AUSTIN, Texas (KXAN) — Around Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin Texas, Moxi rolls with ease. She doesn’t say much, but works seamlessly side-by-side with nurses.
She’s only been there a few weeks and she’s already a big name around the hospital.
“I can’t even tell you how many times we get stopped by kids that are like: ‘it’s a robot’ and they just want to stop and talk to Moxi,” explained nurse Meghan Straub, who has been with Dell Children’s for almost nine years.
The hospital robot has a flexible arm. She can drop off linens and supplies for patients. Moxi can also help escort families across the hospital.
“It just takes something off my plate that I don’t have to worry about anymore. I know that Moxi is providing these things, so it gives me more of a peace of mind so I can focus on other things,” said Straub. “It improves patient outcomes. It improves you know kind of the quality of care that they’re able to receive.”
Austin-based Diligent Robotics, an artificial intelligence company, created Moxi in early 2018 and launched her into hospital trials a few months later. A team member with the company programs Moxi’s to-do list every day. A supervisor goes around the hospital with her.
“The hospital beta trials have been amazing opportunities for us to learn about the many different workflow challenges nurses face, and collaboratively work with each nursing team to test ways Moxi can mitigate some of those challenges,” explained Diligent Robotics’ co-founder Vivian Chu. “These beta trials help us understand not only what tasks Moxi can do to help, but quantify the impact of those tasks in hospital costs, workflows, patient care, and staff happiness.”
Dell Children’s Medical Center is the first children’s hospital using Moxi and the first hospital in Austin.
“We are in the city of Austin with an amazing University of Texas and a pretty incredible technology sector. The idea of having an innovative idea here at Dell Children’s Medical Center really inspired us,” said president Christopher Born.
Born explained that Moxi will never replace nurses, but she is there to make their jobs easier.
“All hospitals and healthcare institutions have been struggling being able to recruit physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, technologist in our facility. The strategic imperative is to have everybody operating at the top of their licensure and probably the most critical thing in a children’s hospital is making sure that our nurses and our medical staff are at the side of our patients in the rooms,” explained Born. “The concept of having Moxi in our hospital doing tasks just ensures that we can provide amazing quality service to our patients so that the nurses are serving our children well.”
Dell Children’s is part of Ascension, the largest nonprofit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system.
Moxi will be there for a few more weeks. Born says he would like to have a Moxi on every floor.
Diligent Robotics is pushing to move out of beta testing and have Moxi ready for sale later this year.