Franciscan Health Crown Point has turned to robots to help deliver food and environmental services.

The hospitals deployed six Aethon TUG T3 robots to move carts with linens, towels and meal trays around the hospital. The six autonomous mobile robots started making deliveries this fall in an effort to improve efficiency and lighten staff's workload, so they can focus more on care.

Franciscan Health said they have not eliminated any jobs and are not intended to replace human workers.

“Franciscan Health Crown Point is thrilled to add the TUGs to our operations,” Franciscan Health Crown Point President and CEO Daniel McCormick said. “The robots allow our staff to operate more efficiently while adding yet another state-of-the-art technology in service to our patients, who are always our top priority.”

The multi-directional robots follow a digital map of the hospital that was created by mapping it out with lasers. It can be remapped as needed if there's construction or changes.

The robots have sensors that allow them to navigate in real time around patients, staff and other obstacles that might get in their way. They can automatically open doors and elevators, using only the elevators reserved for hospital staff.

They're programmed to return to their charging docks automatically once the delivery is complete.

Kitchen and environmental services staff load their carts and send them off on their way. The staff gets notified via a wearable communication device when the carts arrive.

“We are proud to support Franciscan Health Crown Point’s mission of care and healing through the use of Aethon’s robot technology,” ST Engineering, Aethon CEO Peter Seiff said. “By ensuring reliable and efficient delivery of materials throughout the hospital, the staff can focus on providing the best possible care and experience for the patient.”
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