The new Monash Children’s Hospital in Victoria set to open early next year will be home to a fleet of delivery robots ferrying everything from food to clean sheets and medicine to its young patients.
The 230-bed facility will be linked to the existing supply hub at the Monash Medical Centre by an above-ground tunnel that will become the main thoroughfare for the autonomous trolleys as they carry up to 400kg of supplies at a time from storage rooms and kitchens.
Monash Health has invited robot manufacturers to demonstrate their wares to the hospital’s officials and prove their machines can whisk around the new hospital without running into obstacles, other robots, or most importantly, workers and patients.
The hospital operator has not yet specified how many robots it will need, but has scheduled roughly 380 separate trolley movements per day in the new facility, across food, linen, waste, clinical supplies, medical gases, and pharmaceutical fluids.
It says the rolling robots will need to be able to navigate a standard ramp.
Robots are popping up in a number of new hospitals globally.
Western Australia’s new Fiona Stanley Hospital has handed responsibility for food deliveries to its autonomous servants, which serve 2200 meals a day according to orders placed by patients with bedside computers, with no human intervention beyond the kitchen.
In the US, the University of Maryland Medical Centre has tasked robots with delivering medication to doctors, cutting down the time it takes to get important drugs to treating clinicians from 74 minutes to 30 minutes.
Two Belgian metropolitan hospitals have acquired ‘Pepper’ humanoid robots to act as receptionists, guiding visitors to the rooms or departments they are looking for using GPS.