To adapt to the continuously changing demands of a hospital or other medical facility, your equipment needs to perform reliably. Whether you use Microsoft Windows or macOS, a modern mobile computer cart provides medical professionals access to patient records for diagnosis and assessment.
However, not all mobile computer carts or medical carts offer the same functionality. You need to assess your facility’s needs and find mobile computer carts that offer features that improve your workflow.
What is a Mobile Computer Cart?
A mobile computer cart is also known as a point-of-care cart. This mobile workstation allows hospital staff to transport a laptop or desktop computer, complete with an onboard power system, to patient care locations. The cart offers space to use a high-resolution monitor, desktop PCs, and a wide range of other electronic devices.
How to Find the Best Mobile Computer Cart
When searching for a mobile computer cart or medication cart, look for the following essential characteristics.
One of the most important factors to consider when selecting a mobile computer cart is maneuverability. The cart should be easy to maneuver in confined spaces, where tight corners and floor surfaces vary.
Multi-surface casters that swivel are the perfect mobility solution. Nurses and doctors need to transport carts through narrow doorways and cluttered hallways, especially when carrying heavy equipment. A narrow wheelbase and swiveling casters allow for optional portability.
In addition, a mobile computer cart should be compact and relatively lightweight. Reducing bulk and the resulting footprint increases the maneuverability of the system and the number of locations suitable for locking it in place.
When you’ve found a suitable location for your cart, the casters should lock in place, providing security when interacting with patients. A caster is not a wheel but an assembly, including the part that attaches the wheel to the cart. The assembly should feature a foot-activated locking mechanism to prevent the cart from rolling when in use.
Hot-Swappable Battery Power System
Non-powered mobile carts do not provide the versatility of carts that use onboard battery systems. The need to keep mobile computer carts charged and running is critical when you’re on the clock and need to respond to patient demands.
Not only does the mobile cart’s power system need to keep your desktop PC operational for several hours, but it should also allow for hot swapping. This ensures your cart and electronics continue operating without interruption.
In addition to hot swap capability, the battery system should have the following:
Scott-Clark Medical’s Flexible Mobile Cart Power Technology (FMCPT) consists of a rechargeable lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery that significantly reduces recharge wait times.
Each battery pack recharges fully in 2.5 hours and provides up to 12 hours of operational time.
Non-distracting visual indicator
When the battery charge is low, there should be a visual indicator. However, this indicator should not be distracting to nurses or other medical personnel.
Sufficient battery life
The battery should provide a sufficient charge for at least one full shift (between 6 to 10 hours.) Our mobile computer carts can be outfitted with batteries that feature a diagnostic state of charge indication. The indicator makes an audible noise and features a well-lit screen to show the amount of charge remaining.
When one battery needs to be recharged, a staff member can attach the battery to a wall-mounted charging station.
Convenient to charge/replace
Keeping your power supply functional should not be a complicated or time-consuming process. Ideally, your mobile cart’s power supply is easy to remove, charge, and replace.
This allows you to spend more time doing what you need to: treating patients and documenting important information.
Protection Against Hazards
Your mobile computer cart should be a high-performance accessory with a durable design. Medical facilities can be unpredictable, and your mobile computer cart must be able to protect your computer workstation against a variety of hospital-related hazards.
Electrostatic shock is one of the most significant hazards regarding electronics and computer equipment. In addition to potentially damaging electronic components, electrostatic shock can also cause severe pain.
To minimize the risks associated with electrostatic shock, a mobile computer cart should have conductive casters to protect the onboard computer equipment and battery systems. Conductive casters, also called dissipative casters, are designed to reduce the buildup of static electricity in the cart.
The conditions of a hospital can be unpredictable. The chaos of a busy medical facility can place stress on both personnel and equipment. So, aside from static electricity protection, the cart should be rigidly constructed and resistant to impact. Scott-Clark Medical carts are mostly metal, so our carts are built to last.
Easy to Clean and Maintain
Hospitals and other medical facilities contain a myriad of pathogens and contaminants. It’s crucial to sterilize work surfaces regularly to prevent staff and patient infections and the spread of disease.
Any mobile computer or medical cart you use in your facility should have work surfaces accessible for cleaning and compatible with common cleaning products. Your cart should not have too many crevices or corners that are difficult to clean, as this can compromise your sanitation efforts.
