Robotics nursing

With the growing opportunities in robotics and healthcare, the Center for Digital Health Innovation fosters learning opportunities between computer science and engineering and our health science students. These endeavors include grant funded projects, like the MARSS program or the use of our telepresence robots in courses or at community sites.

The CDHI assists faculty and students in the use of robotics either in the classroom or in the community. CDHI has a fleet of telepresence robots that are rotated and used at different community sites or in the classroom based on the needs of learning objectives. Thus preparing students for what they may encounter when working in the field.

Student and Professional Learning Opportunities

MARSS project

The MARSS project uses robotics and smart home tech to reduce caregiver burden and improve Alzheimer’s Disease care. This project prepares students to make meaningful contributions to society as leaders in a complex world. Experts from robotics, software security, occupational therapy, exercise science, nursing, and gerontology work in collaboration to design a robotics-based caregiving support framework.

Learn more: Robots for Aging

Telepresence Robots for Virtual Care
Telepresence robot

Nurses are known as the eyes and ears of the provider. They are often the first to recognize patient deterioration and are held accountable for acting on observed changes. This is often done by contacting the provider and utilizing communication scripting. To meet these goals, a simulation activity between undergraduate nursing and Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioners (AGACNP) students has been implemented the use of telepresence robots at the bedside that are used to connect the provider, played by AGACNP students, with the patient, family, and providers. The simulation activity includes a debrief per the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL). Students enrolled within both programs discuss the case, outcomes, interventions, and most importantly recommended interventions. Students are also provided an opportunity to discuss challenges with role transition into a nurse and AGACNP students are encouraged to provide insight and feedback into role development. Finally, this exercise and debrief discusses the importance of clinical communication and inclusion of the nurse in the diagnostic process. This supports the efforts to employ interdisciplinary rounds (IDR) and early nurse participation with goals of improved communication and quality of care.

Telepresence Robot Educational Videos

These videos were created to educate health care providers and students on best practices when engaging in telepractice. The videos highlight the use of telepresence robot, but all of the best practice tips can be applied to telehealth universally regardless of the technology used. The series follows a patient from an initial psychiatric consult with a primary care provider to the visit via telepractice with a psychiatric provider. Engaging in telepractice involves the use of many different skills. These videos cover how to evaluate a patient for a telepractice referral, introduce the patient to telepractice, make a warm handoff to the specialist via telepractice, build rapport using tele-etiquette, and conduct the telepsych visit. The videos are broken down into separate segments and can be used as needed for various educational venues.

Community Initiatives

Telepresence Robots for Community Care

CDHI utilizes telepresence robots to enhance access to telehealth services. The Sullivan County Department of Corrections in New Hampshire for example, employs a robot for behavioral health visits with incarcerated individuals.

A multi-stakeholder study by our team published in the Journal of Enabling Technologies highlights our exploration of facilitators and barriers to using telepresence robots for health programming at community living facilities. The study involved the use of a telepresence robot to deliver home wellness and tech literacy training to residents at an independent living facility. Our team gathered the perspectives of the residents, facility staff and student trainers involved with the program.



Alzheimer's Disease

Our innovative framework for Alzheimer's disease (AD) care offers evidence-supported modalities, including activity engagement, telehealth, home safety, and caregiver-care recipient connectivity. Our training program empowers non-technology experts (caregivers, family members, or health professionals) to customize these modalities based on disease severity and context.

Developed in alignment with the NIH Stage Model of Intervention Development, MARSS undergoes rigorous testing. Stages I and II involve scaling up the lab-based model for a community pilot test, optimizing engagement for individuals with AD and their caregivers (2022-2024). Stage III features an 18-month randomized controlled trial to validate MARSS's real-world efficacy (2025-2027). We seek 60 dyads for this trial, gathering data on functional independence, safety, and health for individuals with AD, as well as caregiver burden and wellbeing.

Join us on the journey of advancing care for Alzheimer's disease. Learn more at Robots for Aging.


Telepresence Robot Research Study
Robot in Assisted Living

Telepresence robots have gained prominence as a novel technological modality for mobile videoconferencing. Although the technology has mass appeal in the realm of telehealth and patient–health provider communication, its integration in community living settings for older adults has not been extensively studied. The aim of this study was to gather the perspectives of residents, trainers and staff at a retirement facility on their experience with a telepresence robot during and following a five-week wellness program. Learn more