How Computer Workstations on Wheels are Improving Caregiving in Hospitals
By The Altus Team
Published Apr 09, 2021
| Updated Jul 12, 2023
| 5 min read
Clinicians are in charge of not only a patient’s health but also their well-being and life. In order to make sure they’re offering them the highest level of care possible, clinicians want to be sure they’re exploring every possibility both with tests run and potential equipment.
Specific equipment clinicians have been looking into in order to improve caregiving in their hospitals is medical carts on wheels. These mobile point-of-care computer carts are one of the most effective ways hospitals have found to improve the level of care patients receive. Below we’ll work through the top 6 ways computers on wheels (COW) are allowing hospital staff to provide exceptional care for their patients.
1. Improved Data Accuracy
Electronic medical records (EMRs) allow providers to collect and organize patient data and share it with all other providers their patient sees. The process begins the moment a clinician walks into a patient's room and continues until after the patient leaves. It’s such a time-consuming process, with physicians spending 49% of their work hours interfacing with the electronic health record (EHR).
EMR charting is one area that has the potential for countless errors. For example, as a nurse cares for their patient, they must record everything in the patient’s chart. If the nurse must travel out of a patient’s room to a stationary workstation and then wait for a computer to become available to input patient data, the chance of them making a recording error increases. These errors can affect the patient’s care plan and outcomes.
To avoid these errors and improve the patient experience, hospitals are using workstations on wheels to streamline the charting process. This allows nurses to input data right as they get it, avoiding accidentally forgetting information and keeping them near their patients. Hospitals that use these types of medical carts have seen a significant drop in recording errors.
Having a computer workstation that travels with a nurse promotes timely, accurate data entry, reducing errors and improving patient care.
2. On-Hand Equipment
In addition to improved data accuracy, computer workstations allow nurses and doctors to access the equipment and supplies they need to care for each patient.
Each powered cart comes with the capabilities to have a range of accessories attached. From having locking drawers for extra storage, bins, bar code holders, and sharps containers, there’s an accessory option to match any workflow need.
Having needed equipment within easy reach prevents nurses from making multiple trips from a patient’s room to grab the supplies. This feature of mobile computer workstations saves time since they now can have everything in arm’s reach, enjoy a smoother appointment process, and improve the patient experience.
3. Reduction of Infection and Cross-Contamination
Infection caused by cross-contamination presents risks for vulnerable patients—even in the most pristine hospital settings. Nearly 1.7 million healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) occur each year in American hospitals. To combat this, hospital administrations constantly seek out methods to reduce these numbers, and mobile computer workstations prove effective.
Mobile standing point-of-care medical workstations allow nurses and providers to bring their computers with them wherever they go. This mobility prevents nurses from sharing a central workstation, and not sanitizing it before or after their use. Instead of a nurse touching multiple surfaces and needing to remember to sanitize each one, they work only on their computer cart and can disinfect it after they leave a patient’s room - leaving less change and HAI occurring.
4. Secure Medication Dispensing
In addition to housing computers, mobile workstations promote secure medication dispensing. Each year in the US, between 7,000 and 9,000 patients die as a result of medication errors. In hospitals, dispensing errors typically result from communication issues, distractions or interruptions, confusion with the drug's names or types, and a lack of knowledge or experience. Mobile computer carts can resolve these issues.
Medication delivery trolleys can include secure medication drawers where a patient’s prescriptions are stored. All prescription drugs are locked in a drawer with the patient’s name, so when a nurse retrieves the medications from the cart, the chance of a dispensing error is almost nonexistent. With this type of secure pc cart, nurses also don’t have to make trips to a medication storeroom where they might face distractions or mistakenly pull the wrong medicine.
5. Point-of-Care Streamlining
Medical computer carts allow for efficient patient care. As physicians make their rounds, they can go directly into their patient’s rooms. Instead of several different stops, and searching for an open computer to quickly read through a patient’s files, physicians are able to wheel their computer cart in, and debrief their patients. This helps them connect with their patient, while also allowing them to double-check all the information is correct.
By streamlining the patient data retrieval process, hospital staff reduce the risk of error and increase communication between healthcare staff and patients since they can verify information in real-time. Mobile computer workstations increase efficiency and allow for clear communication between doctors, nurses, and other staff.
6. Promotes Patient Engagement
Patients who receive consistent care from their nurse directly contribute to the healing process. Nurses know that compassionate engagement can make a huge difference in a patient’s hospital experience.
With this knowledge, and understanding they can have several patients to manage at one time, nurses have been turning to computer carts. These workstations allow nurses to spend more time with their patients since they don’t need to make multiple trips. Point-of-care computer carts also allow patients to have a more active role in their care and become more engaged. Nurses can swivel a monitor around to show information or charts to help the patient understand diagnoses.
The extra step medical PC carts offer nurses when it comes to improving patient engagement can be felt immediately. Patients feel more involved in their care, and have a better experience within the hospital walls.
Mobile computer workstations provide multiple benefits to hospital staff that culminates in improved patient care. Hospital staff can use their tools to perform their duties, carry out care plans more efficiently, and patients receive the compassionate care they deserve. Computer workstations on wheels promote improved caregiving in hospitals, resulting in better performance among staff and, most importantly, better outcomes for patients.
Contact Altus today to learn more about our computer carts and how they can help improve caregiving in your hospital.