AUSTIN (KXAN) — A robot made to handle routine hospital tasks so nurses can focus more on patients is now delivering Kendra Scott’s iconic yellow bags to cancer patients.
Diligent Robotics, the Austin-based company that created artificial intelligence robot Moxi, is partnering with Kendra Scott to make the “Kendra Cares” program a little more special — and safer — for pediatric patients across the nation.
The Kendra Cares creative arts program gives patients and their caregivers a chance to design their own pieces of customized jewelry at no cost. What started as a monthly program at one hospital has blossomed to reach more than 20,000 patients at 40 hospitals, and Moxi is becoming the program’s delivery system.
Participants in the program designed their jewelry using an iPad to talk with Kendra Cares staff members. Once they’re satisfied with their creations, Moxi comes in. The robot takes the place of the typically-human delivery person and interacts with the patient, delivering their jewelry to their door.
“With the global pandemic, we have all experienced the need to find new ways to connect,” Scott said. “Often, technology is helping us do so.”
Moxi made its very first deliveries at the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. Within the next month, it will be deployed in other Texas hospitals and possibly in Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin, according to a Kendra Scott spokesperson. The goal is to have Moxi travel to every hospital in the Kendra Cares program by the end of the year.
Moxi’s short history in Texas has been very productive. KXAN’s Arezow Doost profiled the robot and how it helps nurses complete mundane tasks not directly involved with patient care so the nurses can focus on caring for patients, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While robots are seen as the future by many in the industry, Moxi isn’t meant to replace anybody, said Josh Kemph, chief operating officer at Medical City Heart Hospital and Medical City Spine Hospital in Dallas.
Kemph said the hospital has been using Moxi for about a year. The robot delivers Personal Protective Equipment, coronavirus and other lab samples and COVID-19 tests. The robot also picks up and delivers anything dropped off for patients. Kemph said Moxi takes hours of tasks off nurses’ plates, and the hospital plans on getting another one.
For the Kendra Cares program, not only does Moxi provide a safe way to interact with patients during the pandemic, but it’s also cool for kids to talk with a robot and aims to “create very special moments for pediatric cancer patients.”
The full partnership is expected to launch later in April.