With the current outbreak of Covid-19, better known as Coronavirus, the medical field is at the forefront of the fight to halt the spread of this disease. Medical facilities around the world are struggling to cope with the sheer number of patients they need to help, as even staff are contracting the illness and need to self-isolate.

This event has brought the facilities hospitals use into sharp focus. Highly-trained medical staff have a crucial role to play in the welfare of their patients. However, facilities need to equip their employees with high-quality medical devices to help them do their jobs.

One such appliance that facilities utilize more and more often is the laptop cart on wheels. Mobile, versatile, and able to carry a vast array of equipment, doctors, and nurses can use a cart in a variety of situations. The manufacturers of laptop carts have included many features that make them a go-to medical tool for many professionals.

Mobile Data Center

Medical professionals rely on having fast access to accurate data to make the right decisions. If data is unavailable, then a physician may have to delay the implementation of a treatment plan, which could have a detrimental effect on the condition of their patient.

If they have data that is inaccurate or incomplete, they could advise on a course of treatment, or prescribe medication, which could worsen a patient’s health rather than help make it better.

A mobile cart on wheels has a laptop computer safely stored on the convenient laptop table. Using the computer desk, physicians and nurses can view a patient’s file at their bedside. As the laptop is internet-enabled and connected to the central computer system, others can view information that professionals add to a file in real-time.

This feature can be especially useful in the case of lab test results. While they may not be ready when a physician is beginning their rounds, the lab could potentially upload them by the time they reach their patient.

Encourage Better Relationships

Medical professionals often speak in terms that are complex and may not be understood by anyone outside the field of medicine. Mobile medical carts can help a physician to foster a better relationship with their patient and encourage them to learn about their condition.

Using the height-adjustable features, physicians can lower the computer screen to the same height as the patient’s bed. They can both view the computer on the laptop desk, and the physician can explain what the medical terms and test results mean.

If information is difficult to understand, they can connect to the internet and bring up helpful graphs or pictures that can be easier to grasp.

As the attending professional has the laptop with them, they can quickly enter their notes into the patient’s file when they are still there. It now seems outdated to write notes in a file, pass them to a colleague, and for that employee to enter the information onto a computer at a later date.

Not only might the colleague have difficulty reading a physician’s writing, and potentially enter incorrect information, but the file could be lost.

Compliant with HIPAA regulations

HIPAA has very robust data protection regulations to which hospitals must adhere. Patient information kept in paper files, or possibly worse, on the chart at the end of a bed, is open to a breach of patient confidentiality.

To reduce the risk, a medical professional can open a patient’s file when at their bedside, enter their notes, and close it again. They can enable password-protection features on encrypted data, and only staff with knowledge of the correct codes can see the information.

Mobile laptop carts are also very easy to move. Rather than opening a file while the screen faces the rest of the ward, a physician can turn the cart facing towards the patient. Not just a feature to help with compliance, seeing the professional take such care to protect their data will likely give confidence to those who are convalescing.

Powered Mobile Workstation Cart

Conductive Casters

A laptop cart on wheels needs to be able to move quickly around a facility. By equipping the unit with conductive casters, the user can move static-free around the hospital. Many people will be familiar with the build-up of static they may have felt walking with bare feet on the carpet, perhaps in their living room.

Wheels on carts can get static in much the same way. Conductive casters dispel any static that builds up back onto the floor. These casters are vital when carrying expensive electrical equipment.

If the casters allowed the static to build, it could damage the electronics on the cart. Nurses or physicians could use the devices and receive inaccurate results. The tools will also need replacing, which could prove costly.

Safe Storage Spaces for Medical Equipment

Physicians and nurses work with a range of devices and medical apparatus that need to be kept secure. Pharmaceuticals are, of course, in wide-use in a hospital environment. At one time, the most logical way of ensuring these were handled only by those who had legitimate reasons was to keep them at a dedicated pharmacy.

Doctors would go there to ask for the relevant prescription, the pharmacist would pass it to them, and then the physician would take it to the patient. This system may have been useful for transparency, but it is also inefficient.

Mobile medical carts allow a physician to stock the unit with the medications they anticipate prescribing to patients on their rounds. By using the cart’s biometric locking system, the professional can be confident patients can not access the medicines.

