Like many developed countries, Singapore faces declining birth rates leading to an ageing population. Healthcare challenges will arise, due to the projected increase in the demand of hospital beds, combined with a declining nursing workforce. The ‘Future Nursing Career Review Committee (FNCRC)’ Report by MOH projected that the Nurse-to-Bed ratio in Singapore will decrease from 2.45 in 2015 to 1.96 by 2030. FNCRC has recommended that public acute hospitals strive to increase hospital nursing productivity by 10% by 2020 and 20% by 2030, through eliminating unnecessary work and improving work processes.
One way to do this is through the Nurse Robot Teaming (NRT) for Care Delivery project. This aims to improve work processes in three ways: 1) Reduce nursing hours required for fall risk monitoring in the inpatient setting; 2)Reduce time spent on measuring patients’ output; and 3) Reduce the accompanying risks of cytotoxic exposure in the oncology ambulatory setting. By leveraging on smart technology and robotics, nurses can redeploy the saved time to focus on delivering more value-adding patient care.
Within the hospital setting, this project aims to predict inpatient bed exit and deploy autonomous devices which assist ward nurses in preventing falls. An integrated system is being developed, where nurse-robot teams will be activated when smart sensors detect a patient getting out of his/ her bed. This allows early interventions, such as establishing immediate communication channels, through bedside and wearable communicators with the nurses. In addition, the system will use data analytics to determine a suitable threshold level to trigger alerts and activate subsequent corresponding autonomous devices to attend to patients’ needs. This prevents patients from leaving the bed unassisted, thereby reducing fall risk.
In the oncology ambulatory setting, inspection, measurement and classification of patient output is a labour-intensive process that is currently performed manually by the nurses. During chemotherapy, the patient output could contain cytotoxic waste. The use of robotic solutions to inspect toxic human output and perform automatic disposal in an oncology care setting not only improves the productivity of the nursing team, it also improves their safety by minimising cytotoxic exposure.
Principal Investigator: Ms Lee Chen Ee
Host Institution: SingHealth
SHARP Grant ref: 192 22 00006