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Hospital logistics automation 

Hospital logistics automation 

The interior logistics of hospitals and other healthcare facilities can be enhanced using various types of automation and robotics technologies. 

Conceptualisation of hospital logistics

Interior logistics can be made more efficient in hospitals of all ages, from contemporary buildings to properties from the 1970s. The goal is the same for all hospitals. However, new hospitals offer more options. We will plan reliable hospital logistics specific to each site: we will always select the most suitable automation technology on functionality’s terms. 

The conceptualisation of the hospital’s interior logistics helps us find the best overall solution. First, we compile and validate the initial data together with the users. After this, we assess what requirements the traffic of personnel and goods place for the lifts, tube conveyors, mobile robots and other systems. We create multiple alternate concepts to find the best solution to meet the client’s needs. Various implementation methods can also be compared through simulations. The final report for the conceptualisation includes all information needed for decision-making. 

During the planning, we also keep in mind that automation alone cannot solve all problems. In most logistics projects, we can also help with the development of the hospital’s operational processes, ICT infrastructure, and working methods. Instead of partial optimisation, we look at the whole, as many support functions permeate all of the hospital operations. We also help the hospital develop its logistics processes as a whole so that the staff will have more time for the actual healthcare work. 

Mobile robots for healthcare

Mobile robots can carry loads of up to 500 kilograms independently and safely: the items carried include care supplies, food and assistive instruments. The mobile robots know how to move about without bumping into obstacles and by going around people in the hallways, even in unfamiliar environments. They even know how to wait for their turn in doorways and at lift doors. The robots can be timed to repeat set standard deliveries or perform one-time tasks. One mobile robot typically equals 0.6–0.8 person-workyears, which is why the solution has great significance for a hospital’s human resourcing. 

Automation for meal services

We have participated in the creation of a new meal service concept that combines hospital logistics with efficient production processes. Various robotic arms and mobile robots e.g. pack the meals into individual containers, put the batches into boxes, store and collect the boxes, fill trolleys and transport the meals. The patients see the results of the automation in good service: they can choose their meal an hour before serving. The automation also reduces food waste significantly. 

Medication distribution and storage logistics

Robotics enhance the communication, stock management and replenishment methods of the central warehouse and the storage departments. Medications and supplies do not need to be stored in vain, but everything will always be available in sufficient capacity. The automatisation and monitoring of storage logistics also enhance the distribution of medications. At the same time, the risk of incorrect medication that compromises patient safety is reduced, as is medication waste. Automated storage logistics ensure that medications or supplies do not expire while waiting to be used. 

Automation enhances the routines in a hospital

Automation solutions improve the routines in hospitals from laundry processing to laboratory testing. For example, a delivery system for sample tubes can reduce the response time from testing to receiving the results to a fraction from before. Other functions that make routines easier include automatic material handling systems for the storage and collection in the assistive device department. We have also designed a process for bed maintenance where 40-metre-tall bed storage machines take care of storing and transporting clean and dirty beds between the bed-washing centre and various floors of the building. 

Digital services in the properties

Digital services enhance the planning and implementation of construction projects and the information flow into property maintenance. We offer modern automation and robotics technologies and simulation and optimisation tools. Decision-making can be supported through visual 3D information models, virtual environments, and carbon footprint calculation for buildings, the benefits of which can be experienced throughout the building’s lifecycle.

 

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