The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2011 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

USE OF ROBOTICS IN RESPIRATORY CARE: A COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS OF A COLLABORATIVE PILOT PROJECT.

Daniel J. Grady; Respiratory Care, Mission Health System, Asheville, NC

Background: The number of portable CPAP generators and non-invasive ventilators have exponentially grown in hospitals; causing difficulties in rapidly locating and tracking the equipment. One innovative solution for continuously tracking equipment location is through the use of mobile robots which use sonar, infrared, and laser sensing technologies to continuously navigate hospital floors via pre-programmed floor plans. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the cost and benefits to a Respiratory Care Department utilizing robotics for inventory control in a 400 bed acute care hospital. Methods: The Respiratory Care Department participated in a collaborative project to evaluate the cost and benefits of a robotics system to provide the following functions: (1)medication delivery to nursing units 24/7, (2)delivery/retrieval of IV pumps, and (3)inventory control of small portable equipment. The Respiratory Care staff (n = 33 full time FTE) were surveyed to determine mean time spent per shift locating CPAP and non-invasive ventilators, before and after implementation of the robotic system. Two Aethon "TUG" mobile robotic systems were pre- programmed with hospital floor plans and elevator locations/activation codes. The Biomedical Department tagged each CPAP machine and non-invasive ventilator with a radio-frequency tag. Floor plan templates were placed online in the hospital computer system, and Respiratory Care management and supervisory staff were trained to log into the floor plans to identify equipment locations. Results: Following implementation of the Aethon TUG Robotics system, the Respiratory Care staff had immediate access via the hospital computer to a dynamic, real-time, map of each hospital floor and unit showing the precise location of each CPAP machine and non-invasive ventilator. The robotics system reduced the average time spent attempting to locate equipment by a mean of 30 minutes per staff member and reduced salary cost associated with the old process for locating equipment by approximately $148,000 dollars per year. Conclusions: Implementation of the Aethon TUG continuous, mobile robotics system was highly successful in reducing both the time and salary expense associated with locating Respiratory Care equipment in a 400 bed hospital. The robotics system improved Respiratory Care staff satisfaction and efficiency associated with the process of inventory control of CPAP equipment.
Sponsored Research - None
Comparison of Costs and Efficiency Pre-and Post-Robotics Implmentation for Locating CPAP Equipment