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Mobile Robotic System Perceived as Acceptable for Health Tasks

FRIDAY, April 2, 2021 -- A mobile robotic system is perceived to be acceptable for use in multiple health tasks, and its use for triage interview is satisfactory for patients, according to a study published online March 4 in JAMA Network Open.

Peter R. Chai, M.D., from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues examined the acceptability and feasibility of a mobile robotic system to facilitate health care tasks. A survey measured acceptability of a mobile robotic system to perform health care tasks in a hospital setting. In addition, a cohort study examined patient satisfaction among 40 patients who presented to the emergency department of a large urban academic hospital and were exposed to a mobile robotic system, which was used to facilitate a triage interview.

The researchers found that in a nationally representative sample of 1,000 individuals living in the United States who participated in the sampling-based survey via an online analytic platform, many felt that a robotic system would be "somewhat useful" or "extremely useful" for a variety of tasks, including facilitating telehealth interviews (37.3 and 28.7 percent, respectively); acquiring vital signs (35.0 and 41.3 percent, respectively); obtaining nasal or oral swabs (30.7 and 19.2 percent, respectively); placing an intravenous catheter (22.8 and 15.9 percent, respectively); and performing phlebotomy (24.9 and 16.7 percent, respectively). In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an increase in the median number of individuals who perceived the application of robotic systems to be acceptable for these tasks. In the cohort study, 92.5 percent of the patients reported that the interaction was satisfactory, and 82.5 percent reported that their experience was as satisfactory as receiving an in-person interview from a clinician.

"This finding may inform the development of additional robotic systems that can minimize the exposure of health care professionals to individuals with COVID-19," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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