Volunteers
  • Stationary pneumatic tube systems
  • Robotic transport systems

Each option has positive and negatives. Through staff input, and encouragement by our Patient Family Advisory Committee, we decided to move forward with the robotic transport system.

Meet the Savioke Relay™ Robot

Savioke Relay RobotThe Savioke Relay™ Robot is a self-propelled robotic system that will navigate the Hutchinson Health hallways according to pre-defined pathways. It is equipped with sonar and lasers to detect anything in its pathway. The robot will stop if something suddenly jumps in front of it; and if it detects an obstruction, like a cart or wheelchair in its pathway, it will “side step” to move over and continue on its path. It will also navigate up and down the elevator to get to the Cancer Center for the pickup of specimens. The unit is locked and will require a badge scan to open it up and release the contents. The unit is about 36 inches high with a diameter of about 20 inches.

The Hutchinson Health team is very excited to introduce the Relay Robot to the facility. It will be on site in the coming weeks. We expect this “new-age” technology will provide more time and freedom to focus on our patients. Watch for the Relay™ Robot at your next visit!