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The latest addition to the rheumatologists' team is named Arthur

Even though Arthur entered through the main entrance like any other employee on his first day at work, he is no ordinary staff member. He is, in fact, a robot. But the question arises: What role does a robot play in a rheumatology hospital?

By Nana Olejank Hansen, , 12/5/2023

ARTHUR is a robot with the ability to perform ultrasound scans of the hands of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. After completing the scan, ARTHUR generates a report for the rheumatologists, utilizing artificial intelligence (AI).

Researchers from the University of Southern Denmark and the Danish Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases are using the robot ARTHUR to explore the advantages and limitations of employing artificial intelligence in evaluating disease activity, such as flares, in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

- In the initial phase, we will familiarize ourselves with ARTHUR. Therefore, we are initiating a quality assurance project. Over the next few months, we will map expectations and experiences of using ARTHUR, says Oliver Hendricks, research leader and professor at the Danish Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases and Danish Center for Expertise in Rheumatology.

As part of the quality assurance project, the personnel at the Danish Hospital for Rheumatic diseases will undergo training in operating ARTHUR.


ARTHUR's name is derived from arthritis. The "U" and "R" come from Ultrasound and Robot.

The project is supported by the Mads Clausen Foundation and ROPCA.


ROPCA originated as a project under the Mærsk McKinney Møller Institute at the University of Southern Denmark. ROPCA specializes in the development of robots for scanning and assessing images in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

You can learn more about how ARTHUR works here: Ultrasound robot ready for arthritis patients, thanks to Danish researchers.

Enhanced Patient Support

Rheumatologists quickly access relevant information with a robotic scanner and an AI-generated report at their disposal. This facilitates a more efficient evaluation of disease activity and the need for treatment adjustments.

- It is crucial for patients to have the chance for thorough monitoring of disease activity, particularly during episodes of flare-ups in their chronic rheumatic condition. This allows for swift implementation of adjustments and evaluation of the necessity for additional consultations with a rheumatologist, explains Dorota Paulina Küttel, postdoc at the Department of Regional Health Research, Danish Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, and Hospital Sønderjylland.

She continues:

- The routine clinical examination of joints we employ in our daily practice lacks the necessary sensitivity to detect lingering arthritis activity. For instance, despite a clinical assessment suggesting no disease activity in the joints, inflammation can occasionally be observed through more refined examination methods like ultrasound scanning. This is where ARTHUR can make a valuable contribution.

Why is it important to receive prompt treatment for rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory reaction in the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis leads to joint swelling, warmth, and pain.

Despite being a chronic ailment, prompt and effective treatment can potentially postpone or halt the progression of the disease.

Meet the researcher

Oliver Hendricks, head of research and professor at IRS Danish Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Danish Centre for Expertise in Rheumatology.


Meet the researcher

Dorota Paulina Küttel, postdoc at IRS Hospital Sønderjylland and IRS Danish Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases.


Editing was completed: 05.12.2023