Following the passage of the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act (an element of the 2009 Recovery Act), the healthcare industry has undergone rapid technological progress, spurring a medical IT revolution of sorts.
Today, rolling medical carts are ubiquitous in healthcare facilities. Learn why they are must-have equipment in any caregiving environment.
Improved Management of Patient Healthcare Data
The HITECH Act is sometimes known as the EMR mandate or EHR mandate. It offers many financial incentives for healthcare facilities to adopt electronic medical records (EMRs).
Nurses spend between ¼ and ½ of their shifts providing patient care, recording patient interactions, and monitoring health status. Other caregiving personnel, such as doctors, also need to access a patient’s file, read their medical history, or view diagnostics and test results such as CAT scans or X-rays.
All-electronic medical records simplify and streamline the management of all this information. With all relevant data accessible from a workstation on wheels, they became essential for managing patient data.
More Efficient Workflow and Improved Productivity
Although any type of IT or technology improvement tends to increase a given facility’s workflow, mobile computer carts have revolutionized patient caregiving in many ways.
In the past, nurses, doctors, and other personnel frequently relied on wall-mounted, static workstations in dedicated computer rooms.
Although they are a significant improvement over non-electronic solutions, static computer rooms introduced high traffic levels around the available machines, causing personnel to waste significant amounts of time traveling to and from the computer room or waiting for the next available device.
Static computer rooms kept personnel away from their patients, creating an additional problem: the longer a caregiver spends waiting their turn for a computer, the more likely they are to forget critical information or make mistakes during data entry.
Mobile workstations solved these problems. A battery-powered computer on wheels can be transported directly to the point of care, not only saving time but also letting nurses and doctors spend more time doing their jobs. In turn, patients are more likely to feel cared for and listened to, significantly improving patient outcomes.
Better Prevention of Infections
One of the top priorities of any healthcare environment is to prevent the spread of infectious agents. In facilities with static computers, most of the personnel share the same machines and peripherals. Yet, few keyboards (whether at home or in professional environments) receive regular cleaning or maintenance.
Studies revealed that keyboards are favorable environments for microorganisms, including highly infectious agents such as staphylococcus aureus, bacillus cereus, and other yeasts and molds.
Mobile workstations address this issue with designs and ergonomic features designed to facilitate cleaning and disinfection, featuring few crevices, sharp corners, or other design elements where infectious agents can spread. They are typically designed to hold laptops, which are easier to clean than desktop computers.
In addition, using a fleet of mobile workstations on each floor of your caregiving facility ensures that each machine is operated by a smaller number of caregivers, creating fewer opportunities for infectious agents to spread onto each mobile computer cart.
Improved Personnel Safety And Comfort
Although it may seem obvious, traditional static computers are designed mainly to be operated by seated personnel. Yet, this design is incompatible with the fast-paced nature of healthcare environments, where caregivers must remain on the move.
Medical personnel relying on static computers may not always have the time to sit down properly, hunching over the keyboard or adopting uncomfortable positions. This can result in long-term health issues, such as neck pain, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other conditions related to poor posture.
In contrast, mobile computer carts are height-adjustable, designed explicitly for personnel of all sizes and statures, both in standing and seated positions. They also possess other ergonomic features, such as large push handles or peripheral trays for external keyboards and optical mice, which are larger and more comfortable than the laptop’s integrated keyboard and trackpad.
Equip Your Facility With Scott-Clark Medical Computer Carts
If you need a new fleet of workstations on wheels for your healthcare facility, Scott-Clark Medical can help you. We offer a wide range of computer carts suitable for healthcare environments, such as point-of-care mobile workstations and rolling medication carts.
We can also provide custom cart solutions for special applications. Call us at (512) 756-7300 or email us using our contact form if you have any questions about our products or services or if you would like to request a quote.