Although powered mobile carts are an industry standard in the healthcare industry, many facilities have only recently transitioned to these tools. They may not yet know how to use them to the full extent of their capabilities.
Here are a few tips and recommendations to use powered computer carts as efficiently as possible, improve operational effectiveness, and increase your staff’s quality of life and caregiving capabilities.
Use the Right Power System
Battery-powered mobile medical carts are available in two configurations: internal battery packs and hot-swap battery stations.
Carts with internal battery packs require periodic recharging, requiring the user to bring the computer cart to a wall outlet or a charging station. While simple to use, their autonomy is limited, and the powered cart must remain tethered to the wall until charging is complete.
Hot-swap battery compartments allow users to separate the batteries from the mobile computer workstation in seconds, allowing for near-instant battery replacement. Operation is effortless and requires no technical knowledge: press a button, pull out an old, low-power battery, and insert a freshly recharged one in its place.
While doing so on lighter single-battery hot-swap systems requires shutting down the equipment on the cart, using a dual-battery system and the correct power management strategy can keep your medical PC cart continuously powered.
For example, when one of the two batteries on a dual system is low, integrating battery replacement into the nursing staff’s workflow ensures each cart remains powered for as long as needed.
Ergonomic Features Improve Quality of Care
While ergonomic equipment is critical in any industry, mobile computer carts designed with ergonomic features can improve caregiving in two crucial aspects: they enhance your personnel’s quality of life and allow them to provide better patient care.
Ergonomic Features to Look For
Examples of ergonomic computer cart features include the following:
- Height adjustment: The ability to adjust the height of a computer cart’s desktop tray allows personnel of different statures to set a cart’s screen height at the correct level, from sitting to standing.
- Retractable keyboard trays: Integrated keyboard trays that can be deployed and folded under the top tray prevent nursing staff from getting into uncomfortable positions during data entry tasks.
- Mouse tray extension: Computer mice are designed to occupy a desktop spot separate from keyboards. Independent mouse trays provide ample space and eliminate the need to share a tray between keyboard and mouse, avoiding discomfort.
- Large handles: Healthcare facilities are fast-paced environments where staff is frequently required to push and relocate computer carts. Large, well-designed handles ensure cart relocation is as easy as possible, reducing the risk of strain.
- Lightweight construction: A balance between robust materials and low overall weight is crucial to ensure that a wide range of people can use and transport carts without difficulties or risk of injuries.
Benefits of Ergonomics
Although the field of ergonomics is relatively new, studies have already demonstrated that improving ergonomics in healthcare environments helps significantly reduce medical errors.
For instance, having access to a fleet of powered medical carts lets hospital personnel bring their computers to the point of care, speak to patients directly, and spend more time with them, improving overall patient engagement.
Another study has shown that better patient engagement is linked to better patient experience and improved health and economic outcomes.
Better ergonomics also improve the quality of life for caregivers, as it helps reduce stress on joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. The consequence is a reduction of repetitive strain injuries, fewer occupational safety hazards (e.g., accidents, diseases), and a healthier work environment.
Use Accessories to Build Versatile Mobile Medical Carts
Medical facilities primarily employ powered medical carts to render computing equipment mobile and facilitate data entry. However, it is possible to customize medical carts to meet multiple needs and create versatile mobile workstations.
Point-of-Care Computer Carts
For instance, adding secure medication drawers and a selection of prescription medication can transform a standard computer cart into a dedicated bedside point-of-care cart, eliminating trips to the pharmacy. Additional accessories ideal for this type of cart includes chart holders, baskets, or used sharps disposal containers.
Computer Crash Carts
Another typical example is the crash cart. Although standard crash carts do not typically have computers, it is possible to customize a computer cart with the same array of lockable drawers and medication containers as a classic crash cart.
Combining both carts’ functionality creates a computer crash cart that carries reanimation drugs, supplies, and dedicated equipment (e.g., defibrillators, bag valve masks, cardiac life support drugs, etc.) plus a computer and a battery system for medical staff to update patient information in real-time.
Each medical facility has different needs and workflows, sometimes requiring the use of custom-designed equipment. An experienced medical cart provider such as Scott-Clark Medical can help you build a custom medical computer cart that meets all your needs and specifications.
Optimize Caregiving with Scott-Clark Medical
At Scott-Clark Medical, we aim to help you care for others more efficiently. We offer a selection of standard medical carts suitable for most caregiving needs, compatible with our patented FMCPT system and our world-class LiFePO4 hot-swappable batteries.
For more information regarding our products and technologies, contact us at (512) 756-7300.