Computers on Wheels (COWs) are only as efficient as the power system they use.
In recent years, hot-swappable batteries have become an indispensable feature for medical computer carts in healthcare facilities. This battery system offers medical staff numerous advantages, giving them the efficiency that modern healthcare challenges demand.
Maintaining The Power Flow
A typical battery-powered cart features a single battery, and even the longest-lasting batteries rarely have the power to last more than 10 hours. Many medical carts feature more than just a mounted computer; peripherals, like barcode scanners and additional accessories, can also be mounted on your carts, further draining battery life.
A hot-swap battery system is most efficient with a dual-battery setup because it lets a nurse keep the computer and all other equipment powered without turning it off or waiting for the battery to recharge.
Once one battery gets low, all a nurse needs to do is switch to the other, then hot-swap the low battery for a fresh one in a computer room or battery storage room, leaving the old one to recharge.
The battery swapping process takes no more than a few seconds and only minimally disturbs the workflow, resulting in less time spent managing power and batteries and more time spent on patient care.
Integrating power flow management can be made even more efficient by using readable battery power meters, such as SOCI II state of charge indicators.
Standard battery power indicators use non-specific color systems, percentage indicators, and other ambiguous systems which do not give precise information on how much charge remains inside the battery.
In contrast, a SOCI II indicator uses a large full-color display with easy-to-read icons and a remaining capacity indicator in hours and minutes, giving users a precise estimation of how much power remains in all connected batteries.
Mobility and Flexibility
A hot-swap battery system allows a mobile computer cart to be used anywhere, in any room or corridor, without being tethered to a wall outlet or an equivalent fixed power supply.
This flexibility allows medical personnel to bring the computer directly to the patient’s room, entering sensitive information as they hear it. Not only does this let caregivers spend more time with patients, providing higher-quality care, but it also reduces data entry errors, which often occur while traveling between patient rooms and conventional computer rooms or nurse’s stations.
Although a powered mobile cart is a little more expensive than a non-powered one, the flexibility granted by powered carts far outweighs the initial investment, as it allows caregiving staff to remain on the move.
Advanced battery technology, such as the Scott-Clark FMCPT system, keeps individual battery weight as low as possible, preventing the cart from being overburdened and too heavy to push and operate.
For example, a standard 35 Ah sealed lead-acid battery can weigh more than 25 lbs. and does not support hot-swapping. However, an FMCPT lithium-iron-phosphate (LiFEPO4) battery only weighs around 8 lbs., supports hot-swapping, and does not require special tools or skills to replace and recharge.
Immunity to Power Outages
According to the EIA, the average non-major event-related power outage in the United States lasts just under two hours.
Before mobile computer carts became standard equipment, power outages posed a significant threat to hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities. Losing power caused computers to shut down unexpectedly, resulting in patient data loss and bringing the workflow to a sudden halt.
Battery-powered mobile carts are immune to power outages because each cart has its own onboard power. In the event of a power outage, only equipment that relies on mains power is affected.
Although recharging spare batteries or accessing the Internet may not be possible during an outage, batteries maintain power to the computers, preserving patient information and keeping ancillary equipment and peripherals powered for as long as the batteries have charge.
For example, two fully charged FMCPT batteries can provide power to a medical cart for up to 18 hours, well over the length of a full work shift. Other battery technologies simply cannot last as long, either due to the lack of hot-swap support or the limited power capacity.
Use The Best Cart Power Systems With Scott-Clark Medical
Today’s medical computer carts are among the most critical tools at the disposal of nurses, doctors, and other caregivers. A fleet of carts equipped with hot-swap batteries maximizes their efficiency and caregiving capabilities while minimizing non-healthcare-related tasks.
At Scott-Clark Medical, we want to help you help others. If you’re interested in purchasing new carts or retrofitting an existing fleet with a hot-swap power system, please call us at (512) 598-5837 or use our online contact form for a quote or more information.