1 April 2019

In BMJ Quality & Safety Roel Boumans and colleagues from the department of Geriatrics showed that social robots may effectively and acceptably assist healthcare professionals by interviewing older adults on their perceived health status.

Healthcare professionals are confronted with an increased demand for assessments of important health status measures, such as Patient-Reported Outcome Measurements (PROMs), and the time this requires. At the same time social robots are increasingly being used to interview persons. Roel Boumans, Marcel Olde Rikkert and colleagues from the department of Geriatrics report on the first successfully conducted a study in which a social robot administered PROM questionnaires to older persons. Three questionnaires were administered with a total of 52 questions to 42 community-dwelling older adults (mean age: 77.1 years,  45% female). The same questionnaire was administered by a nurse in a second session with two weeks difference between both sessions. Remarkably, the mean robot interview duration was not significantly longer than the nurse interviews. Moreover, the acquired healthcare data showed good agreement between the three questionnaires on frailty, well-being and resilience. The robot autonomously completed 93% of the interviews and the older persons were positive on the interaction with the robot. Therefore this study paved an important pathway to more routine use of social robots in clinical practice of elderly care, but it may of course also be translated in robot assisted data collection in research project. 

Robot for health data acquisition among older adults: a pilot randomised controlled cross-over trial.
Boumans R, van Meulen F, Hindriks K, Neerincx M, Olde Rikkert MGM.
BMJ Quality & Safety. 20 March 2019.

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