Sentara Williamsburg Community Hospital Hires Robotic Courier
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Sentara Williamsburg Community Hospital Hires Robotic Courier 

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Sentara Williamsburg Community Hospital (SWCH) has implemented a new service to help Emergency Department and Laboratory employees within the hospital deliver and receive lab specimens and test results. SWCH will utilize a robot, Pyxis HelpMate, which has been specially programmed with the floor plan of the hospital, to "run" lab tests and results between the Emergency Department and the Lab.

"This is a classic example of how technology can offer some creative solutions to basic issues," said Robert Graves, FACHE, Administrator of SWCH. "This robot allows us to free up staff time for patient care and it also ensures a smooth process for getting patients test results in a timely fashion. Were always pleased when we can develop a system that helps our staff and, ultimately, helps our patients in the form of better care."

To welcome its newest high-tech team member, SWCH hosted a naming contest for its friendly resident robot. The winning name L2-E2 was submitted by Janet Ross, who works in the lab at SWCH. The significance of the name a play off of the famous R2-D2 has to do with the fact the robot runs between the Lab and the Emergency Department (Lab to Emergency).

Created by the Pyxis Corporation, the Pyxis HelpMate robot is self-contained and outfitted with a personal security system to control access for loading its compartments. It is programmed to open secured entry doors for both hospital departments, needing very little management as it works within the hospital 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

By implementing the use of this technology, SWCHs clinical staff will be able to devote more time to patient care. By focusing on their primary responsibility as caregivers, staffs are better enabled to serve emergency room patients and lab tests and results are delivered efficiently. In addition, patients in the Emergency Department will be able to receive more timely and consistent test results, which can lead to faster diagnosis and treatment decisions.

With L2-E2 in operation only a couple of weeks now, staff are already singing its praises. In one day alone, the robot saved one employee from having to run between the Emergency Department and the Lab 40 times. And as the winter months bring heavier volume into the Emergency Department, the robot is averaging trips between the ED and Lab every eight minutes. By saving steps, L2-E2 is also saving staff time time that is better spent at the patients bedside.

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