Rolling computer carts, also called Workstations on Wheels (WOWs) or mobile computer carts, are a staple of medical and caregiving facilities worldwide. One of the biggest benefits of using a fleet of carts is that they are available in numerous configurations and can be completely customized to fulfill a range of different purposes.
If you’re looking to buy a new fleet of rolling computer carts or need to replace your existing older models, it is essential to understand what they can do for you. Take a look at the different cart types, understand their differences, and discover their features, options, and peripherals.
Rolling Computer Cart Basics
A medical rolling computer cart is similar in appearance and purpose to a standard industrial computer cart. Both are mobile platforms set on rolling caster wheels, featuring mounting points for a desktop computer or laptop PC and typical peripherals, such as a monitor, a keyboard, or a mouse.
Rolling computing carts specifically designed to support laptops instead of desktop PCs are known as laptop carts, although they possess the same overall purpose.
The main differences between medical and industrial carts lie in the design. Medical computer carts generally possess specific features intended to meet certain safety requirements for use in a healthcare environment, such as a simple design, safer caster wheels, rounded surfaces for easy cleaning and sterilization between patients, or height adjustment features for bedside point of care.
The primary advantage of a rolling computer cart is its mobility. A rolling cart allows your personnel to take full advantage of a computer workstation without being constrained to a static position, such as an office, a computer room, or a similar environment.
A computer cart allows you to transform a standard desktop PC intended for a home office into a fully functioning mobile workstation, granting extra flexibility and improving productivity.
The heart of a rolling computer cart is its onboard power supply: a large, long-lasting, rechargeable battery into which you can plug the computer, monitor, and all other relevant peripherals.
Without a mounted battery, rolling computer carts would still require you to plug your components into the wall socket, effectively tethering them to the room. Unplugging would mean powering down, which would render the computer unusable during transit. A battery system eliminates these limitations, significantly improving flexibility and mobility, two essential traits in the healthcare industry.
Types of Rolling Computer Carts
Although there are virtually limitless configurations and customization options, most rolling carts are generally configured to fulfill a specific purpose, such as emergency care, vitals monitoring, or medication dispensation.
The two most common standardized types of carts on wheels in medical care facilities are medication carts and point of care carts. However, many establishments also use custom carts designed to their specifications.
A medication cart (also referred to as a medical supply cart) is effectively a workstation on wheels (WOW) with additional storage compartments for medical supplies.
Medication carts offer many benefits. Reduced travel and wait times at central pharmacies ensure that medical staff spend more time with their patients and less time filling prescriptions and fetching supplies.
Increased patient-caregiver interactions have been shown to improve patient health outcomes and increase patient satisfaction. Improved efficiency also increases staff productivity, making it a cost-effective choice for your facility.
Medication carts can be customized with additional peripherals to boost productivity even more. For example, you can install extra storage baskets, a holder for a barcode scanner, or mounting points for IVs or vitals monitoring.
You can also configure your storage drawers with a wide range of options; many different sizes and numbers of storage compartments are available, including lockable drawers. Medications that are frequently abused, such as opiates, should be stored securely. Lockable drawers, using a standard key, card reader, or biometric locks, increase your facility’s security.
Point of care carts
A point of care cart is a rolling computer cart designed mainly for use in a patient’s room. Point of care carts allow caregivers to bring fully functional work computers directly to the patient’s side.
Studies have determined that these carts offer numerous essential advantages in a healthcare environment, improving patient safety and nursing efficiency. By bringing the workstation to the patient’s bedside, nursing personnel can listen to them more often, answer more of their questions, and provide better care.
In addition, staff make fewer errors because they do not have to travel to and from an office or a dedicated computer room to input patient data. As a result, patients feel heard and cared for, increasing patient satisfaction and overall caregiving quality.
Like medication carts, point of care carts are more than just mobile computers, frequently possessing additional peripherals and accessories, such as extra monitors, a printer, paper storage baskets, and miscellaneous item drawers.
