A Chinese-made robot delivers medical records inside a hospital in Bangkok. Photo: Xinhua
A Chinese-made robot delivers medical records inside a hospital in Bangkok. Photo: Xinhua

A trio of Chinese-made robots have been alleviating a manpower shortage by dispensing pills at the busy outpatient ward of a major medical center in Bangkok, with patients amazed by the machines but nurses wondering about their job security should the management of Mongkutwattana General Hospital decide to procure more of the machines.

The so-called automated guided vehicles were manufactured by a Shenzhen-based tech start-up and programmed to interact with operators in both Chinese and Thai.

Dressed in nurse uniforms, the robots are also assigned to deliver medical records among departments and wards, sliding along a black magnetic tape adhered to the floor, and will stop if there is a person or obstacle in the way, Xinhua reports.

Technicians can log in to change the settings on a touchscreen installed on the back of the robots.

Robots follow a black magnetic tape on the floor and will stop if someone is in the way. Photo: Xinhua

Not only do these robots offer a helping hand, they also delight the patients as well, especially children.

Dr Reinthong Nanna, of the hospital’s outpatient ward, said the trial would progressively be expanded to other departments such as the pharmacy, kitchen and laundry as part of a broader automation program.

“They can take elevators themselves to many floors, to transport documents and pills to the counters, and kids like having them around,” he said.

Another major medical center in the Thai capital, Siriraj Hospital, has been bringing in robots since 2017 to reduce human errors and enhance efficiency, according to the Bangkok Post.

The machines can help increase accuracy in preparing prescriptions and improve patient safety, the report said.

A robot performs an orthopedic survey in a hospital in Hefei, China. Photo: CRI

China Radio International reported in January that a domestically developed robot had been put into use at a hospital in Hefei in the central province of Anhui to help perform orthopedic surgeries, said to be the world’s only robot capable of performing surgery on all parts of the human spine.