Stockholm County’s innovative new hospital – robots and much more

5/20/2016 12:00 PM CET

Stockholm County’s future of healthcare – of which New Karolinska Solna (NKS) is an essential part – is taking a big step forward on June 2, when Skanska’s Swedish Hospital Partners team will present the Stockholm County Council with the “key” to the first half of this innovative new hospital.

Twenty-nine robots
1 / 3 Twenty-nine robots will make 1,600 daily deliveries of patient meals, pharmaceuticals and more.
Patient bathrooms like this were assembled by robots
2 / 3 Patient bathrooms like this were assembled by robots in northern Sweden, sealed and then delivered nearly ready to use to the project site.
Custom designed patient room
3 / 3 Custom designed patient room door handles are meant to be operated by elbows to help reduce the spread of infections.

This 106,000-square-meter section, to be used for pediatrics and heart care, will open to patients in November.

But you don’t have to wait to explore this hospital, which we are delivering on-time and on-budget through a public-private partnership. Besides PPP, here are some other smart solutions at NKS:

Make way for the robots

Patient meals, bedding, sterile goods, pharmaceuticals and other materials will be delivered mainly using automated guided vehicles (AGVs). These are robots weighing 450 kilograms that will roll along service corridors, and even use elevators dedicated to their use. (They will be silent unless they need to use their synthetic speech to ask someone to move out of their way.) Each day the robots will carry out 1,600 deliveries, but never directly to patients. (This video demonstrates how they will work.)

This system is highly automated: robots will approach special carts loaded with supplies and will know where to take each delivery after scanning an electronic chip on the carts. The fleet of 29 robots will make deliveries when the goods are needed, so wards won’t need large storage areas.

“Find my iPhone” for hospitals

Equipment such as beds and medical-technical equipment will be tracked using small transmitters. These tags will transmit signals in real time over the wireless network. This will make it easy to find equipment that is on loan to another unit, for example.

Designed for elbows

Patient room door handles are very easy to push down, and for good reason: This allows people to operate the handles using their elbows, instead of their hands. This design – specially developed for NKS – will help reduce the spread of infections. These handles satisfy demands for fire safety, accessibility and healthcare hygiene.

Quality in every detail

Patient bathrooms, pipe configurations and sections of facade and structural concrete were assembled off-site in factories, and then transported to the hospital. This approach helped improve construction efficiencies and safety, and the standardized factory conditions guarantee higher end product quality than on-site construction.

For instance, the 618 patient bathrooms were assembled by robots in northern Sweden, with even tile, toilets and hand towel hooks installed – the bathrooms were nearly ready for use. These modules were then sealed and transported to the hospital site in Solna, where they were lifted into final position and connected to utilities.

The university hospital of tomorrow

New Karolinska Solna is setting new standards for sustainability and value-added delivery through a long-term public-private partnership (PPP).