Use of Robotics in the German Healthcare Sector

Application Scenarios - Drivers and Barriers – Time Savings
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11876)


Assistance robots have a large potential to support patients and staff in outpatient and inpatient settings. Despite the need and large potential, the diffusion of robotic applications in the German healthcare sector is only slowly picking up pace. The objective of this study is to shed some light on the reasons and identify measures that support involved stakeholders in closing this gap in the upcoming years. Using an online survey, we addressed more than 150 clinics and nursing service providers throughout Germany with respect to the benefit of different robot application scenarios, drivers and barriers for the introduction of service robots in healthcare settings as well as estimated time savings. Concerning possible application areas, disinfection and cleaning robots are currently perceived to have the highest benefit, whereas the value of robots to support personal hygiene is considered rather low. The greatest drivers for using robot assistants in healthcare settings are their potential to save time for the staff as well as to increase employer attractiveness and higher efficiency in processes. The most frequently cited barriers are financing, data protection, legal obstacles and the importance of human contact. For three selected scenarios: assistance robots as guides, lifting robots and activation and communication robots, we further asked for the expected time savings. The results show differences between clinics as well as inpatient and outpatient nursing services. In order to accelerate the diffusion of robot assistants in Germany, several implications have to be considered: Acceptance and experience are positively correlated i.e. from a political standpoint, research programs are needed to support joint development of robot assistants by research, industry and end users. Legal and financial barriers should be reduced. For manufacturers, creating testing possibilities and close interaction with potential users for the identification of adequate scenarios and clarifying legal questions could prove to be beneficial in terms of a higher acceptance in the market.


Assistance robots Social acceptance Clinic Elderly care 



The project is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Förderkennzeichen: 16SV7871K). Open image in new window


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fraunhofer Center for International Management and Knowledge Economy IMWLeipzigGermany
  2. 2.Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPAStuttgartGermany

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