SAN FRANCISCO – Tired of being treated like a number at big hospitals? Mercy Hospital in San Francisco wants to change that and they think they have the answer. “Here at Mercy Hospital, we want to make patients feel human again, and not like a disease,” said hospital spokesman Anthony Reiters.
“We are employing empathy robots hospital wide to actually talk to patients.” Most doctors and nurses just don’t have time to talk to patients anymore. The lack of communication and lack of empathy from providers has frustrated many patients and has led to numerous complaints.
Reiters goes on to say, “These robots will cruise the hallways and will enter patient rooms to explain medical conditions, answer questions, and most importantly, offer empathy.”
The robots are highly skilled and once programmed with a diagnosis, they will be able to explain all details regarding the patient’s condition and offer support. Kleenex boxes will be built into their system to be dispensed and they will be programmed to hug at any sign of a tear.
“The robots will free our doctors and nurses up to do what’s important for the patient, and that is to chart and bill appropriately,” said Reiters. “Doctors just don’t have enough time to code AND talk to patients on a given day. Our robots will eliminate the time consuming and draining interactions that bog down their day and get them to do what they went to medical school for; SOAP notes, placement, and coding of course.”
In the past, whenever doctors left a patient’s room after talking, nurses would have to answer hundreds of more questions from the patients or their families. The robots should free up more time for nurses to chart and make more patient labels, per joint commission protocol to place multiple name bracelets on sick patients.
Patients are thrilled about the new robots on multiple levels. “I’m excited to finally have someone to talk to at the hospital,” said patient Jim Browning. “I’m tired of being treated like I’m not human and these robots made me feel human again…the damn robot extended an arm and gave me a Kleenex when I found out I had prostate cancer…No doctor had time for that!”
Da Vinci robots are receiving cross training to not only be surgical robots, but to also be empathy robots. Future plans would eliminate all together human surgeons from actually seeing and touching patients.