Hospital work is challenging, even for experienced staff members. The amount of time nurses, physicians, technicians, and even office staff spend significantly more time on their feet than other professions. Their workload increases more when you factor in moving patients, inserting IVs, and handling emergencies that require fast movement.
Hospitals can invest in better equipment to make the work easier for teams, improving morale and hopefully reducing turnover. As technology continues to improve, computer carts have become more practical for viewing and updating medical records on the go.
Look for Ergonomics
Your team members will have to push or pull their cart most or all of a shift. This can cause repetitive motion injuries, back and neck strain, and other negative impacts if the cart isn’t ergonomically designed. Plus, carts can be difficult to maneuver into patient rooms, especially in older hospitals with less space in doorways.
Cart handles should be shaped to reduce strain and placed at an optimal height for pushing and pulling. The cart’s overall weight needs to be as low as possible, which requires the right balance of stainless steel, aluminum, and plastic parts.
Since different team members use the same cart, it needs to be height-adjustable. Having the correct height is essential not just for pushing and pulling but also for general computer use. Monitors that are too low or too high can cause neck strain.
Keyboard trays, tool buckets, scanners, and other peripheral equipment fit onto the same cart when arranged and sized correctly. Having staff grab their accessories at the start of their shift can result in them forgetting essential items. Installing peripherals directly onto carts not only reduces omissions but also sharply reduces the likelihood that an object will fall off and get damaged.
You can even add medication drawers to the computer cart to make it easier for your staff to manage multiple tasks at once. Electronic locking medication drawers are better for patient safety because they can be programmed with additional safety features to reduce medication errors.
To decide the right customization options for your facility, consult with your team members, including nurse managers, specialists, physicians, technicians, and others who will use the carts. Since carts are a long-term investment, you’ll want to make sure they’re thoughtfully designed by a manufacturer specializing in making carts for healthcare organizations.
Get Better Batteries
The battery life of your computer carts is essential to employee morale. Having to stop and change a battery or plug into a wall outlet halfway through a shift interrupts employees’ workflow and can disrupt patient care.
Older battery systems lost their charge within 4-6 hours, necessitating one or even two battery changes on longer shifts. The good news is that the battery charge on new lithium-ion batteries is much stronger, lasting 6-10 hours.
Scott-Clark Medical has even created a hot swap battery system that makes it possible to change the battery without interrupting power to the onboard computer and electronic equipment. The second battery slot allows any staff member to load a new battery effortlessly, then remove the old battery and return it to a charger.
Buy the Right Monitors
Although some carts are only designed for staff use or checking vital signs, physicians and technicians may need larger monitors for displaying test results and other information for patients. Elderly patients need monitors to be large and detailed so they can see clearly.
Our carts are available with dual monitor mounts so your team can display as much information as possible at once. Even if your team usually uses laptops or tablets, have some larger monitor carts on hand for communication with patients or even other staff members.
Think About Sanitation
To prevent the spread of serious illnesses, your team members need to sanitize the cart. This process becomes much easier if the cart has as few small gaps and tight corners as possible. Carts that are specially designed for medical environments can reduce these problematic areas.
Most carts include stainless steel, aluminum, and plastic parts, with the metal parts carefully painted for a more durable rust-free finish. Any plastic on the cart needs to be highly durable to eliminate cracks and chips. Cheap plastics increase sanitation concerns over time and may even cause issues with health regulations.
Your Partner for Computer Carts and More
Each ward in your facility requires different mobile equipment; wards that serve terminally ill cancer patients have different needs than pediatric wards. Depending on how large your hospital is, you may need well over a dozen different computer carts to meet your staff’s needs. That doesn’t even take into account medication carts, anesthesia carts, and emergency crash carts.
Scott-Clark Medical has the engineering experience you need to meet patient medical needs and staff morale, and ergonomic needs. We can work with you to develop a plan for your customized cart designs. Call our team at (512) 756-7300 to learn more about our process and customization options. We can even retrofit your current fleet.