Sometimes, standardized product configurations don’t meet your needs. Perhaps you could use a different number of drawers, a dual-display system for PACS imaging or heavy display monitors, or maybe you need extra mounting points for specialized hardware.
In these situations, you need a custom rolling computer cart tailored to your requirements. Call Scott-Clark Medical with a list of prerequisites and features; we can build the perfect rolling cart to meet your needs.
Security and Locking Devices
When considering the features your cart with drawers should possess, security should be one of the primary factors on your mind. Storage compartments containing sensitive medication and equipment require a secure, reliable locking mechanism. Fortunately, there are many options available.
The simplest solution is to use single-locking drawers, with one key per drawer or compartment. However, there are alternatives with added security, such as dual-locking drawers, combination locks, electronic keycard readers, or biometric locks.
Dual-locking mechanisms feature a standard mechanical lock combined with a secondary locking system that disables the primary lock when engaged. With the secondary lock engaged, you need two keys to access the contents, making it an ideal solution for extra security when your carts return to storage.
Combination locks require you to set and memorize a specific number combination to unlock it. This solution has the advantage of letting you change the combination periodically to maintain security.
Electronic locking mechanisms, such as keycard readers, offer even more security. A keycard reader is an electronic equivalent to mechanical keys, but with more convenience and safety. Keycards can be reconfigured to grant access to specific locks, eliminating the need to carry a bunch of keys.
Another alternative is the biometric lock. This lock type eliminates the need for keys, granting access to its contents by applying your finger to the scanner and showing the correct fingerprints.
Biometric locks are highly secure and easy to configure, making them a safe and efficient solution to keep unauthorized people from accessing the contents.
FMCPT Power Systems
Without a power source, your rolling computer loses its mobility. However, the healthcare environment imposes stringent demands; the power source should be reliable, long-lasting, efficient, fast-charging, and sufficiently light to keep the cart mobile and easy to use.
Typical computer cart power systems rely on commercial battery technologies that have been standard for decades, such as the lead-acid battery (Pb-acid) or the lithium-ion battery (Li-ion).
However, they come with numerous drawbacks that make them questionable choices for use in a caregiving facility. Lead-acid batteries are heavy and slow to recharge, whereas lithium-ion batteries do not have a high maximum capacity and tend to run hot under high load.
Scott-Clark Medical has partnered with UltraLife to bring you Flexible Mobile Cart Power Technology, a power system featuring state-of-the-art lithium-iron-phosphate (LiFEPO4) batteries.
LiFEPO4 battery chemistry combines high capacity (7 to 9 hours per battery), high reliability, fast charging times (only 2.5 hours for a full 0% to 100% charge), and manageable weight (8 lbs. per battery pack).
Our FMCPT power system supports dual-battery setups, allowing you to keep your rolling computer carts powered for extended periods, well past the duration of a typical 12-hour shift.
In addition, you can hot-swap our batteries, and dual-battery setups allow for swapping batteries without shutting down connected equipment. You can keep your rolling computer carts powered without interruption with a suitable battery management strategy.
Order Reliable Rolling Computer Carts on Wheels Today
Reliable, high-quality rolling computer cart solutions are essential equipment for any hospital, clinic, or caregiving facility.
At Scott-Clark Medical, our mission is to help you provide the quality and efficient care that your patients need. If your facility requires a fleet of new computer carts, we can provide you with the best standard models and custom solutions on the market. Contact us for a free quote or if you have any questions about our products and services.
Why shouldn’t I use a standard industrial computer cart?
Standard industrial computer carts typically possess design features and elements that make them unsuitable for use in healthcare environments, such as sharp angles, corners, and other difficult-to-clean crevices. These features can house bacteria and infectious agents, representing a significant health risk.
Can I use a laptop on a rolling computer cart?
We offer dedicated mobile workstation carts intended to support laptop computers. They are lighter, do not feature a mounting point for a desktop tower, and possess a countertop designed to retain and secure the laptop in place.
Do rolling computer carts support large-resolution monitors?
Standard mounts support monitors between 15” and 17” in diameter, but we also offer models capable of accepting monitors up to 24” in diameter.