Medical carts are necessary for any hospital, from specialized units for respiratory or pediatric care to emergency crash carts for treating cardiac arrest. The traditional medical cart is a low-tech system that serves simply to store and transport vital medical supplies. However, as hospitals become increasingly digitized and automated, it’s necessary to implement onboard computer systems.
The inclusion of a laptop or desktop computer in a mobile medical cart serves several essential purposes and increases the overall versatility of a standard piece of hospital equipment.
A mobile laptop cart enables the nurse or doctor to immediately access and update electronic medical records, ensuring that correct patient information is always available at the press of a button. This is vital for rendering high-quality patient care and avoiding mistakes that can have severe repercussions, such as administering the incorrect medication.
It also saves time. A doctor no longer needs to write patient information in longhand and transfer that file to a colleague. Now the doctor can simply log all appropriate information, including patient notes, during a routine visit. This also avoids the error-prone problem of interpreting another person’s handwriting correctly.
Regarding point-of-care diagnostic testing, the medical laptop cart also enables medical professionals to perform point-of-care diagnostic testing and other procedures in the patient’s room.
A medical laptop cart is a computer on wheels, so it needs its own power source. Tethering a cart to a power outlet defeats the purpose of mobility: onboard battery power for the cart is a necessity.
At Scott-Clark Medical, we offer state-of-the-art Flexible Mobile Cart Power Technology (FMCPT) that uses lithium-iron PO4 cells to deliver 6-10 hours of usable power before the batteries need to be recharged. The battery packs are hot-swappable, so staff can switch to a new cell in less than a minute, ensuring minimal disruption to patient care.
Casters are a type of wheel that medical carts use. Casters remain cleaner longer and require less maintenance than other types of wheels.
You also, however, want to ensure your cart’s casters are conductive — especially if your medical cart contains a computer system or other electronic equipment.
Electrostatic shock can damage or destroy computer systems and cause injury or discomfort to staff. The conductive caster dissipates the electrostatic charge that may otherwise accumulate, reducing the need for costly repairs or parts replacement.
Even if the electrostatic shock doesn’t destroy the computer system, it may interfere with other electronic equipment’s accuracy, producing incorrect readings or diagnostic information.
For a laptop cart to be truly versatile, it must be accessible to personnel of varying heights. As a result, some height adjustability is critical to avoiding eye and neck straight and increasing productivity. Some medical carts have not only manual height adjustability but also include motorized lift columns.
Your staff should not be uncomfortable using necessary medical equipment during their rounds. Height adjustability also serves another purpose unrelated to ergonomics: relaying information to the patient.
When a doctor or nurse explains a medical condition, diagnosis, or treatment options with a patient, they can adjust the cart’s height to allow the patient to read the information on the monitor from the comfort of their hospital bed.
The medical computer cart can be a more flexible alternative to traditional wall-mounted storage cabinets and fixed medical workstations. These mobile carts also have a small footprint and can be moved to where it’s needed, reducing clutter in an otherwise busy and densely populated medical facility.
Disinfection is critical in any medical setting. You should be able to wipe every surface with a disinfectant after the cart has been in widespread use, including with different patients.
Quick and easy disinfection protocols allow staff to use mobile medical carts on multiple wards without concerns over pathogen transfer between patients and staff.
Regardless of the purpose, a medical cart should have a key lock at a minimum to secure medication and other medical supplies. Alternatively, depending on the contents, you may opt for a more advanced access control system that uses electronics, such as RFID readers and biometrics.
This depends on whether the cart stores drugs with a high potential for addiction, such as opiates, or that can cause serious injury or death if administered to the wrong patient.
Beyond medical supplies, security is necessary for another reason: Hospitals store significant quantities of confidential patient information. It is crucial that patient information only be accessible to nurses and doctors with the correct authorization.
Any information entered into the computer can be immediately protected from further access. This is in direct contrast to traditional paper files that may be accessible to unauthorized personnel.
Custom Laptop Carts
To maximize the versatility of your laptop cart, you should consider both standard and custom options. Not every hospital or practice is the same, and even general hospitals have adapted to rapidly changing circumstances.
As a result, you may decide that an off-the-shelf model isn’t quite what you’re looking for. A manufacturer of custom carts can work with you to determine the optimal combination of features for delivering the highest standard of care possible.
At Scott-Clark Medical, we specialize in mobile medical carts. We understand first hand the importance of mobility to medical professionals. Call us at (512) 756-7300, and we’ll help you decide what type of mobile cart and configuration is the best fit for your hospital or medical practice.