A coronavirus patient under treatment in the intensive care unit uses the touch screen of a robot at ‘Ospedale di Circolo’ hospital, in Varese, Italy, Wednesday, April 8, 2020. Six robots help healthcare professionals assist Covid-19 patients, one robot for every two patients to maximize monitoring and assistance. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
UPDATED 11:38 AM PT — Thursday, April 9, 2020
A hospital in northern Italy is turning to automated help in the fight against coronavirus. According to recent reports, six robots have been introduced to a hospital in one of the hardest hit regions of the country
Dubbed ‘Tommy’ the robots are allowing doctors to remotely monitor patients, while focusing on those in more serious condition. The head of the company that oversees the hospital said the robot allows hospital staff to more effectively use its protective gear, but also allows a closer relationship to patients in isolation.
“The robots have a strong impact, which depends on the age of the patients.,” explained Gianni Bonelli, CEO of Sette Laghi Health Authority. “…young patients react well…those who are a bit older are initially a bit surprised, but then they get used to them when they see they’re helpful.”
Patients can use the robot to communicate with their doctors who have said the assistant is like having “a nurse that doesn’t risk infection.” More than 4,000 Italian health workers have reportedly contracted coronavirus and more than 60 doctors have died from the infection.