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Do You Need A Mobile or Wall Mounted Computer Workstation? The Ultimate Guide

By | Published Jan 13, 2021

It can be overwhelming to try to pick a computer workstation type that fits and checks every box of your medical facility or hospital. Choosing between a mobile cart or wall-mounted computer station can drastically affect the productivity and overall happiness of you and your staff.

You want a workstation that promotes efficiency, is cost-effective, will last for years to come, and keeps your staff working comfortably — but how do you know what type of station is best for your medical facility? Let’s take a closer look.

Advantages and disadvantages of a mobile workstation.

Mobile cart computer workstations can offer a great amount of flexibility — they allow you to move from one room to the next freely at any time. They are also able to integrate technology at the direct point of care because everything that’s needed for the task at hand is in one place. With mobile computer stations being able to integrate to direct point of care, they also promote patient engagement because the clinician is easily able to adjust the screen for optimal patient viewing.

You can also easily adjust the height of a mobile station for optimal ergonomics. Ergonomics in the medical field should be a top priority when evaluating equipment. Optimal ergonomic strategy has been shown to cut costs, prevent injuries, and promote performance. Ergonomics goes beyond just the health and safety of your staff, but the patient’s health as well.

Now, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows with mobile workstations. Because they are so easily moved, they can often be left in the wrong places making them hard to find or other departments could “borrow” them.

With the importance of ergonomics in mind, if the carts are too bulky or heavy, they can cause a huge physical and mental strain on your staff. Computers do add weight to the cart, but with the lightweight Altus Clio or ClioAir and the right caster, the cart will glide with ease. It’s also vital to ensure that your facility has excellent internet speed and connectivity since mobile computer stations rely on wi-fi instead of ethernet.

With the increased use of 5G, many facilities will have broader and more sophisticated access to the internet services required for Telehealth and other digital medical applications.

Advantages and disadvantages of a wall-mounted workstation.

Perhaps the most obvious advantage of a wall-mounted station is that staff will always know exactly where it’s located — since it can’t be moved from room to room.

Wireless systems can be at a greater risk for security breaches, so a wall-mounted station can provide a safer and more secure option. It also helps for isolation units or containing highly contagious viruses by keeping equipment in the room with the patient instead of moving from room to room.

While a set location can be positive, it also limits how the station can be used. A wall-mounted computer workstation cannot be transferred to a direct point of care and if the workstation has any technical difficulties the room is useless vs a mobile unit being able to quickly switch out.

Another possible disadvantage of wall-mounts is that you will likely need more stations. Since a mounted station can’t travel from room to room, each room might need its own computer station. More equipment means more money as well as installation costs associated with wall-mounts — but sometimes those extra costs are best for your department and the patients they serve.

Before you decide, take it step by step.

Now that you know the pros and cons of each type of computer workstation, evaluate what’s most important to you and your staff by asking the following questions:

  1. Do you need your workstation to be mobile?

If yes, then a mobile cart will be your best option. Your staff will be able to easily move from one room to the next without having to worry about wires or desktops.

  1. Do you need a workstation that can remain unplugged for an entire shift?

A non-powered cart will use a laptop that can be charged every few hours throughout the day, while a powered cart will need to stay charged for an entire shift before it can be used. Learn more about powered and non-powered carts here.

  1. What type of technology will your staff be using?

If your staff prefers laptops and tablets, then you’ll have to supply mobile computer stations. If your staff prefers monitors or desktop computers, then you’ll likely choose a wall-mounted station. Likewise with powered and non-powered options, if your staff prefers the computer to last an entire shift without charging, either a wall-mounted or powered computer are your best options.

  1. Do you always need to have the triangle of care?

Direct patient care can be accomplished with all workstations if set up properly. However, the best option is a powered cart so you can always be mobile and travel easily from room to room.

  1. Does it need to be in an isolation unit?

An optimal isolation unit computer workstation doesn’t leave the room due to sanitary and safety reasons. If the workstation will be in an isolation unit, it should be wall-mounted.

  1. How often does technology need to be replaced?

Replacing or servicing your workstations is inevitable. With wall-mounts you need to shut down the entire room for servicing, but mobile carts, both powered and non-powered, can easily be swapped out without closing the room.

  1. Are multiple points of adjustability important?

With ergonomics in mind, seamless adjustability is very important. With mobile carts, you can adjust the keyboard tilt, height, monitor height, and tilt. Wall-mounts are stationary and the only adjustable part is the overall height.

  1. Do you need a battery?

If yes, you will need a powered cart and the battery will offer continuous power to the cart for an entire shirt. If you don’t need a battery, a wall mount or non-powered cart will work well.

Weigh out all of your options.

So which is better, a mobile or wall-mounted computer workstation? There is no one right answer. Both offer a variety of advantages and unique solutions to promote efficiency in your facility. This decision should be based on the needs of your facility, ergonomics, and the quality of patient care.

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