Mobile medical carts are integral to many medical facilities, including hospitals, surgical centers, and specialized healthcare clinics. While there are many kinds of medical carts, most are designed to store and transport medical supplies.
Mobile medical carts commonly feature long-lasting rechargeable batteries, an ergonomic frame design, and a narrow wheelbase to improve mobility and maneuverability. However, two crucial yet commonly overlooked features are the cart’s wheels and drawers. Learn why wheels and drawers are indispensable features on medical carts.
One of the primary reasons medical facilities invest in medical carts is to improve their staff’s mobility and flexibility through convenient mobile storage.
Wheeled medical carts can be used in multiple locations around your healthcare facility. For example, a nurse can move a mobile computer workstation on wheels from room to room during their rounds. This mobility simplifies data recording and note-taking, giving caregivers more time to spend with patients.
Wheeled medical carts also improve healthcare workers’ ability to respond rapidly to emergencies. In many circumstances, even a one-minute delay in emergency treatment can worsen patient outcomes. In these situations, wheeled medical carts allow practitioners to deliver care promptly.
Drawers also help workers improve their mobility. By providing ample storage space for essential instruments, tools, and equipment, providers can access the items they need on the spot.
This functionality eliminates the need for time-consuming trips to fixed storage closets and pharmacy supply stores, allowing caregivers to provide continuous treatment and improving facility-wide patient outcomes.
Another benefit of wheeled medical carts with drawers is the increased productivity of a healthcare facility’s personnel.
Since providers must note every action they take with a patient, productivity is limited by the proximity of the worker’s computer to their actual workstation. Before adopting wheeled medical carts, caregivers spent significant portions of their shifts walking between patients and fixed computers.
Wheeled carts eliminate this problem by allowing workers to take their notetaking equipment with them room-to-room. By eliminating the need to return to a central location between each patient, facilities can see an exponential increase in productivity.
Drawers help facilities improve productivity in the same way. Trips to supply closets are often lengthy, negatively affecting a caregiver’s energy and reducing the time spent with patients. Healthcare personnel equipped with a fleet of medical carts with drawers don’t need to visit supply closets as often, allowing them to focus on their core tasks.
Improved Patient Engagement
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines patient engagement as the act of providing a patient with the knowledge and skills necessary to become active participants in their care. Recent studies have shown that improved patient engagement correlates with improved health outcomes.
One of the best ways to improve patient engagement is to use wheeled medical carts. Many hospitalized patients feel isolated by their situation, reducing their ability to participate actively in their own care programs. Providers can cultivate an open and productive doctor-patient relationship by allowing workers to bring monitors and other equipment directly to the patient.
Mobile computer carts are naturally suited for improving patient engagement because they allow caregivers to display test results, scans, and imaging results and explain the data to their patients. By actively involving patients in their care, patients are more likely to better understand and comply with medical directions, improving patient outcomes.
Mobile medical carts are often stocked with sedative and opiate medications to manage patient pain levels. However, sedatives like Nembutal, IV opioids such as hydromorphone, morphine, and oxycodone, and pill opioids like OxyContin and Vicodin have a high risk of abuse and theft.
Medical supply carts include drawers equipped with locks to ensure only authorized personnel can access prescription medications. Drawer locks are available with a range of mechanical and electrical mechanisms. Standard key and tumbler locks are the most common, in addition to lock bars which can secure multiple drawers simultaneously. However, these mechanical locks are often slow to open and unsuitable for some cart types like crash carts.
Drawers with electrical locks, like keypads, proximity card readers, and biometric locks, are typically more secure than mechanical locks. Keypad locks are a simple way to secure drugs and medical equipment and do not require staff to carry fobs or cards around. However, you should change the codes regularly.
Proximity cards contain an RFID chip that detects the wearer when they are close to the cart and opens the drawers. They are often used with keypads to provide an additional layer of security for sensitive medications.
Biometric locks offer the highest level of security. They use a fingerprint scanner to read an individual’s unique fingerprint, preventing unauthorized personnel from opening cart drawers using stolen cards or keys.
Facilitates Specialized Usage
Wheels and drawers also provide carts with the flexibility needed for general-purpose medical uses and specialized care. Wheels and drawers are essential components of the following types of specialized medical carts:
Crash carts are used in settings where rapid deployment of treatment is vital, such as emergency rooms. They are stocked with life-saving equipment like AEDs, naloxone, and epinephrine and are designed for durability with stainless steel construction. Crash carts need wheels to adequately respond to emergencies, while drawers allow them to store the necessary equipment.
Storage carts, also called utility carts, are essential components of many healthcare facilities. Storage carts need to offer both wheels and several drawers to maximize their utility. Their wheels allow them to be easily transported as needed, while the drawers maximize the cart’s storage space.
Surgical Case Carts
Surgical case carts are primarily used in emergency rooms. Their most important feature is their drawers, which are often deep enough to store complex medical equipment. Their wheels allow them to be moved to surgical sites as needed.
Isolation carts are used to treat patients with highly-infectious diseases. Their primary purpose is to store personal protective equipment (PPE), medicine, and other equipment used for treatment. Staff would risk disease transmission traveling between supply stores without drawers to hold supplies.
Operating Room Storage Carts
Operating room storage carts are used in operating rooms to provide surgeons with the tools they need on demand. Drawers are vital components of these carts since their primary purpose is storage. Wheels also play a prominent role in the utility of operating room storage carts since they need to be mobile enough to move between operating rooms.
Computer Workstations on Wheels
Mobile computer workstations are a common type of medical cart, and they rely on wheels and drawers to fulfill their duties. These carts are used to simplify care by providing caretakers with access to their computers and other vital equipment wherever they are. Quality wheels are critical in allowing users to maneuver between patient beds. Drawers are essential for storing charts, computer accessories, common medicines, and other medical supplies.
How to Choose a Medical Cart
Selecting the ideal medical cart will depend on its intended use. However, you should look for carts with wheels and drawers, regardless of the application. When shopping for medical carts on wheels with drawers, look for the following qualities:
Choose a cart that offers four independently-moving wheels. This functionality allows maximum maneuverability, particularly in the tight corners commonly found in healthcare facilities.
A typical hospital shift subjects medical carts to heavy use and rough handling, making it essential to ensure the wheels are durable and made of robust materials.
Carefully consider your facility’s flooring material when selecting your cart’s wheels. For example, smooth wheels are better suited for carpeted floors, whereas high-grip wheels perform better on hard floors and improve maneuverability on wet surfaces.
If your cart transports electrical equipment and peripherals, ensure your casters are conductive to eliminate electrostatic discharge.
While most medical carts offer several drawers for storage, you should always ensure your cart has enough storage for its intended purposes.
For example, if you need to build a fleet of operating room carts, ensure they have ample storage space for your surgeons’ tools and equipment. Deep drawers will facilitate the storage of bulkier items. However, point-of-care carts should feature dedicated containers and storage space for safely disposing of used sharps or biohazardous waste.
Find Quality Medical Carts at Scott-Clark Medical
Regardless of the type of medical carts you need, Scott-Clark Medical can help you build a reliable fleet of carts. We have over 20 years of experience engineering and refurbishing medical carts for any medical facility.
We also provide cutting-edge power solutions, ensuring your medical carts have access to reliable and long-lasting power. Call Scott-Clark Medical today at (512) 756-7300 and see how we can help your practice.