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AGV takes over distribution of chemo therapy

Two years ago, the Oncology Department at the Hospital of South-ern Jutland in Sønderborg had to relocate. From being situated direct-ly above and in direct connection to the laboratory that administers the chemo therapies, the department relocated two tower blocks away and three stories up from the laboratory. Transport needs increased since delivery times for chemo therapies went from 15 seconds to over 10 minutes. 

To overcome the increased transportation times, the Hospital Pharmacy opted to try a MiR100 based Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) solution from Mobile Industrial Robots to transport medicine back and forth. This frees up staff to focus on patient related work instead. 

The AGV, dubbed ‘Ejnar’ by hospital staff, safely navigates through the complicated hospital environment of beds and patient traffic and is even capable of taking the elevator on its own.

If it gets stuck, it automatically sends a text to department staff who can reroute or remote control it via their smartphone. Once it reaches the department, it calls out for staff to let them know. The medicine is carried in drawers, which are accessed by code to avoid the use of keys. 

Ejnar has become an integrated part of the hospital environment and it is not uncommon to hear patients yell out “Hi Ejnar!” at the AGV or even talking to it when it passes in the hallways. 

Financially, the ROI (Return of Investment) of the AGV was no more than eight months. 

The first AGVs in hospitals were typically used to transport goods through basement corridors but with the positive ROI and experience of using AGVs to also distribute medicine directly to patient areas, the Hospital of Southern Jutland expects to expand with more of this type of AGV in the future.