Hadassah Medical, an Israeli hospital chain that has a clinic at Skolkovo Innovation Center, has begun taking on patients to be tested using robotics produced by Promobot, a Skolkovo Foundation resident company. The diagnostics robot measures sugar and oxygen levels in the blood, lung volume, temperature, and screens the patient, and makes recommendations utilizing its built-in artificial intelligence.

Image: Hadassah Medical Center.

The automated robot mechanizes data collection, lifting some of the workload from doctors and allowing them to focus on solving a patient’s more pressing issues. Promobot’s director of development Oleg Kivokurtsev said, “Service robots are one of the most important new Russian brands. Collaboration with the world’s leading clinics is opening up possibilities for domestic robotics. The Covid-19 pandemic has proven that international cooperation is necessary for developments and does not just ‘ticking boxes’; right now it saves lives and people’s health.”

It would seem that increased automation and adoption of robotics in healthcare is only a matter of time, but there is a long way to go yet. According to data from the Ministry of Health of Russia, the country is currently suffering a shortage of both doctors and nurses and the numbers needed to fill those gaps amount to 148,000 and 800,000 respectively. This problem doesn’t just affect Russia though. The UK’s NHS is also facing a shortage of doctors and nurses according to the BBC. Indeed, the World Health Organization stated that Europe, with its ageing population, will need to see an increase in the number of medical graduates in order to guarantee at the very least the same number of physicians and nurses per capita.

The medical director of Hadassah Medical Moscow Timur Mubarakshin commented on the benefits of robots in a clinical setting. “Both the doctor and patient win. The doctor wins because the robot can give primary information about the patient’s state; the patients win because they get more attention. I’m glad that Hadassah Medical Moscow is using everything that’s new today in its practice. It is very inspiring when you can offer your patient the maximum.”

The Skolkovo Foundation’s head of robotics and artificial intelligence Pavel Krivozubov stated, “The situation brought about by Covid-19 dictates the new reality. IT companies have been forced to restructure their products and refit them with useful and current functionality. Promobot has already for a long time been one of the leaders in this trend. Also, during the period of the first wave of the pandemic, it successfully added new devices to its line of products. The refitting of the ‘classic’ Promobot is a continuation of the company’s development in the required and the right direction.”