Experiences with Autonomous Mobile Robots in French Hospitals

  • France
  • Healthcare
  • 12 delegates
  • September 2023
On September 28 and 29, Dialog Health organized a performance-sharing mission for the French National Agency for Care Performance (ANAP). On the program: an immersion at the Nantes University Hospital and the Cholet general hospital, pioneers in the adoption of autonomous mobile robots (AMR) for hospital logistics in France.
On September 28 and 29, 2023, 12 delegates from France and Switzerland travelled to Nantes and Cholet (France) to discover their autonomous hospital logistics robots (AMR). Supported by Franck Caupin, logistics expert from the Agence Nationale d'Appui à la Performance (ANAP), the professionals discovered the transformative impact of using autonomous mobile robots, and in particular how these technologies save frontline staff time on a daily basis.

At Nantes University Hospital, the project began when the preparation of flexible endoscopes was centralized in a single center located further away from the departments. Today, autonomous mobile robots (AMR) are used to transport endoscopes from the operating room, intensive care unit, endoscopy and interventional areas to the central sterilization. This journey takes 12 minutes at its longest. AMRs make more than 60 delivery missions a day. The use of robots has not only saved courier time, but also smoothed out the disinfection activity (previously there were only four runs a day). At night and weekends, the AMR goes to the emergency department, where it carries out the laboratory runs. AMRs can be adapted to any type of building, with no special requirements other than functional elevators and automatic doors.

At the Cholet hospital, the economic and logistics services department has designed a total logistics and hotel service for the departments, with the explicit aim of relieving healthcare professionals of time-consuming tasks that are not part of their core missions. They use their AMR to transport chemotherapies to the requesting departments, thus avoiding the need for caregivers to travel across the hospital. Since March 2022, the robot has covered 5,500 km and carried out 20,000 missions, i.e. 40 km a day. Nicknamed WALLI, the AMR has been very well accepted by the teams, who are delighted with the time it saves them.

The ANAP performance-sharing study mission was an opportunity for exchange and discovery, enabling participants to understand the practical issues involved in adopting an AMR. They can now look forward with confidence to deployment within their establishments, in full awareness of the stakes (material, financial, organizational).
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