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More Than a Helper – Moxi Robots Empower Nurses, Delight Patients

By Bradd Busick, Senior Vice President & Chief Information Officer
and Alex Jackson, Senior Vice President & Chief Executive, Inland Northwest Region
, MultiCare

Health care is the ultimate team-based industry — doctors, nurses, and other professionals must collaborate to deliver safe, seamless care.


In 2023, MultiCare Health System was the first health organization in Washington state to welcome a new kind of teammate — an autonomous mobile robot named Moxi.


Equipped with a set of wheels, a robotic arm, and flashing heart eyes, Moxi robots scoot down the hallways of select MultiCare hospitals, including MultiCare Deaconess Hospital, performing routine tasks that often take our nurses and other clinical team members away from the bedside.


While Moxi robots are undoubtedly novel, the choice to implement them was based on necessity. Health systems from coast to coast, including MultiCare, face staffing shortages, particularly for registered nurses (RNs). Between 2020-21, more than 100,000 RNs dropped out of the workforce, according to a Health Affairs Forefront article, exacerbating a shortage that existed pre-pandemic.


Beyond mitigating this growing workforce gap, MultiCare is also committed to addressing challenges RNs face on the job that can lead to burnout. Over the course of 52 listening sessions held with 1,000 nurses across our system, we learned they were spending too much time doing mundane, nonclinical tasks — like hunting for and gathering supplies —that don’t leverage their depth of knowledge or expertise.


Our RNs needed an innovative solution that would free up their time, so they could do what they do best — direct patient care.


That’s when MultiCare turned to Moxi. Created by the artificial intelligence company Diligent Robotics, Moxi removes the burden of rote, non-patient-facing tasks for our nurses and other clinical team members. For example, Moxi gathers and delivers medications, lab specimens, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other items.


And the results speak for themselves: In the three and a half months that MultiCare has piloted Moxi robots at select hospitals, they have made 9,955 deliveries, saving our staff members 4.92 million steps and allowing them to focus on the complex clinical care they are trained to provide.


Part of the secret of Moxi’s success at MultiCare is that we have not approached it with a set-it-and-forget-it attitude. Our nurses and team members are constantly brainstorming new ways we could use Moxi — for example, programming it to move telemetry equipment (devices that monitor heart rhythms) from one place to another.


While Moxi was designed to help nurses, the robot has been a hit with patients and visitors, too. People often want to pose for selfies with Moxi and write comments in our patient care surveys about the “cool robot.” In more ways than one, use of Moxi gives us a competitive advantage that aligns with our culture of expanding access to care and continuously improving quality of care.


In his book “Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again,” physician Eric Topol writes that AI has the power to create more opportunities for health care providers to connect with patients — and that is the lasting value that Moxi brings to our health system. Not only do our clinical team members benefit from thoughtful adoption of AI like Moxi robots; our patients deserve it.

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