November 25, 2019

A large responsibility of a nurse is to provide bedside service to ensure patients are comfortable during their hospital stay. Sometimes nurses can be called for a simple request such as turning on or off a TV, a light or playing calming music. AI nurses, robotic or voice-controlled, are now being used to provide bedside assistance and administer medications so human nurses can focus on their own workflow.

Some hospitals are already implementing these technologies with their patients. A voice-controlled software for the healthcare industry, called Avia, is currently being used in over 102 rooms at a hospital in Los Angeles, California. Avia assists patients with basic hospital room needs, as well as administering medicines.

“When a patient asks for pain medication, for example, Aiva sends a text to the appropriate nurse,” reports an IEEE Spectrum article. “If the request isn’t fulfilled, the notification goes up the chain to another caregiver. Plus, Avia responds to a patient by telling him or her that their request has been transmitted, providing comforting feedback that isn’t supplied by a traditional call button.”

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Not only are AI nurses capable of notifying human nurses of medication times, they are also physically administering the correct dosage to patients as well.

“In certain hospitals there are already medication dispenser robots that retrieve the right medication packages for further delivering,” says IEEE member Antonio Espingareiro. “This is a very important topic since it helps to reduce the likelihood of human error when delivering medications and respective doses to patients.”

Overall, the use of AI technologies in hospitals will help human nurses focus on care and manage their time in an effective way to see more patients. But while an AI nurse has the potential to make a difference in healthcare, it’s important to recognize that this technology should not replace the importance of a human nurse for proper, supervised care.

“These technologies help to better manage resources and deliver the best care allied with classical human care, but be aware that they are not a substitute for human care,” warns Espingardeiro.

The goal of any nurse is to help patients receive attention, care and maintain a comfort level that will make their patient’s stay a little more pleasant. An assistive technology like an AI nurse is already making that goal more attainable– one hospital room at a time.