Avera Medical Minute: Future Pharmacy Robot - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Avera Medical Minute: Future Pharmacy Robot

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Here's a skeleton model of the future robot. Here's a skeleton model of the future robot.

Avera McKennan is getting two new employees who will be "pill runners" for the pharmacy department even though they don't have any legs. Don't be surprised when you see robots roaming the halls of the hospital before the snow flies.

This is soon to be the newest member of the Avera McKennan Pharmacy Team in its skeleton form.  It doesn't have a name, it doesn't have a body, but it does have a keen set of eyes...so to speak.

Eric Glomb with Aethon, Inc. Says, "These slots have infrared sensors has a very good matrix of sensors."

Aethon, Inc. is the company that makes the robots and is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. When Eric is done with the mapping process here, the robot will have a brain and a purpose.

Eric explains, "It has a laser on the front of it. It records as I drive the robot around recording all the walls and therefore building a memory that the 2 future robots will then use to navigate the halls of the hospital."

The robot's job at Avera McKennan will be to deliver medications from the hospital pharmacy to all the nursing stations.

Avera McKennan Pharmacy Director Steve Peterson says, "It's really going to have a significant impact on the quality of care we can provide patients. On any given day we have at least 2 pharmacy personnel out making deliveries while they are doing that it's wasted time because they are not back in the pharmacy preparing products for the patients."

There are going to be some funny looks when people come face to face with a robot, but you don't have to worry about any traffic jams.  If you are in a wheelchair and come around the corner and are in the same lane as the robot, it will automatically stop. After 10 seconds, it will go around you.

Avera's robot will have a body that consists of 6 locked drawers to hold the meds. Peterson says it won't replace any employees. He says it will only enhance what they are already doing and that's caring for life.

Steve Peterson says, "Our goal by utilizing the robot is really to free up our people to take care of patients."

The fully programmed robots are expected to be operational and at work at the hospital sometime this fall.


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