A report released by the Department of Health and Human Services in December 2021 found that the demand for telehealth services experienced a 63-fold increase during the COVID-19 pandemic. Demand has remained high despite COVID-19 being classified as an endemic virus.
Due to the continued demand for remote telehealth services, healthcare providers have adapted their facilities and workplace practices. One of the critical ways hospitals and clinics can facilitate an increased telehealth caseload is by introducing telehealth workstations.
Telemedicine workstations are compact carts that contain computers and other essential equipment, allowing medical staff to provide care over the internet in real-time. Follow these five tips to choose the perfect workstation for your telehealth practice.
Ensure Your Workstation Has Video Capabilities
Face-to-face communication is vital for effective treatment in all healthcare settings. In a telehealth practice, the only way to facilitate these types of meetings is through computers with video capabilities.
While most computers feature camera functionality, many are low-quality and insufficient for telehealth use. As you shop, look for computers that offer higher-end cameras with at least 1080p resolution, more than 30fps frame rate, and a wide field of view. This prevents common webcam-related issues while providing a high-quality picture, allowing practitioners to communicate with patients effectively.
Look for a Fully-Equipped Workstation
There are suitable medical carts available for a wide range of applications. However, if you use a cart that doesn’t offer the correct features for your practice, you won’t receive the full spectrum of benefits provided by telehealth workstations. Look for the following features in telemedicine carts:
Telehealth providers need access to paperwork, documents, and instruments. Ensure your workstation offers plenty of storage room. If you are storing medicine at your workstation, your drawers need locking capabilities. The best workstations will offer a variety of biomechanical, key, or proximity card locks, allowing practitioners to protect medicine, sharp objects, and sensitive paperwork.
While mobility is less of a prerequisite for telehealth workstations, you still need to move your workstation about the hospital as needed. As you shop for workstations, look for options that offer casters instead of traditional wheels. Independent locking casters provide multidirectional mobility and an improved turning radius, making them ideal for crowded healthcare facilities.
Also, consider the material your casters are made from. The most common materials used for caster construction are steel, phenolic, and rubber, each with its benefits and drawbacks.
Steel casters are the most durable option, though they may damage hardwood surfaces or other common hospital flooring materials. Phenolic casters will stress floors less than steel casters, though they may have difficulties traversing obstacles like wires.
Rubber wheels allow carts to negotiate difficult terrain but can slip on wet surfaces. Consider your facility to determine the best type of casters for your operation.
Depending on the nature of your practice, you may need various peripheral devices to provide effective telehealth care. For example, scanners and printers can simplify information transmission between the provider and patient.
Scott-Clark Medical offers a range of peripheral devices for your workstation, including single or dual-locking medicine drawers, extended tabletops, chart holders, card readers, RFID devices, and extra power options.
Mobile health devices, such as wearable blood sugar monitors, have recently increased in popularity. Data firm GlobalData projects the mobile health device market to grow to $156 billion by 2024. If your practice utilizes such devices, ensure any workstations you purchase are compatible with mobile health technology.
Choose an Adaptable Workstation
As technology advances, old technology becomes obsolete. Your computer’s applications may quickly become outdated. Adapting your workflow to a single program risks putting you at a disadvantage compared to more flexible caregivers, especially if support for this program ends.
To prevent this, choose a workstation compatible with different types of programs and support software and ensure they are easy to use and update, prolonging the computer’s usable life.
Choose a Workstation with Reliable Power Sources
Another common barrier to effective telehealth care is ineffective onboard power. Many computer carts still rely on outdated power technology, leaving them vulnerable to power-related downtime, such as outages or short battery life.
Choose a workstation that offers flexible power options. Scott-Clark Medical offers two power supply options that provide extreme flexibility to users: a hot-swappable battery system and Flexible Mobile Cart Power Technology (FMCPT).
Hot-swappable systems allow you to change and recharge lithium-ion batteries without powering down the device, preventing downtime and disruptions to your daily workflow. Additionally, they will continue powering connected devices even during power outages, protecting you from losing critical data.
Scott-Clark Medical’s FMCPT is an advanced power option that solves the problems presented by traditional power options. Engineered with LiFePO4 to provide lasting power, hot-swap capabilities, short charges, and simple swaps, FMCPT is an ideal choice for telehealth workstations.
Look for a Secure Workstation
In a telehealth setting, sensitive personal information is transmitted over the internet. Medical, financial, and identifying information will be exchanged in a standard telehealth visit. To avoid exposing your patients to potential identity theft or security compromises, ensure your workstation offers security features.
Choosing the correct workstation can help address security concerns. Ensure your computer workstation is compatible with software that prevents HIPPA and other privacy violations. Audio and video recordings should be encrypted and require two-factor authentication.
Flexible Workstation Options at Scott-Clark Medical
With over 20 years of experience engineering intelligent workstation options for clients, Scott-Clark Medical has become one of the leading medical cart providers in the United States. Our custom carts and flexible power options have helped numerous healthcare facilities improve their productivity and workflow.
Call Scott-Clark Medical today at (512) 756-7300 and see how we can help your telehealth practice.