The rapid growth and adoption of technology in the last couple of decades has led to huge advances in scientific research and healthcare practices, improving both the quality of life and care. Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, Machine Learning (ML) and digitization are now being embraced by the healthcare sector for increased efficiencies and improved patient care. The impact is that the lines between humans and robots are fast blurring. The concept of the AI Bot Nurse as a reliable caregiving support alternative comes as a breath of fresh air to healthcare staff. This paper explores the concept of leveraging AI Bot Nurses to help assist with patient care given during routine circumstances and also during high-risk public health emergencies.
Human and machine collaboration for better healthcare
An AI Bot Nurse can not only take over the management of several crucial “patient situations”, it can also be a very reliable caregiving alternative during public health emergencies. In the wake of the recent Coronavirus outbreak in China and the WHO declaring it a “global health emergency”, the AI Bot Nurse can easily assist patients and healthcare professionals, helping patients navigate through traumatic situations, providing routine patient care and support. The Bot Nurse can help with routine patient check-ups and monitoring, assist patients with their medication and injections and basic physical care, keep track of patient records, remind them to take their medicines on time, and even alert doctors in case of a medical emergency.
How AI Bot Nurses and modern healthcare workers can work together effectively
Nurses are a very critical part of the healthcare system and account for the largest numbers in the profession. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of nursing jobs will grow at an astounding rate of 12% from 2018 to 2026! iThe WHO estimates that the world will need an additional 9 million nurses and mid-wives by 2030ii. It’s evident that the rising need for nursing staff and caregivers will also increase the existing workload on nurses. An AI Bot Nurse can be a viable alternative to ease the pressure in this situation. Not only are AI Bot Nurses efficient, they can also assist far better in certain areas as compared to human nurses. For example, an AI Bot Nurse is available 24/7/365, is not prone to contracting infections, does not tire easily and makes a veritable buddy for the patient.
Here are the many ways an AI Bot Nurse can assist healthcare staff and patients in providing excellent care:
- A better, more advanced, caregiving substitute in managing public health emergencies such as the Coronavirus outbreak: Since an AI Bot Nurse is a machine, it has zero chances of being contaminated by the virus and transmitting it to others. As such, the AI Bot Nurse can be easily deployed in areas where deploying human nurses is a high-risk option: At airports and other public places to monitor the health of travellers and other citizens who face a high risk of exposure to the Coronavirus or other similar viral outbreaks. For example, in Hong Kong where hospital staff are on strike demanding closure of the Chinese border, AI Bot Nurses are an ideal solution to provide nursing assistance. iiiIn fact, MOXI, a droid, is one of the more popular nursing bots already present in the market, supporting clinical staff with routine nursing tasks.iv
- Assistance with medication and self-injecting: AI Bot Nurses are very efficient in keeping track of the patients’ healthcare records, reminding patients to take their medicines on time, ensuring accuracy of dosage, and also assisting patients with medication and injections that they need to take on their own. In case the patient is away from the bot, the technology enables a pop-up reminder on the patient’s mobile phone or device, when it is time for medication or a sugar level reading. The bot provides step-by-step guidance and acts as a reassuring companion through the process, alleviating any patient stress or panic.
- Overcoming language barriers: The AI Bot Nurse leverages language translation and tone analyzer techniques to effectively analyze inputs from patients when communicating with them. This helps overcome language barriers automatically, helping the bot easily converse and communicate with patients from all geographies, across the globe. Medical experts anywhere in the world can instantly analyze these conversations and provide relevant, expert inputs.
- Reducing patient stress: An AI Bot Nurse can play relaxing music for patients and reassure them during panic situations, including when having to take injections. This helps bring down the stress levels significantly, helping patients recover faster.
- Assistance with routine patient-care tasks: An AI Bot Nurse can complement hospital staff with routine nursing duties. These can include monitoring patient’s BP and sugar levels and updating their medical records with the readings.
- Emergency alerts to doctors: AI Bot Nurses can be a good substitute for relatives and nursing staff who need to monitor patients regularly. The Bot Nurses can keep a 24x7 check on patients, and raise accurate alerts during medical emergencies. For instance, AI Bots have the intelligence to track and know when a patient has overdosed on a medication and immediately send an emergency alert to the doctor.
- Providing emotional and moral support: AI Bot Nurses engage in basic, friendly conversations with patients, and even narrate motivational incidents of patients who have been treated successfully, boosting morale on the hospital floor. AI Bot Nurses can be programmed to also play motivational speeches or religious verse/hymns. this is especially useful in the case of older patients since it provides them a great deal of emotional support. According to Administration of Aging: Department of Health and Human Services, 65 and older population is projected to reach 72 million in 2030 i.e. the geriatric population is expected to reach a whopping 72 million by 2030.v AI Bot Nurses will be an effective emotional support to this segment.
- Assistance in overall mental well- being: AI Bot Nurses provide effective support to patients suffering from ailments such as Dementia, Alzheimer’s etc, by routinely taking them through various mental exercises and activities, assisting them with meditation techniques such as Yoga and other relaxation exercises. AI Bot Nurses can monitor and manage complete patient activity and health records by using tone analyzer services.
The AI Bot Nurse is here to stay
Undoubtedly, the AI Bot Nurse can complement nursing and caregiving efforts thereby reducing dependency on human nurses to a great extent. Moreover, the cost of deploying nursing staff across various medical situations is an expensive affair which can be addressed with Bot Nurses. There is huge pressure on time and the demand for nursing services. It is also a challenge for nurses to engage in long, sometimes monotonous conversations with patients who just need some empathetic company. It is precisely this vacuum that can be filled by AI Bot Nurses. In addition, the healthcare monitoring statistics gathered by the AI Bot Nurse are sometimes more accurate than those collected by human nurses where there is a margin for human error.
As modern healthcare technology evolves and digitization advances, AI Bot Nurses can be further improved in terms of their functionalities and capabilities to become an integral part of patient caregiving, benefiting both patients and the healthcare ecosystem at large.
i U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Number of jobs for nurses,
ii WHO: Nursing and Midwifery: Key facts,
iii Coronavirus: Hong Kong hospital staff strike to demand closure of China border,
iv A hospital introduced a robot to help nurses. They didn’t expect it to be so popular,
v Sixty five and older population projected to reach 72 million in 2030: Administration of Aging: Department of Health and Human Services, https://cs.stanford.edu/people/eroberts/cs201/projects/2010-11/ComputersMakingDecisions/robotic-nurses/index.html