The PenelopeCS family of products focuses on automation in the hospital's sterile supply department. There are many manual, repetitive tasks in this process well suited for automation. RST's core technology focuses on autonomous robotic workcells that can manipulate, track, sort, and process surgical instruments and supplies. With the PenelopeCS product line, RST will apply this technology to various sterile supply tasks to increase efficiency, reduce errors, enhance inventory control, and reduce costs.
The sterile supply department is the heart of the hospital's surgical instrument supply chain. Every day, thousands of used instruments pass through sterile supply to be cleaned, counted, inspected, repacked, and sterilized. A delay or an error in sterile supply can impact scheduling, cost, and even patient safety in the OR. RST feels the time is right for automation in the sterile supply department.
Robots have been a mainstay in the manufacturing world for decades, helping make everything from cars to cookies. PenelopeCS will bring some of these tried-and-true automation techniques to one of the most labor-intensive and error-prone departments in the hospital — sterile supply.
The first product in RST's PenelopeCS line will focus on the clean side of sterile supply. The advance will be dramatic. The robot will ensure that each tray sent to the OR will have exactly those instruments specified on the count sheet and that they are all in good working order. And like a good robot, it will do this automatically, precisely, and reliably — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Our Sterile Supply 101 page describes how sterile supply is divided into a dirty and a clean side. Our flagship PenelopeCS will work on the clean side; counting, inspecting, sorting, and packing instruments. The goal is to ensure that the contents of each container have been verified and neatly packed before it is closed and placed in the autoclave. Furthermore, as these instruments are loaded, PenelopeCS will seamlessly update the hospital's inventory control system — tracking each container and the instruments within it, while reducing the workload on sterile supply staff.
PenelopeCS will work in conjunction with a variety of third-party instrument identification systems, using either RFIDs or barcodes to "mark" individual instruments with a unique code. The robot is identification system agnostic in this regard. PenelopeCS is based on RST's extensible hardware/software framework comprised of a Core Robotic Workcell and a diverse set of Plugin Components — task-specific hardware assemblies installed within the robot's workcell. A variety of RFID and/or barcode scanners will be packaged as Plugins and integrated within PenelopeCS, providing great flexibility for our customers.