ROBOT TURNS COUNSELLOR

As we all know that the whole country is suffering from the Covid-19 pandemic and its ever-increasing cases are hitting the country at a high pace. The scenario of a Covid-19 hospital is disturbing, and the patients go through a mental trauma there. There is no family member allowed a patient; they have to be in complete isolation. This affects them emotionally, and mental health is an important thing for the treatment of Covid-19.

First time in Noida, Yatharth Hospital has put a robot at work to calm the patients and to cope up with their anxiety. The robot is named ‘Mitra’. The robot does counseling of patients and not only that it also connects the patients with their friends and families through video calling via a screen embedded in its body.

According to Dr. Sunil Kumar, medical superintendent at Yatharth Hospital, “ We decided to start taking the help of robots because Mental health is very much important in the treatment of Covid-19. Mental wellness helps to boost the immunity of patients.

The robot helps the patients to talk with psychiatrists via the screen on its body and let them ask their queries. As mobile phones are not allowed inside the ICU at many Covid hospitals, the ‘Mitra’ robot can connect them with their families and friends through video calls.”

A similar robot is also installed at the other Non-Covid branches of the hospital in Sector 110, Noida, and Sector Omicron 1, Greater Noida. These robots are used to screen patients for influenza-like illnesses (ILI). The robot can be seen at the main entrance of the hospital. The robot asks the visitors a few questions about the symptoms of Covid and also checks their temperature. After the checking, it prints an entry pass for them if the temperature is normal. The entry pass has the screening result, name, and picture of the person on it.

The ‘Mitra’ robot is designed by a Bengaluru-based start-up company named Invento Robotics. The hospital bought two robots, and its price was Rs. 10 lakh each. The hospital deployed one robot at their Noida Extension Facility. The second robot is being used in Sector Omicron 1 hospital but the former was installed in the Sector 110 facility. The robot deployed at Sector Omicron 1 screens more than 500 OPD patients and also relatives of IPD patients every day.

The use of robots for the counseling of Covid patients is a new reform in the health treatment sector. Robots can help in a contactless screening of patients in the hospital. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has also started using robots in its Covid-19 facilities at Delhi and Jhajjar for the contactless screening of the temperature of patients. AIIMS has also deployed a similar robot at the Jhajjar facility.

A Gurugram-based company designs the robot used by AIIMS. The robots can not only be used for screening at hospitals, but it also can connect the patients with their loved ones so that they don’t feel loneliness and try to fight with Covid.

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