In recent years, the healthcare industry has witnessed significant advancements in robotic technology, revolutionizing various aspects of patient care. One area where robotics is making remarkable strides is in cleaning and maintaining the cleanliness of healthcare facilities.
Part of this rise in popularity is due to the increasing focus by patients on their experience while in a healthcare facility, ranging from treatment by medical professionals to the cleanliness of the facility, facility cleanliness being a growing concern since the pandemic.
Because of this, patient experience is increasingly important to healthcare providers because the facility and the staff are measured based on patient responses gathered through HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) scores.
Along with the growing emphasis on facility cleanliness, healthcare spaces are also judged and rated based on the overall look and feel of the environment.
Patients are more discerning than ever when it comes to the total experience, and this correlates to the facility's appearance. Facilities that are bright, neat, clean, and appear more innovative are likely to be perceived as a better experience by customers.
As a response, robotic cleaning technologies are becoming increasingly prevalent. The professional service robot market is expected to reach $111.9 billion USD by 2029, up from $20.76 billion USD in 2022, according to Global News Wire.
Cleaning robots offer numerous benefits such as improved efficiency, enhanced infection control, and increased patient safety. Plus, adding autonomous cleaning solutions to a facility provides customers with visible evidence of a healthcare provider that takes patient care and innovation seriously.
Below are some of the most popular cleaning robotic technologies being adopted by healthcare facilities and the benefits they provide to patients and hospitals.
One of the prominent trends in robotic cleaning technology for healthcare facilities is the rise of autonomous floor cleaning robots. These robots are equipped with advanced navigation systems, sensors, and intelligent mapping capabilities, enabling them to operate autonomously and efficiently.
For instance, Cobi 18, an autonomous floor scrubber by ICE Cobotics is a cobot designed for healthcare environments. Cobi utilizes Lidar technology to navigate through complex environments, avoiding obstacles, and following predetermined cleaning paths.
This helps healthcare facilities to ensure the environment is as clean as possible, so patients and staff are in a healthy space.
Not only does this increase the cleanliness of a facility, but it also gives patients a visible demonstration of the cleaning happening, which can help soothe fears or concerns regarding facility cleanliness.
UV disinfection robots have emerged as a groundbreaking solution for enhancing infection control in healthcare facilities. These robots utilize ultraviolet (UV) light to disinfect surfaces and eliminate harmful pathogens, including bacteria and viruses.
Xenex, a leading manufacturer of UV disinfection robots, offers the Xenex LightStrike Robot, which can quickly disinfect patient rooms, operating rooms, and other high-touch areas.
The robot emits intense pulses of UV light, destroying microorganisms on surfaces within minutes. This technology has been proven effective in reducing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) and has been widely adopted in hospitals worldwide.
Since HAIs are a significant concern for healthcare providers, having the ability to disinfect rooms quickly and safely after a patient is discharged is a remarkable step toward patient safety and improved experience.
Not only that, but the use of this technology aids cleaning teams in completing room turnovers more efficiently, safely, and quickly.
Another innovative trend in robotic cleaning technology for healthcare facilities is robot-assisted sterilization. Sterile environments are crucial in certain healthcare settings, such as surgical rooms and isolation units, to prevent the spread of infections.
Sterilization robots, like the Tru-D SmartUVC robot, utilize UV-C light to disinfect the air and surfaces. These robots can be programmed to target specific areas, delivering the necessary dosage of UV-C light to eliminate pathogens effectively.
Tru-D's robot is equipped with sensors that measure the reflective properties of the room to calculate the precise UV dosage required for optimal disinfection. This technology ensures a higher level of sterilization and complements traditional cleaning practices.
Collaborative cleaning robots are a rising trend that integrates the capabilities of robots with human cleaners to optimize cleaning processes in healthcare facilities. Cobots, collaborative robots, work alongside cleaning staff, assisting in tasks that are physically demanding or repetitive.
For example, the TUG autonomous mobile robot by Aethon is designed to transport soiled linens, waste, and supplies within a healthcare facility. By automating the transportation process, TUG frees up human staff to focus on other essential cleaning and patient care duties.
Freeing staff from mundane work helps them focus on higher-skill level tasks and can be more rewarding, resulting in happier cleaning staff.
This collaborative approach improves efficiency, reduces staff fatigue, and ensures a cleaner and safer environment for patients.
Advancements in robotic technology for cleaning healthcare facilities are also accompanied by sophisticated data analytics capabilities. Many robotic cleaning systems collect data on cleaning performance, operational efficiency, and usage patterns.
This data can be leveraged to generate comprehensive cleaning analytics, providing valuable insights into areas that require more attention, and helping to optimize cleaning schedules.
For instance, i-SYNERGY fleet management software provided on Cobi 18 by ICE Cobotics, offers data analytics features that enable facility managers to track cleaning performance including the length of time the unit spends cleaning, square footage cleaned, cleaning paths, and it tracks wear and tear on consumables and parts.
This allows healthcare operations staff to adjust cleaning routines accordingly and find ways to improve cleaning processes, for example, identifying times of day when the unit can clean more square footage in less time.
Tracking cleaning data also allows operations managers and directors to share the information with stakeholders and those invested in keeping the facility clean. The information can be shared across platforms helping to assure patients they are well cared for, and that the facility is cleaned consistently.
This data-driven approach enhances overall cleaning effectiveness and resource allocation in healthcare facilities.
Robotic technology is rapidly transforming the cleaning landscape of healthcare facilities, offering innovative solutions to enhance efficiency, infection control, and patient safety. Autonomous floor cleaning robots, UV disinfection robots, robot-assisted sterilization, collaborative cleaning robots, and data-driven cleaning analytics are among the prominent trends in this domain.
As these trends continue to evolve, healthcare facilities can leverage robotic technology to achieve higher levels of cleanliness, reduce the risk of infections, and ensure a healthier environment for patients and staff alike.
ICE Cobotics is the leading technology and cleaning equipment company. To find out more about Cobi 18, reach out to our Automation Specialists.