Robots help ease workload, brighten spirits at local hospital


BERWYN, Ill. — A hard, cold object is warming the hearts of patients and staff and changing the face of medicine.

It’s a profession that requires a deeply human approach to care. Now local nurses — at the bedside and on their feet for 12-hour shifts — are getting some not-so-human assistance in the form of robots.

Moxie is helping out floors of MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn. It waits patiently and helps with tasks on the unit, from the nurse’s station to the pharmacy.

“Moxie is not here to take someone’s job. Moxie is here to support everybody and the work they are doing,” Loyola Medicine Nurse Manager Jennifer Moore said.

On a recent visit, WGN Medical Watch saw Moxie collecting a cardiac monitor that needs to go back to the supply room and fetch meds from the pharmacy.

“With moxie we are able to automate that by having moxie do that work which keeps our nurses at the bedside,” Moore said. “Since Moxie went live in August, Moxie has done over 6000 deliveries and has worked over 2300 hours. … When you think about the little things you do in a day, you never think at the end of the day how much time you spend doing it.

Moore spearheaded the effort to bring the robot on board.

“When we’re in a situation of having staff shortages or people are out due to Covid or other illnesses, Moxie doesn’t need sick time. Moxie doesn’t need days off. Moxie is always very reliable,” she said.

While elevators present a challenge, Moxie navigates the hallways with a little more confidence.

“We’re finding that our deliveries are occurring within 10 minutes of request which is a huge accomplishment because we’re not relying on a person who has to stop working on another task to complete the delivery,” Moore said. “The staff really do enjoy Moxie. It kind of uplifts spirits sometimes. When Moxie comes on the units, you can see the staff interacting even though Moxie doesn’t have a conversational exchange. … It’s really exciting to see how far tech has advanced in recent years and all the ways were able to use it to support our work.”

Loyola medicine used an innovation grant to bring Moxie on board, they have two robots in the hospital right now – 21 hours a day — which equates to the work of about three extra people.

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