The Robot Did What?

It may sound alarming, but these robots don’t actually come in contact with babies or patients for that matter. So, could it be beneficial? Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been studying for the past two years to see if robots can be more than a helpful hand.

Experiments were conducted to see if robots could serve as an effective “resource nurse,” CNN Money reports. The resource nurse is in charge of assigning other nurses to care for patients in the labor and delivery unit. The job requires effective decision making within a fast paced environment. Assigning a nurse to a particular patient and pairing patients with the necessary equipment and resources are the decisions made.

Researchers trained a Nao robot to learn from nurse’s scheduling decisions and pick up reasons why those decisions were made as opposed to other options. The MIT robot could determine nurses’ availability on the floor. It also takes into account the depths of patients assigned to certain nurses, break schedules, and much more.

Nao Robot Put to the Test

Researchers placed the robot in Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center in Boston to help make suggestions for the nurses and doctors. What was extraordinary? Nao robot made suggestions and the doctors and nurses carried them out 90% of the time. This type of artificial intelligence can help effectively train nurses, and help make better decisions in the labor unit.

MIT professor Julie Shah, and senior author of the study is looking to expand this research into other hospitals’ labor units. “We are looking to scale this, but this is a safety critical domain so we’re making sure we take measured steps,” Shah says to CNN Money.

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