Case studies on the usability, acceptability and functionality of autonomous mobile delivery robots in real-world healthcare settings

Abstract

Autonomous mobile delivery robots are used as a way to improve efficiency in hospitals and reduce staff workload amongst a growing workforce shortage in healthcare. These two case studies investigated the usability, acceptability and functionality of two GoCart delivery robots at two different healthcare settings. The GoCart robots assisted with delivering blood and urine samples at a pathology laboratory and delivering meals at a residential care facility during a two-week period. A total of 50 participants (direct and secondary users, and managers) were interviewed about their experiences with the robot and answered questions about its design and functionality, safety and security, usability and their overall attitudes towards having the robot at their facility. Results showed that the participants from both sites thought the robots could be a good addition to their facilities to improve efficiency and reduce staff workload. The robot was received more positively at the residential care facility than the pathology laboratory. Improvements still need to be made to adapt the robots to each site before implementing the GoCarts long term, including changes to the size and screen. These case studies demonstrate that autonomous mobile delivery robots could be a useful addition to residential care facilities and pathology laboratory sites. Overall, this research adds to the current evidence showing potential uses for delivery robots and highlights important design considerations.

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Data availability

Due to ethics requirements, we are unable to share data.

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Acknowledgements

We wish to thank staff at Labtests and Mercy Parklands for their involvement and assistance in this study.

Funding

This study was supported by Yujin Robot Co., Ltd.

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Authors

Contributions

Bruce MacDonald and Ho Seok Ahn secured funding for the study. Ho Seok Ahn, Elizabeth Broadbent, Kathy Peri, Ngaire Kerse and Bruce MacDonald designed the study. Eve Topou collected the data. Mikaela Law, Elizabeth Broadbent and Eve Tupou analysed data. Mikaela Law wrote the manuscript, Norina Gasteiger wrote part of the manuscript, and all other authors edited and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Elizabeth Broadbent.

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Law, M., Ahn, H.S., Broadbent, E. et al. Case studies on the usability, acceptability and functionality of autonomous mobile delivery robots in real-world healthcare settings. Intel Serv Robotics (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11370-021-00368-5

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Keywords

  • Robot
  • Delivery
  • Pathology laboratory
  • Residential care facility
  • GoCart