Tug the Robot: March 23, 2017
There’s no question that technology makes things faster and, at times, easier. That’s especially true in hospitals. Lee Health recently hired a new employee to help deliver medications to patients throughout the Lee Memorial Hospital.
Larry Clark, Director of Pharmacy at Lee Memorial Hospital, says their new employee is not your typical delivery man. In fact, he’s no man at all. “Tug is a robot that basically we use to supplement our manual deliveries throughout the hospital. It does about 18 trips per day and 31 deliveries.”
Unlike Lee Health’s three other hospitals, Lee Memorial Hospital does not have a tube system to quickly transfer the prescriptions from the pharmacy to the patient, requiring nurses or staff to leave their position and come get the prescription. “We had pharmacists, nurses, or techs going up in the middle of these rounds, getting pulled away from patient care and we felt it would be better for them to stay with their patients and for us to find an alternative route to deliver medications,” said Clark.
Now, when nurses need a delivery pharmacists will tell Tug where to go and what to take. “It has 11 drawers so you could possibly send it out for 11 units at once, but typically the way we’re using it right now is only two to three drawers at the most,” said Clark.
Cautious of patients and staff, Tug carefully rolls through the hospital taking the elevator to each floor. “The pharmacy staff is very appreciative, especially at night when we only have one pharmacist and one or two techs here,” said Clark.
Taking about 20 minutes round trip, Tug completes his journey by putting himself back on the charger while he waits for his next call.