Autonomous Robots Enhance the Visitor and Patient Experience in Healthcare

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A common question asked when looking into adopting autonomous security robots is “What can it do other than security?”  Adding people or devices to a security program is viewed by many as spending more money and getting nothing in return but hoping that it will reduce loss or aid in an investigation.  This is often referred to as “Security Theatre.”  But what if technology can impact our employees’ safety or be an engaging member of the team to help our visitors feel welcome and assisted? 

An article published by allnurses.com estimated that between 30% - 50% of nurses leave a hospital or quit the field altogether citing physical safety among their primary concerns. [1]  At the IAHSS 51st Annual Conference, crime reports showed that violent crime in hospitals has increased from 1.0 incidents per 100 beds to 1.4 per 100 beds.  Assaults increased from 9.3 incidents to 11.7 per 100 beds. [2]

One of our teammates, a former law enforcement officer who would moonlight in the ER Department of a Level 1 Trauma Center, says this was an all too common complaint he would field.  Nurses and Doctors were afraid to walk to their cars at night concerned that an angry patient was waiting for them or that they would find their vehicle broken into after a long shift.

Having an autonomous security presence that is seeing activity and reporting it directly to a security team establishes a safe environment and deters potential criminal actors from targeting employees.  This keeps staff safe and focused on the patients, not the fear of walking to their car at 2am, which reduces turnover and improves patient care.

Here’s a quote from a physician that had interacted with our security technology:

“When I’m walking to my car, and it’s 4 AM in the morning and really dark. I’ll be walking really carefully, holding tightly to my phone and keys. Then, I hear the Robot’s sound that it makes as it’s patrolling the garage, and a waive of relief washes over me, that I’m not alone, and it makes me feel better.”

Physical security technologies are also rarely seen as brand enhancing, a marketing tool or a way to improve the customer experience.  One area that is not directly observable, but significant to the reputation of a healthcare provider, is the Patient Satisfaction Survey.  You can give the best care available, but if the reputation of the hospital is that it is in an unsafe area or that patients and their families are victimized through property crime, assault, robbery or vagrant activity, a healthcare system’s revenue stream will fall.  You will then be forced to hire more security staff and, in the case of the Level 1 Trauma Center mentioned above, incorporate off duty law enforcement at a significant premium.  Perception drives reality, and a swarm of uniforms in the area tells visitors that they may not be safe at your healthcare facility.

Autonomous security robots not only provide a unique presence but serve a critical function in patient safety and satisfaction.  We can all agree that people love to see cool things.  Having a robot with your branding on the property that is greeting your patients and their families, answering common questions or randomly broadcasting information can greatly enhance the service you provide to patients and visitors.

Knightscope clients have shared with us how their robots have deterred crime, given their security team an advanced set of capabilities and brought joy and happiness to visitors and families.  The robot experience goes beyond standard security and builds a safety program that brings together multiple departments and organizational teams for the benefit of employee, patient and visitor healthcare. 

[1] https://allnurses.com/why-do-nurses-quit-t632768/

[2] https://www.campussafetymagazine.com/hospital/survey-hospital-crime/

 
 
William Santana Li