Investing in a mobile medical computer cart can seem like an easy decision for those working in a clinical setting. The carts are well-equipped, versatile and can bring many advantages to a healthcare setting.

However, the purchaser must also consider many other elements to help them choose the right cart or fleet of carts for their environment. From data security to physical safeguards, to emergency response times, a purchaser will have many options. A buyer should have a detailed understanding of how the medical cart will improve their unique clinical needs while they make their decision.

What is Your Goal?

The purchase of a mobile medical cart will is often motivated by the desire to improve an aspect of the care provided. Is it efficiency, safety, confidentiality, or all three and even more the buyer wishes to improve? Establishing a clear picture of your goals enables our team to show you the cart and accessories that will meet your needs.

A Mobile Computer on Wheels

A mobile computer cart is also known as a laptop cart or a mobile workstation. The built-in battery power system allows a user to transport computer workstations around a healthcare setting.

There is a spacious work surface that holds the computer and the keyboard tray comfortably, while still leaving plenty of desk space for a user. Information is always available to the user at the point of care.

Information is retained electronically, with all departments having the capability to upload data to a patient file. A physician attending a patient’s bedside can view notes uploaded from colleagues, lab test results, X-ray and scan images and any other records added.

The centralization of an electronic patient file allows healthcare professionals to upload information in real-time from any department in the hospital. Paper files or charts kept on the end of a patient’s bed may be read by other patients or even visitors to a hospital.

Patients and professionals may question whether these practices meet strict HIPAA data protection regulations. An institution only granting access to staff with the correct permissions to password-protected files adds an essential layer of protection to patient data.

Patient Safety

Data protection is vital for patient safety, but there are also physical risks in a hospital. A patient may need urgent medical care; the physician’s response time could be the difference between a positive outcome or a negative one. A physician with access to a fully equipped mobile medical cart can respond more efficiently than one who needs to look for equipment as they react.

Emergencies are not the only physical risk that will be of importance to a healthcare facility. Physicians on routine daily rounds will need to prescribe medication and ensure they account for the prescription in records. If a physician needs to write an order, and the patient needs to collect it from the pharmacy or the physician needs to physically go themselves to receive it on the patient’s behalf, then this is inefficient.

A physician with a fully stocked mobile medical cart can prescribe and distribute medication at the point of care. Accountability is crucial in this scenario and technology ensures the process is transparent and recorded.

Users can fit secure locking drawers on each cart. Personnel can access the drawer using a standard lock and key method, or an owner can equip carts with advanced biometric locking systems that can only be unlocked using proximity scanners. In this scenario, a facility would provide the team member with a specially coded key card. The proximity scanners will only grant access to those carrying the appropriate encoded card.

This method ensures that patients cannot access the locked medication drawers. The next step is to ensure medication is accounted for and prescribed only when necessary.

A barcode scanning system generates an electronic record when a user removes medication from the cart. The file shows which personnel removed the drug, which patient they prescribed it to, and the date and time this occurred.

Patients are protected as medication records are uploaded and saved in real-time, minimizing the risk of another physician or a pharmacist releasing the same medication twice.

Physicians are also protected as they are recording their actions for future upcoming audits. They can prove what they prescribed and when they did it, demonstrating good practice.

Patient Engagement

Studies indicate a patient who feels like their physician is consulting them and that they are involved in their treatment plan, may have better outcomes. A medical computer cart can help a physician establish a better working relationship with their patients.

Physicians have all the medical information they need when at the point of care. Having data there at the time of the visit makes it easier for the physician to talk about the patient’s condition and their treatment options. Not having to interrupt their consultation to go and find scan images or lab results means the conversation can flow and the patient gets the full attention of the physician.

A healthcare professional can use the height adjustment facility on the cart to lower the high quality LED screen to the height of the patient’s bed. A physician can sit next to the patient, at their height, and discuss what their results mean.

The computers are internet-enabled, so the physician and patient can look up complex information on the internet, with diagrams and images downloaded to assist the patient’s understanding.

When a physician allows a patient to see their medical file, it may promote a feeling of trust. A patient should not feel like there is information a physician is not sharing. An open and honest relationship can help them feel better about their stay in the hospital.

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Improve Infection Control

In every clinical setting, infection control is a vital consideration. Infections can cause further illness, or in some cases, even death. Both patients and healthcare professionals are at risk, and healthcare facilities need to minimize the risk of infections spreading.

Healthcare professionals can equip their mobile carts to carry many pieces of equipment. Devices to take a patient’s vital signs, provide an intravenous drip, computers that store all patient information, and sterilization tools are all easily accessible. The professional can work through their shift without the need to visit a central office area to use a computer or collect gowns or masks.

A central bank of computers or an equipment store can receive heavy use by many professionals from different specialties. Infection transference is a risk and could encourage the spreading of germs around a hospital facility.

A physician can disinfect a mobile cart before and after each patient interaction. They can access the sterilization equipment such as wipes and sprays directly from the cart.

After they have disinfected the cart, they can safely dispose of the dirty wipes and cloths in secure antimicrobial containers. At the end of their shift, the user can then transfer the waste to larger hospital bins.

Keyboard covers, masks, gowns, gloves and shoe covers can make the infection control measures more robust. The mobile cart surfaces are easy to wipe down. At Scott-Clark Medical, we can even coat the surface of the frame with an antimicrobial covering.

The covering minimizes the risk of an infection travelling on the surface of the cart, transferring around the ward. A professional using a rigorous infection control routine combined with this covering, decreases the risk of infection transference.

In Conclusion

At Scott-Clark Medical, we provide high-quality carts and accessories that can significantly assist healthcare professionals in their work. A healthcare facility should equip their staff with the devices they need to be as efficient and effective as possible.

A healthcare professional is a highly-trained member of your team; equipping them with the right tools to maximize their potential, can help a facility to raise their level of patient care.

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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