Medical laptop carts are needed for day-to-day tasks in medical centers like hospitals or private practices. However, doubts of security tend to rise, especially as traffic in and out of the building grows.

Medical laptop carts

Securing medical computer carts by knowing who has gained access to the cart is important. Private information pertaining to a patient’s care and health should not and cannot fall into the wrong hands as the consequences could be deadly. But this information is necessary for optimal medical care, so all hospitals need a security solution that makes access easy for staff and impossible for patients and visitors.

5 Security options for Medical Laptop Carts

When securing laptop carts, hospitals and similar organizations have three options: securing the cart itself, the laptop, or both. Depending on the organization, one security option may be better suited to the staff’s needs and daily routines. Therefore, it is important to get in touch with the entire staff to discuss what kind of security measures they would be comfortable with daily that would not substantially interfere with their abilities to care for patients.

Medical Laptop Carts

1. Password on laptop

Securing laptops themselves with a password or other type of log-in is an absolute must within medical care facilities. Although this should protect patient information from the standard hospital visitor, dangerous parties with computer knowledge may be able to bypass this hurdle. Therefore, it is recommended to have an additional form of security for the cart.

2. 24/7 supervision

This approach is likely the most common, but it also the least reliable. Some hospitals decide to leave their laptop carts directly behind the nursing station since there is generally at least one person there at all times. However, it is impossible to know if a situation will arise where all hands need to be on deck, and the laptop is left unsupervised.

3. Storage in a locked room

This method guarantees that only staff with a key to the room can access the computer. A medical laptop cart on wheels could then be rolled into the patient’s room and returned after the care has finished.

4. Proximity reader

Proximity readers are mounted on the cart and scan badges, key fobs, or proximity cards to give quick, easy, and controlled access.

5. Biometric reader

If a hospital is in a high-risk area, this method may be the most suitable. Biometric readers require fingerprint identification to provide access.  

When it comes to other types of medical carts that store other various tools and medications, particularly narcotics, there are additional security options.

Securing Medical Supply Carts

Securing medical supply and crash carts can range from a simple lock with a key to systems supported by technology.

  • Alarms
    Some security systems for medical carts contain alarms that will sound if a door or drawer is open for too long, signaling to the rest of the staff something may be wrong and they should check if everything is in order.
  • External locks and keyed lock bars
    External locks and keyed lock bars can be opened with a key. Lock bars are a tad more secure since they cover just enough of the drawers so they cannot be pried or jammed open.
  • Door
    A door like structure that completely encompasses the cart and its contents. It works just like any other door and needs to be opened with a key. This is generally the best option for carts that will house narcotics or very valuable equipment since it is the most secure lock-and-key security device.
  • Keypads and scanners
    These methods are just like the ones for medical laptop carts. Biometric and proximity readers or electronic keypads can be attached to medical carts as well to prevent public access. However, especially for crash carts, it is advisable also to have a key-lock backup should the technology fail.

Selecting the best medical cart size and design is only the first step of integrating a medical cart into your medical center. Finding out how you can protect your cart and its contents effectively is the final step to help your medical center reach new levels of efficiency and quality care.

Emma Reed has a background in Psychology (B.A.) and Medical Anthropology (M.S.) and writes for a variety of medical publications. Her passion is making cutting-edge medical information accessible to a wider audience, and her work often examines the intersections of sociology, anthropology, and medicine.
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