Modern computing and mobile device technologies provide the healthcare industry with many solutions to improve mobility without compromising productivity. Devices such as laptops and smart tablets are designed to be as compact, lightweight, and powerful as possible.
However, these design choices aren’t without compromises. Some of the most common concerns with mobile and portable devices include battery autonomy and issues related to usability, ergonomics, and portability.
Learn how medical computer carts and onboard hot-swap batteries help improve these aspects while keeping nurses mobile and productive.
The Problem with Mobile Device Battery Autonomy
Modern computing hardware has more to offer than the classic desktop PC, once the only viable option for demanding work environments like healthcare facilities.
Today’s laptops can reach about the same amount of processing power as all but the most powerful enthusiast desktop PCs. While tablet computers are still catching up to desktop and laptop PCs in terms of performance, they offer even smaller form factors.
Although laptops and tablets are portable devices with the capabilities for productivity in healthcare environments, managing battery autonomy is one of the primary downsides of using these devices in work environments.
The average nominal autonomy of a typical battery for laptops and tablets is 10 hours. However, real-world autonomy varies significantly depending on the power draw.
The more you demand from your device and the more programs and tasks you ask it to perform, the more power it will drain. In extreme cases, a nominally 10-hour battery can be drained in 3 to 4 hours, forcing you to use the charging cable. While these devices still work while plugged in, it eliminates their primary advantage: mobility.
How Hot-Swap Batteries Address Power Source Issues
Fortunately, an essential piece of healthcare equipment can address these issues and help you get the most out of your computing devices: the medical computer cart.
A mobile medical cart equipped with onboard batteries helps solve laptop or tablet battery autonomy issues by providing the equivalent of a mobile power outlet.
The onboard cart batteries supply power to the device’s internal battery, effectively allowing you to keep it (and any other connected equipment) charged for as long as the batteries have power.
Quality medical cart batteries use advanced Lithium-Iron-Phosphate (LiFePO4 or Life) chemistry and high-density battery cells to maximize their autonomy and long-term lifespan. For instance, the Scott-Clark Life batteries can power devices up to full-sized desktop computers, plus other peripherals, for up to 9 hours.
When these batteries run low, the hot-swap technology allows nursing staff to disconnect the unit, place it into a charging station, and retrieve another battery at 100% charge. No technical skills or IT support is needed to handle mobile cart batteries, making power management easy and convenient.
High-quality LiFePO4 cells can withstand at least 3,000 complete charging-discharging cycles before falling to 80% retained capacity.
Ergonomics and Portability Challenges
Another typical issue associated with using laptops and tablets in healthcare environments is the balance between ergonomics and portability. While these devices are portable in ways desktop PCs cannot be, and tablets are compact enough to fit in large pockets, extended usage can introduce body straining and fatigue.
For example, while staff can set laptops on any surface (tables, counters, desktops, etc.), they are often at fixed heights. Depending on the nurse or doctor’s stature, the laptop’s height may be unsuitable for long-term use, forcing them to sit or stand in uncomfortable positions. Laptops are also relatively heavy; a typical notebook weighs 4 to 5 lbs., making them cumbersome to carry for extended periods.
While tablets solve the weight issue (less than 2 lbs. on average), they are not designed for use on flat surfaces, often requiring caregivers to treat them like large smartphones. This issue results in the same ergonomic challenges as extended phone usage, such as wrist, back, and neck strain.
The Role of Medical Carts with Tablets and Laptops
Medical computer carts designed to transport laptops and tablet computers eliminate most of these devices’ ergonomic problems. Laptop carts on wheels provide a stable, flat platform for laptop computers. Similarly, custom carts adapted to transport tablets can use adjustable arms and mounting points to set the tablet at a comfortable viewing height, similar to a computer monitor.
Both types of rolling computer carts also introduce additional ergonomic advantages, such as height adjustment features, high-strength casters, and push handles for easy transportation. In short, caregiving staff can use a medical cart to adapt the device to their posture, improving long-term comfort, productivity, and care quality.
Scott-Clark Medical Offers Reliable Healthcare Power Solutions
Scott-Clark Medical is an industry-leading mobile computer cart manufacturer providing innovative solutions to hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
We offer a range of customizable mobile medical carts, a high-flexibility onboard power system, and long-lasting medical cart batteries made using cutting-edge technologies. If you’d like to learn more about our products and services, contact us at (512) 756-7300.