In addition, cart materials play an important role in maintenance and safety. Cracks, scratches, and other types of surface damage can allow bacteria and viruses to collect, posing a challenge to hospital staff who need to wipe down everything to protect themselves and others.
At Scott-Clark Medical, our medical and computer carts are mostly aluminum and stainless steel, providing a combination of strength, durability, and ease of cleaning. We also use custom-molded plastic components to reduce weight. However, we only use dense, impact- and abrasion-resistant materials to minimize the potential for damage and micro-organism growth.
Ergonomics is essential to user comfort and the long-term health of workers when using equipment in different industries. Medical staff often work long hours under high-stress conditions and must remain alert and focused.
When using a computer workstation, the design should be user-friendly and comfortable to operate. For that reason, a high degree of adjustability is ideal. User comfort cannot be overemphasized regarding mobile computer carts.
Large handles are a great addition because they allow nurses to maintain control of the cart under various conditions, from wet floors to lateral impact. An adjustable frame and a motorized column lift allow staff members to set the system’s height according to their individual needs and preferences.
While maneuverability of the cart is its own trait, the design of the casters can increase user comfort and reduce the effort necessary to relocate the cart. This translates to less strain on the staff member’s joints.
Ergonomics includes safety, and a safe cart should use coiled or retractable power cords for efficient cable management, allowing you to keep wires organized and out of the way.
Compatible With a Variety of Computer and Electronics Systems
Assuming the cart meets all other criteria, you also need it to have a design compatible with the use of computer systems. It should have a standard mount that allows you to conveniently attach your desktop computer monitor to the system, and mouse and keyboard trays should be ambidextrous or configurable for either right- or left-handed users.
If you need a mobile computer system that you can take with you, the computer cart should also be compatible with a laptop. Scott-Clark Medical’s computer carts are versatile — you can choose a model with a laptop tray. Flip the desktop, and you can place a laptop inside. You can also see the laptop screen through the gap in the desktop lid.
Why You Need a Fleet of Custom Carts
Not every hospital or medical facility is the same. The conditions can vary widely from one location to another. As a result, a one-size-fits-all solution isn’t always best. If you need customization options, Scott-Clark Medical has a variety of add-on options available. The FMCPT kit allows you to install a medical-grade power outlet, allowing you to use your cart as a mobile power supply for other hospital equipment.
Scott-Clark Medical offers carts compatible with desktop and laptop computers from all major manufacturers. In addition to your work PC, Scott-Clark’s standard modules can be used with several peripheral devices necessary to the medical professional. These include:
Barcode and document scanners
RFID scanners for barcodes and documents play an important role in record-keeping, admitting and identifying patients, and tracking medication. Having these attached to and powered by your mobile cart’s onboard power supply or connected to the system can increase efficiency.
Whether you need a printer for documents or a specialized printer for patient ID wristbands, having the device on your mobile cart simplifies the process.
Magnetic card reader
Magnetic swipe cards are used in medical settings for security purposes. Because there is confidential information on mobile computers, it’s important to control access to these devices. That also applies to the contents of the drawers if the cart is used for storing medications.
Electronic signature pads
An electronic signature pad allows medical personnel to collect a patient’s handwritten signature. This reduces paper waste, saves money, and eliminates the need to digitize paper records and destroy them at specific time intervals.
Scott-Clark Medical Custom Solutions
Your computer cart should be able to accommodate these devices and more, ensuring you can provide the highest standard of care possible while maintaining security and stability. At Scott-Clark Medical, we offer both standard modules and custom cart configurations to meet the specialized needs of your medical facility.
For example, our Intensivist Camera Cart can provide remote-controlled panning and tilting zoom functions up to eight feet. Our PACS Viewing Station provides two large displays, a special-purpose computer system, and a 12-hour battery system for use in the operating room.
Our all-purpose cart also combines many peripheral electronics necessary in a medical setting, such as vital-sign monitoring equipment and electronic signature pads, into a convenient-to-use system.
Contact Us for Information About Mobile Carts
At Scott-Clark Medical, we design and manufacture state-of-the-art mobile medical and computer carts for medical professionals who need the best. If our products don’t meet your specialized requirements, we also offer a custom service. Call us at (512) 756-7300, and we’ll help you select the optimal computer or medical cart for your staff and hospital conditions.