Woman shaking robotic hand

Innovative ‘Helper Bot’ trialled in Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (MKUH) is trialling an innovative ‘Helper Bot’ in a bid to ease pressure on staff by expediting certain logistical activities.

The team at MKUH, who initially began the landmark trial late last November, will start the New Year by testing how effective the robot – eponymously dubbed Milton – is at delivering medicines, specimens, and clinical supplies on designated routes throughout the hospital.

By learning how to safely navigate through the area between the hospital’s pharmacy and a specific in-patient ward, Milton will inform clinicians about how similar robotic technology can be harnessed  to support the delivery of other non-controlled substances throughout the health setting.

The robot was designed following a series of online and in-person workforce consultations, where staff members from departments like pharmacy, pathology, estates, and support services all attended.

Data collected from the study will help MKUH determine how Milton can be scaled up and used to take on even more responsibility and further unburden hospital staff.

MKUH Chief Executive, Professor Joe Harrison, said: “This trial is an opportunity to test the safety and efficacy of this technology and we will continue to work closely with all teams involved to understand how it can be most effectively utilised in the future.”

Milton is just the latest in a string of robotic and artificial intelligence advancements that are helping MKUH improve heath outcomes and enhance patient experience. This includes the introduction of an innovative robot that assists complex colorectal, gynaecology, and general surgeries, as well as integrating artificial intelligence across its imaging equipment.

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