The Importance of Ergonomics in Healthcare Facilities Beyond Physical Wellness
By The Altus Team
Published Feb 07, 2022
| Updated Nov 16, 2022
| 5 min read
Many healthcare systems realize the value of providing ergonomic equipment for their staff. Research proves the physical benefits of such equipment, and with many healthcare workers managing shifts of 12 hours or more, ergonomic equipment is needed to keep them comfortable and able to help patients.
While the physical wellness improvements proper ergonomics brings are a major help to hospital staff, ergonomics offers more than just physical benefits. In this article, we explore how ergonomics positively influence healthcare facilities, and how the physical wellness of staff affects the operations of hospital systems.
1. Productivity and Efficiency
In today’s healthcare environment, every moment counts. Healthcare workers are responsible for more patients than ever while increasing demands on data entry, and shrinking staff and resources.
By providing ergonomic equipment for healthcare workers, productivity and efficiency within hospital systems increase exponentially. For example, many daily tasks require nurses and providers to twist or bend in uncomfortable positions. By issuing ergonomic workstations to the floor, healthcare workers can avoid awkward postures that result in fatigue, soreness, and lost time, and be more comfortable as their shift goes on.
When an individual working in healthcare is comfortable and has the resources they need to work safely, they are happy and able to spend more of their energy on helping patients who walk through their doors. Happy nurses mean increased productivity and efficiency, and most importantly patients are happy with the level of care received.
2. Accurate Data Entry
Electronic medical records (EMRs) allow for patient information to be shared among providers, enabling clinicians to view entire medical histories quickly and confidentially. The importance of accurate medical records cannot be overstated. It’s through EMRs that crucial data is shared to find the best treatment path for patients.
Nurses and providers are responsible for inputting new patient data into their EMRs. But long shifts, a high-stress environment, and the fatigue that results from healthcare jobs can cause errors in data entry practices.
Fatigue is perhaps the biggest factor in data entry errors, and is overwhelmingly common among healthcare workers. It affects every aspect of patient care and can make or break patient satisfaction. A fatigued nurse is less focused, more stressed, and more likely to make mistakes while at work. Hospital administrations constantly seek out methods to reduce nurse fatigue to mitigate errors and improve hospital performance. Implementing ergonomically designed equipment provides significant aid in safety and comfort to exhausted team members.
Ergonomically-designed mobile medical workstations from Altus are made with providers and nurses in mind. The adjustable height and comfortable design make data entry comfortable regardless of the user. Each LCD cart can hold up to 20 pounds, so nurses can combine ergonomic workstations with the optimal monitor size for EMR charting. Providers and staff can also raise or lower the workstation to their liking so they can enter or review crucial patient information without straining their wrists, backs, or necks.
When hospital staff has access to ergonomic workstations, they aren’t distracted by pain or fatigue that results from crouching over a desk. Instead, they can focus on inputting patient data quickly and accurately.
3. A Comfortable Work Environment
Most healthcare workers work long hours. Healthcare is home to highly demanding jobs with high expectations and immense stress. Over the last few years, the level of nurse burnout has increased, leading to a mass exodus of nurses from the healthcare industry.
Burnout is common among nurses, providers, and even support staff. Within a healthcare facility, burnout does not typically result from a single source. It’s a culmination of individual occurrences, inconveniences, and frustrations that bring employees to a breaking point. And with a nationwide shortage of healthcare workers, the issue is more prevalent than ever.
To combat this crisis, hospital administration seeks ways to create healthy, balanced, and comfortable work environments for their staff. Providing ergonomic equipment for clinicians and nurses increases comfort during long and demanding shifts, reducing stressors that contribute to burnout.
Altus’s uniquely designed workstations empower healthcare workers to do their jobs effectively and efficiently in comfort. Implementing ergonomic medical carts reduces the pain and discomfort associated with the repetitive motions of data entry and patient record retrieval.
If nurses can work comfortably, they’re more likely to enjoy their job, which results in higher performance and less employee turnaround for hospitals.
4. Improves ROI for Hospitals
An employee’s physical health is directly linked to a hospital’s performance. A successful program requires all staff to perform at their best. And if staff incur preventable injury while at work, the hospital system must spend valuable resources while the team member heals.
Modern ergonomic equipment is a front-end investment that can save hospitals thousands of dollars over time. A study we conducted found that institutions that implement ergonomics programs see a 21 percent decrease in time lost due to occupational injuries.
Hospitals with ergonomic equipment can enjoy the following benefits:
- Fewer requests for time off
- Fewer staff injuries and worker’s compensation claims
- Fewer mistakes in patient care
- A healthier work environment and lower staff turnover
Ergonomics significantly affects staff health, and staff health influences both the day-to-day and long-term operations of a hospital system. When staff is healthy, hospital systems reduce spending and can allocate their resources where they’re needed most –– not on preventable injury, burnout, and staff error.
5. Improve the Patient Experience
The goal of any healthcare facility is to provide the best patient care possible. Ergonomic equipment is one of many factors that contribute to a well-run hospital. Ergonomic equipment and devices empower hospital staff to execute tasks to the best of their ability. When they can work in comfort and safety, the patient benefits as well.
As mentioned above, ergonomics improves accuracy in data entry and order execution. Providers have greater mental and physical capacity to perform in their roles. When healthcare facilities provide equipment that empowers their staff, patient care improves across the board.
A healthcare facility’s most valuable asset is its team, and ergonomics plays a crucial role in the day-in and day-out performance of your team. Altus offers a suite of ergonomic products designed with healthcare workers in mind. Looking to further your facility’s ergonomics journey, or view all our products? Contact us to see if your qualify for a free sample cart.