NAE/CCC Workshop on the Role of Robotics in Infectious Disease Crises
This is a virtual workshop to study the role of robotic systems in infectious disease crises, to be held on July 9-10th, 2020 with joint sponsorship of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the Computing Community Consortium (CCC).
The recent coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the challenges faced by the healthcare, public safety, and economic systems when confronted with a surge in patients that require intensive treatment and a population that must be quarantined or shelter in place. The most obvious and pressing challenge is taking care of acutely ill patients while managing spread of infection within the care facility, but this is just the tip of the iceberg if we consider what could be done to prepare in advance for future pandemics. Beyond the obvious need for strengthening medical knowledge and preparedness, there is a complementary need to anticipate and address the engineering challenges associated with pandemic infectious disease emergencies.
Robotic technologies are inherently programmable, and robotic systems have been adapted and deployed to some extent in the current crisis for such purposes as transport, logistics, and disinfection. As technical capabilities advance and as the installed base of robotic systems increases in the future, they could play a much more significant role in future crises, especially if
an appropriate strategy can be developed and implemented now. Potential uses include at least six areas: 1) in-patient clinical care; 2) public health uses outside of in-patient care settings; 3) home care support; 4) healthcare laboratory and supply chain automation; 5) continuity of work, government, and quarantine support; and 6) public safety. Each of these requires different physical platforms, involves different public, regulatory, or private stakeholders, and emphasizes different aspects of robotics.
Preparing for the next crisis will necessarily require planning and creation (in advance) of partnerships between public agencies (e.g., local and state health departments), hospitals and personal care physicians (which are often privately owned and operated), public safety and transportation agencies, and private industry. This workshop will include representatives from the engineering/robotics community, clinicians, critical care workers, public health and safety experts, and emergency responders.
Its overall goal is to write a report that outlines a strategy for increasing national preparedness to use robotic systems and technology in future infectious disease emergencies. The report will briefly 1) identify key challenges faced by health care responders and the general population; 2) examine robotic/technological responses to these challenges; 3) identify key research/knowledge barriers that need to be addressed in developing effective, scalable solutions; 4) identify workforce training, regulatory, and infrastructure needs that should be addressed in order to enable rapid deployment of these systems; and 5) suggest follow-on steps to more fully develop and implement this strategy.
July 9, 2020 (Thursday)
|11:00 AM||Welcome / Introductions / Opening|
Ezekiel Jonathan “Zeke” Emanuel is an American oncologist, bioethicist and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. He is the current Vice Provost for Global Initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania and chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy.
|12:00 PM||Stage Setting Talks- A
What are the needs and roles for robotics in infectious disease crises such as the current COVID-19 pandemic?
|12:30 PM||Breakout A|
|01:45 PM||Report Back A|
|02:30 PM||Stage Setting Talks- B
What are the technology and technical readiness challenges in meeting those needs?
|03:00 PM||Breakout B|
|04:15 PM||Report Back B|
|04:45 PM||Wrap Up Day 1|
July 10, 2020 (Friday)
|11:00 AM||Day 2 Welcome/Recap|
|11:05 AM||Stage Setting Talks- C
What is the role of research, industry, and government in accelerating readiness for the next crisis?
|11:35 AM||Breakout C|
|01:00 PM||Report Back C|
|01:45 PM||Full Group Conversation|
This workshop is by invitation only. While virtual, we expect participants to participate in as much of the two-day workshop as possible.