Millions of cleaning workers in the healthcare industry are on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19, the novel coronavirus responsible for the rapidly evolving global pandemic. At hospitals, LTCFs (long term care facilities), and senior living facilities, these unsung heroes are working daily to flatten the curve and continuously support both public and private sector facilities.
The Challenge: Unprecedented Demand and a Reduced Labor Pool
Ongoing cleaning is essential to these healthcare facilities; however, neither cleaning companies nor property managers had envisioned a scenario where their operations would be hit simultaneously by both unprecedented demand and a reduced labor pool.
“We never really realize how important cleaning is until we realize that there’s an epidemic out there that’s just beginning to spread,” said the president of a West Coast Services Professionals organization recently (Citylab). With the “new normal” of shelter-in-place, workers have to do more with less – fewer people to assist and slower access to supplies.
"One of the things that this pandemic is showing us is that we don't have enough trained individuals," said Patty Olinger, Executive Director of the Global BioRisk Advisory Council, a division of the International Sanitary Supply Association trade group (NPR).
The Solution: Augment Your Cleaning Capabilities with Robotics
With fewer workers and skyrocketing demand, cleaning companies in the healthcare sector are turning to robotics to augment their cleaning workforce. Robotic cleaning solutions combine machine intelligence with human intelligence to optimize cleaning efficiency and worker safety. Whiz, the autonomous vacuum sweeper from SoftBank Robotics America, can collaborate with your cleaning crew, take on the repetitive task of vacuuming, and free up time for disinfecting, deep cleaning, and other tasks that require human decision-making.
There are 3 key areas where Whiz can help cleaning companies respond to COVID-19 right now:
1. React Quickly Despite Labor Shortages
There is increased demand for cleaning and unpredictable fluctuations in staffing. With the discovery of the presence of the COVID-19 virus in a building, whether a nursing home or a hospital floor, there is a demand for immediate and more thorough cleaning. Meanwhile, cleaning companies are facing acute labor shortages when the cleaning crew is suddenly short-staffed either because of shelter-in-place mandates or their own illness.
With the need for timely supply of labor, commercial vacuum cleaning robots can help augment cleaning crews in a timely and efficient manner. With Whiz, overall cleaning efficiency is increased by 30%, enabling cleaning teams to focus on disinfecting, implementing new business continuity guidelines, and more.
2. Reduce Exposure Risks
While hospitals and elderly care facilities have always held high standards for cleanliness and protecting their staff, the coronavirus pandemic has raised risks to new heights. By leveraging robots as an addition to your workforce, you can clean specific areas multiple times over without the risk of exposing workers. In addition, with autonomous cleaning solutions, the quality of cleaning is consistent, thorough, and efficient. Whiz, for example, can be programmed to run different routes and cover large areas multiple times. Whiz also delivers 50% cleaner floors, further reducing the risk of exposure.
3. Comply with Enhanced Cleaning Policies
Healthcare facilities are governed by standards and policies established to optimize the health and safety of both staff and patients. The COVID-19 situation has increased these standards and mandates overnight. In addition, the CDC has recently established COVID-19 preparedness guidelines for hospitals, as well as for long term healthcare facilities and nursing homes. It is more important than ever for cleaning companies to demonstrate compliance with regulations and deliver high quality cleaning for healthcare facilities.
AI-enabled robots provide visibility and clear metrics for cleaning performance. For example, cleaning can be verified with proof of performance reports, and operational insights can be viewed and analyzed via intuitive dashboards. With Whiz for example, cleaning reports can confirm the square footage cleaned, the areas cleaned, time and date of cleaning, and more, enabling you to measurably demonstrate compliance with cleaning standards.
These are unprecedented times. We hear new information about the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on an hourly basis. Just a couple of days ago, an entire elderly care facility in New Jersey was “presumed coronavirus positive” (NBC News). There is heightened focus on cleanliness and hygiene across all industries as well as concerns whether there are enough workers to clean. These are times when the frontline workers need all the tools available to flatten the curve and to optimize the safety of their patients, themselves, their families, and their communities. Autonomous robots like SoftBank Robotics’ Whiz can help augment these critical workers.
SoftBank Robotics’ vision is to apply robots to benefit humanity. Our mission is to continuously commercialize robotics solutions that help make people's lives easier, safer, more connected, and more extraordinary. We continue to demonstrate our commitment to our mission by providing robotic solutions to our colleagues in hospitals and elderly care with timely, helpful robots like Whiz.
Please click here to contact us and discuss how Whiz can help your organization.