DR. SAMINA ALI SITS WITH MEDI.
Can technology improve a child’s experience in the emergency room? The Stollery’s new robot suggests a world of possibilities BY ROBBIE JEFFREY
professor. The Stollery acquired MEDi after Dr. aybe you’ve seen someone dance Samina Ali, a pediatric emergency physician since the robot to Justin Timberlake’s 2001 and a professor at the University of Alberta’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling.” It’s unfaculty of medicine and dentistry, made a request likely, however, that you’ve seen to the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation for an actual robot do it. $20,000 to fund the purchase. She wanted to For some children at the Stollery Children’s determine if this technology could ease Hospital, it’s a common sight. That rochildren’s pain and distress in the bot is MEDi, which is at the Stollery HIS PRESENCE emergency department. “If an iPad to lift distressed kids’ spirits. Just worked as well as a $20,000 robot, under two feet tall, MEDi’s fuIN THE ROOM then the Stollery should invest in turistic-looking body is padded SEEMS TO LIFT THE iPads,” she says. “But if this robot with metallic blue touch-sensitive SPIRITS OF shows that it’s effective, in a way sensors across its chest, shoulEVERYONE our day-to-day technologies of lapders, hands and head. Its voice is DR. SAMINA ALI tops, iPads and smartphones are not, calming, it’ll call you by name and then it’s well worth the investment.” it’s charismatic, for a robot. To stand MEDi’s first purpose at the Stollery is up after powering on, it stabilizes itself research: Dr. Ali began a randomized control trial with one arm behind it, then propels upward, like for children ages six to 12. The researchers measomeone rising after sitting in the grass. sure pain and distress scores during experiencMEDi is an acronym for Medicine and Engineeres like inserting an IV, to see if MEDi’s presence ing Designing Intelligence, and its software was helps. But MEDi can be programmed for all kinds built by Dr. Tanya Beran, a University of Calgary
HEROES MAGAZINE | FALL 2017
Stories from the Stollery Children's Hospital Foundation.