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In Technology and health care : official journal of the European Society for Engineering and Medicine

BACKGROUND : Many inpatients become anxious or frightened about scheduled treatment processes, and medical staff do not have sufficient time to provide emotional support. The recent advancement of information and communications technology (ICT) and the use of artificial intelligence (AI), including robots, in the health care field is being put to the test.

OBJECTIVE : This study aimed to develop a bedside robot system to deliver information and provide emotional support to inpatients and to evaluate the usability and perceptions of the developed robot.

METHODS : The first stage was accomplished by deriving essential functions from the results of user demand surveys on robots and by implementing a prototype by mapping each essential function to the robot's hardware and software. For the second stage, the robot was assessed for usability and perceptions in a simulation center, a hospital-like environment, by 10 nurses, 10 inpatients, and family caregivers. Usability and perception were evaluated using the think-aloud method, a survey, and individual interviews.

RESULTS : Based on the usability evaluation, the perceived usefulness, ease of use, and satisfaction were 5.28 ± 1.27 points, 5.42 ± 1.55 points, and 5.27 ± 1.46 points out of 7, respectively. It was found that overall, the robot was positively perceived by participants. As a result of the qualitative data analysis, the participants perceived the robot as an object that had the positive effect of providing emotional support through communication.

CONCLUSIONS : The bedside robot in this study, which incorporated human-robot interaction (HRI) technology, is an alternative suited to the new normal era that will contribute to ensuring that patients have more self-directed hospital stays as well as emotional support through information delivery and communication.

Yoo Hye Jin, Kim Jeongeun, Kim Sukwha, Jang Seon Mi, Lee Hyeongsuk


Robotics, artificial intelligence, caregivers, inpatients, patient-centered care, point-of-care systems