Robot deve­lo­ped in Oulu saves thousands of work hours at Covid vacci­na­tions

Robo­tics deve­lo­ped by the City of Oulu boosts the vacci­na­tion process and saves thousands of work hours for nur­ses at coro­na­vi­rus vacci­na­tions.

Mass vacci­na­tions enga­ge healthca­re pro­fes­sio­nals eve­ry year. Each year citizens are vacci­na­ted against influenza, but the num­ber of coro­na­vi­rus vacci­na­tions this year is in a lea­gue of its own: approxi­ma­te­ly 300,000 Covid shots are given in Oulu this year.

A lar­ge num­ber of vacci­na­tions also requi­res a lot of staff resources. Befo­re robo­tics was deplo­yed, eve­ry vacci­na­tion event always requi­red two healthca­re pro­fes­sio­nals – now all it takes is one per­son.

– The deplo­y­ment of softwa­re robo­tics has reduced the num­ber of regis­te­ring errors and saved a notable amount of time as well as per­son­nel resources, says Hilk­ka Haa­ra­nie­mi, ser­vice super­vi­sor of healthca­re ser­vices and one of the deve­lo­pers of the robot.

Pre­vious­ly, mass vacci­na­tions were con­duc­ted by teams of two nur­ses: one admi­nis­te­red the shot and the other ente­red the vacci­na­tion data into the vacci­na­ted person’s patient record. Now the robot does the regis­te­ring. This chan­ge has freed both pro­fes­sio­nals from rou­ti­ne regis­te­ring tasks to vacci­na­ting cus­to­mers.

The process of vacci­na­tion has beco­me smoot­her over the spring. The vacci­na­ted per­son is now regis­te­red by rea­ding the per­so­nal data from the bar code of an ID card.

– Once the per­so­nal data have been read, the applica­tion com­mu­nica­tes if the per­son has alrea­dy been vacci­na­ted, when and with what. In other words, the applica­tion warns us not to vacci­na­te the cus­to­mer with anot­her dose too soon, Haa­ra­nie­mi explains.

The bar code is used also to read the vaccine’s data, such as its mar­ket name, infor­ma­tion on which shoul­der it is injec­ted, and how many injec­tions the cus­to­mer has had. The vaccine’s batch num­ber is ente­red into the app manual­ly only when the batch num­ber chan­ges.

First, the data are trans­fer­red secu­re­ly to a pro­tec­ted data­ba­se from which the softwa­re robot trans­fers them to the person’s patient record along with data about who injects the vacci­ne. From the patient record, the vacci­na­tion data is trans­fer­red to the customer’s per­so­nal citizens’ healthca­re pages.

Softwa­re robo­tics were also used in the spring to book around 14,000 appoint­ments for a second vacci­na­tion.

The per­son­nel resources saved can be esti­ma­ted in the fol­lowing way: as the work done by the robot saves at least two minu­tes of work for eve­ry vacci­na­tion, the saved amount adds up to 5000 hours with 300,000 vacci­na­tions, equal­ling almost 700 work­days. Robo­tics can be uti­li­sed also in futu­re mass vacci­na­tions, such as influenza vacci­na­tions next autumn.

The softwa­re robo­tics solu­tion has been co-deve­lo­ped by Oulun Digi, City of Oulu healthca­re ser­vices, and Q‑Factory.