Facilities can give encoded key cards to only those staff who are authorized to handle medications. Proximity scanners will detect if one of those employees is close to the cart, and only unlock the drawers if that member of staff requests access.

Hospitals can encode key cards with varying levels of permissions; nurses, for example, could have the authorization to open drawers that contain sharps, but not pharmaceuticals. Institutions have the assurance of knowing there is a clear record of when medications were removed, who by, and the name of the receiver.

An intelligent barcode scanning system maintains a report of all transactions. In the event of confusion, allegations, or audit, the hospital can instantly access a log for an accurate appraisal of what occurred.

Contribute to Infection Control

Anyone who is following the news, will be aware that authorities are trying to stop people with Covid-19 from coming into contact with others. By putting persons with the infection into isolation, they prevent that individual from carrying the illness around, and from infecting others.

Illness can spread through a hospital setting in the same way. Locations where lots of people come into contact with each other, are a higher risk for infection transference than areas that see lower footfall. Even now, some hospitals rely on having central areas for their computers.

Doctors and nurses who need to look up blood test results, view images, or access patient files, may all have to go to the one location. Multiple professionals may use the same computer keyboards and might brush clothing with colleagues. It only takes one colleague to deviate from the infection control procedures to spread a virus to other employees potentially.

As the members of staff will be unaware they are now contagious, they could go on their ward round, carrying the illness with them. Mobile laptop carts can assist in infection control measures in several ways.

As the employee will be taking the laptop cart with them on their rounds, they will not need to go to the central area where many other colleagues may be using the computers.

Reducing the risk of infection transference is vital, and by keeping their distance from potential contagions, the staff member is helping to lower their chances of catching an infection. The employee can make use of the substantial storage containers on the cart.

They can load the unit with hygienic sprays and wipes before setting off to see patients. Before attending the point of care, the professional can thoroughly wipe down and disinfect the cart.

After putting on the masks, gowns, and gloves kept in the unit, they can treat their patient before securing the now potentially infected clothing in the antimicrobial containers.

When the boxes are full, they can be emptied into the main disposal area, disinfected, and then attached back onto the cart. The physician or nurse can continue with their work, satisfied they are doing everything they can to help prevent the spread of infections.

Long-Life Battery Power for Extended Working Hours

Of course, all the above features can only be of use if the cart is operational. Users may still need to plug some carts into a wall socket for recharging. Not only is this inefficient as they need to stop working while plugging the cart in, but the user is now without the unit until it has recharged.

At Scott-Clark Medical, we use our patented Flexible Mobile Cart Power Technology (FMCPT) and hot-swap battery system to keep carts on the move for as long as the user needs. Our batteries charge on the wagon, and while the unit is in use, there is no need to use a wall socket.

Both audio and visual alerts inform the user when a battery is running low on charge. The user can then use the hot-swap battery system to change that battery for a fully-charged one. The process takes approximately 30 seconds. Remarkably, our batteries only take around 2½ hours to charge but can power a unit for up to 10 hours.

Physicians and nurses can use the cart while on their rounds, keeping the cart charged the entire time. At the end of their shift, another user can take the unit and continue onto their work. As one battery is always charging while another is in use, the cart can continue working indefinitely.

Our batteries also have a longer lifespan than standard ones. While the average lifespan of a conventional battery can be less than a year, our FMCPT batteries can have a lifespan of over five years. We’re so confident in our technology that our batteries come with a full 5-year warranty.

In Conclusion

A laptop cart on wheels is a flexible piece of equipment. The technology and design of the devices make them an excellent addition to a medical setting. It’s essential to consider your own needs when deciding on which type of cart to purchase.

If security is of the utmost importance, then carts with biometric locking systems will be a suitable choice. If it’s for quick access to information and the ability to show patients and colleagues data, then a cart equipped to carry two screens may be the right decision.

Carts can be accessorized to suit the needs of many different professionals who work in various specialties. Take professional advice before committing to a particular cart. At Scott-Clark Medical, our experts can provide helpful guidance and advice on options that may be right for you.

Steve is a former healthcare professional who writes about technological advancements in the industry, with a special interest in the geriatric demographic.
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