The point of care (POC) technology revolution has changed the way healthcare professionals administer healthcare. Clinics have transformed patient care using medical carts on wheels with drawers and drug dispensing technologies, cart batteries, and customized peripherals to provide point of care.

Medical carts have become a vital component of the revolution.

Defining Point of Care Technology

Point of Care technology refers to the software, devices, and other systems to provide a better quality of treatment and outcomes for patients. The point of care referred to is often bedside or wherever the patient may be located.

Pregnancy tests, blood glucose monitors, rapid strep, and HIV tests exemplify POC technologies.

The Reason Behind the POC Technology Revolution

Doctors and other healthcare professionals have begun emphasizing greater patient awareness of healthcare, including chronic disease management, precision treatment, and streamlining patient care management.

Recent advances in healthcare appliances and devices, in addition to improved information technology hospital upgrades like Electronic Health Records (EHR) also contribute to the rising popularity of the Point of Care technology focus.

What Makes POC Improvements Possible

The use of new hardware and software enabling doctors, nurses, and hospital administrators to optimize care through instant data entry, access, and testing performed at a patient’s bedside has helped make improvement possible.

Nurses can perform tests and upload results instantly. Doctors can access these results and adjust medication dosages or other treatments accordingly.

Medical devices and peripherals, allow more on-site care management rather than moving patients from ward to ward.

Electronic Medical Records and Point of Care

The real start of this revolution began with the U.S. Government mandate, outlined in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009.

The Act required public and private healthcare providers to adopt a digitized system of patient healthcare records by 2014.

The stated purpose was to engage patients and family members in their healthcare, improve care coordination, and help maintain the privacy of individual patient information.

This resulted in the healthcare industry merging information technology and healthcare, adapting and implementing software to a hospital and clinician environment.

This technology quickly led to developing other points of care technologies to compliment the data access requirements, culminating in more bedside treatment and patient involvement.

Flexible Technological Solutions for Documentation

By using portable computers, tablets, and other devices, doctors and nurses could use the clinic’s IT system to improve treatment.

Nurses and doctors could instantly access records, moving from patient to patient with only a mobile cart.

With POC technologies, nurses instantly documented changes in patient conditions throughout a shift. When the doctor does his or her rounds, the charts, information, and any things that may have been done between checks can be read, and suitably addressed as required.

Precipitous Drop in Errors

Using a medical cart with a computer lowers the potential for errors in patient diagnostics and treatment significantly.

Nurses don’t have to take readings, then transfer the information to a data base whenever they return to the nurse’s station and a computer terminal.

Everything is bedside. No relying on memory or data entry clerks or shift workers deciphering someone else’s handwriting.

The Future

Mobile medical cares and point of care technologies continue to improve. Manufacturers have begun to miniaturize battery packs and power sources for carts. These batteries can power the portable equipment being developed and designed that will allow more tests bedside.

Customizing mobile platforms like medical carts allow tailoring the cart to carry the right equipment for whatever is needed: Cardiac response carts, emergency room carts, crash carts, surgical support carts, and more.

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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