Robots could take blood samples in the near future, benefiting both patients and healthcare professionals.
A Rutgers team has created a blood collection robot that is as efficient as if not more than human operators. This is clearly indicated by the results of the first human clinical study of an automatic blood collection and analysis device.
The device provides quick results and would allow healthcare professionals to relieve themselves. To spend more time treating patients in hospitals and other contexts, and not in manual and distracting operations.
The results, published in the Technology journal, are comparable or superior to clinical standards, with an overall success rate of 87% for the 31 participants whose blood was drawn. For the 25 people whose veins were most easily accessible, the success rate was 97%.
The device includes an ultrasound robot that creates a real "map" of the veins: the system is completed by the machine that manages the samples and a centrifugal blood analyzer. The system could be used in bed and in ambulances, emergency rooms, clinics, doctors' offices, hospitals, wherever there are patients who require it.
The most widespread practice in the world
La venipuncture, which involves inserting a needle into a vein to take a blood sample or perform intravenous therapy, is the most common clinical procedure in the world, performed almost all the time by those ward heroes who go by the name of nurses. In Italy it is performed almost 200 million times every year, but according to previous studies, doctors fail in 27% of patients without visible veins, in 40% of patients without palpable veins and in 60% of emaciated patients.
This is to say one thing that is obvious but still sounds bad:
venipuncture is a major cause of patient injury. Furthermore, a difficult access to the veins can increase the time of the procedures up to an hour, requires more staff and involves higher costs.
“A device like ours could help doctors get blood samples quickly, safely and reliably. There robotics and AI can prevent unnecessary complications and pain in patients caused by multiple needle insertion attempts ". This was stated by the lead author, a doctoral student in the biomedical engineering department of Rutgers University's School of Engineering.
The next steps include refining the device to improve blood draw success rates in patients with difficult-to-access veins.