Leveraging Emerging Robotic Force Multipliers in the MHS Workplace


Objective: I propose a three-part initiative to introduce a new wave of robotic systems within MHS facilities with the intention of leveraging emerging robotic manufacturing and logistical capabilities to reduce per capita costs associated with personnel and contract services for routine operations.

Background. The January 13, 2013, edition of CBS News "60 Minutes" reported that, because of robotics, manufacturing may at long last be returning to the USA from lower labor cost manufacturing centers in Asia. Likewise civilian health care systems are rapidly replacing human logistical and administrative support personnel with robots in such routine hospital operations as appointment scheduling; pharmacy operations; mail, medical supplies and pharmaceutical deliveries to wards and clinics; food service operations in kitchens, cafeterias, and delivery to patient rooms; maintenance, power and heating plant operations, patient transportation, and waste removal. Moreover several robotics experts claim that robots can perform most repetitive manufacturing, logistical, and health care tasks at about $3.00 per hour. While MHS facilities have variously implemented some degree of robotic augmentation to human staffs, the levels of such automation do not match that of the most progressive civilian health care systems.

Phase I. Conduct an extensive study of emerging robotic capabilities within the civilian world to include but not limited to the health care industry. Perform return-on-investment (ROI) studies for each of those capabilities and make recommendations for adoption of those robotic capabilities with promise for reduction in per capital costs within MHS hospitals and clinics. a. 3 months. b. No costs except my government time and TDY and that of my TATRC team members ($25K), but cooperation is required from MHS hospital and clinic facility managers to share knowledge and experience.

Phase II. Conduct an operational and technical trial of selected robotic technologies in one MHS hospital and one MHS clinic without reducing staff. Simultaneously identify those staff positions and support contracts which can be eliminated as a result of robotizing their duties. Project per capita cost savings. a. 1 year. b. Cost to be determined by the study, but will include cost of robots to be employed, installation, training, and support costs.

Phase III. Expand trial to one MHS regional health care system. Eliminate or reduce identified personnel and contracts in order to achieve projected per capita cost savings. a. 2 years. b. Cost to be determined as part of the study.

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