Nurses and similar professional caregivers suffer a higher rate of musculoskeletal injury than any other U.S. profession, outpacing shipping and freight handlers. According to surveys by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are more than 35,000 back and other injuries among nursing employees every year, severe enough that they have to miss work. Direct and indirect costs associated with only back injuries in the healthcare industry are estimated to be $20 billion annually. This fact is largely due to unsafe patient lifting.
The research and development team's efforts resulted in the RoNA Robotic Patient Lifting System—an autonomous robotic nursing assistant capable of helping healthcare providers maneuver and lift patients weighing up to 500 pounds.
Features and Benefits
RoNA will deliver a positive increase in benefits commonly associated with traditional safe patient lifting methods, including:
• Reduced incidence of clinician workplace injuries, associated workers' compensation claims and lost work time
• Fewer patient falls and injuries due to improper or unsafe lifting
• Improved clinician staff retention and satisfaction
• Improved patient satisfaction
• Increased patient referrals
Competing primarily against ceiling-mounted lift systems, mobile sling systems, and patient lift teams, RoNA offers distinct advantages:
• Mobility and maneuverability: Ceiling systems are fixed while mobile slings have restricted mobility, limiting how and where patients are served. RoNA is completely mobile and omnidirectional, per its use of mecanum wheels. As a result, RoNA navigates and works in areas—confined or otherwise—where common lifting systems cannot.
• Telepresence support: Remotely-located clinical experts can 'visit' patients, monitor physiological data in real-time and complement an on-site support team's diagnosis and treatment.
• Patient Safety: RoNA is an intelligent learning system employing zero moment point (ZMP) stability systems in conjunction with unique haptic feedback. Consequently, RoNA senses a patient's center of gravity during a lift and automatically adjusts. The patient will feel and be more secure during RoNA's lift and physical transfer than those of a human.
• Employee injury, worker compensation, and premature retirement reduction: In facilities without safe patient handling systems, RoNA will deliver all benefits of a safe lifting program, reducing worker's compensation and injury-related costs by 40 percent or more. In facilities with existing programs, RoNA will increase compliance while further reducing injury-related costs and occurances. In turn, premature retirement rates will also be positively affected.
• Staffing and equipment needs reduction: A single RoNA eliminates the need for a dedicated lift team serving 100 beds.
US Patent US-2012-0283746-A1 “A Mobile Medical Robotic System”