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Non-Powered Virtual Visit Carts - What They Mean for Healthcare

By Altus Team | Published Nov 16, 2020 | 7 min read

The healthcare industry has seen a seemingly impossible innovation over the last few decades. Even now, new technology arrives every day that improves how the healthcare industry provides patient care. One of the newest and most effective ways providers are treating their patients is with virtual visit carts.

Virtual visit carts are sleek, easy-to-maneuver, non-powered telehealth carts that are brought to patients inside their hospital rooms—or other holding rooms in a healthcare facility. The carts support tablets so virtual communication can take place. These virtual visits allow patients to have direct access to their providers even if, for whatever reason, the provider can’t be physically present in the room.

Virtual visit carts lower the cost of care, provide greater access to providers, and give patients excellent outcomes. These non-powered carts are low-cost investments for healthcare companies that are revolutionizing the patient experience.

Lower Costs

Virtual visit carts allow providers to essentially be in multiple places at once. For hospitals, this ultimately results in greater efficiency of patient care. And as with every other industry, the more efficient, the more money your facility can save—and that means more funding is available for patient care. And when more money is allocated for the patient, the patient has a better experience—both emotionally and physically. If the goal of a healthcare provider is to give their patients the absolute highest level of care, non-powered virtual visit carts are an excellent option to consider. They allow hospital systems to utilize their staff to the fullest while saving time and therefore money.

Higher Protection for Staff and Other Patients

One of the great benefits of virtual visit carts is the ability to maintain the safety of healthcare workers as well as other patients in a facility. For instance, if a patient enters a facility exhibiting symptoms of a serious or highly infectious disease, the first step of the staff will be to isolate that patient to keep others in the building safe.

Once that patient is in a room, a virtual visit cart allows a provider to screen the patient and take the initial steps to confirm or deny their diagnosis. The fewer instances of potential exposure, the better. When hospitals employ virtual visit carts, they are able to speak one-on-one and in real-time with a patient without increasing the risk of infection or cross-contamination to other workers or patients.

Greater Simplicity

Unlike traditional telemedicine carts, virtual visit carts are far more simple and less intimidating for patients. Virtual visit carts are designed specifically for provider-to-patient communication, so they don’t include the equipment that other carts might have. Non-powered carts don’t even have cords, so there’s no risk for tripping or damaging the carts because power cords get caught in doorways or on other equipment. Their sleek design mean these carts save space, are easily transported and stored, and allow the patient to focus in on their provider.

Additionally, there’s less upfront training for nurses or support staff who are helping patients use the carts. A healthcare worker needs only to know how to use a tablet and the software chosen by the hospital to enable virtual communication between the patient and the provider when non-powered carts are used.

Patients Stay Connected

Virtual visit carts are ideal for provider-to-patient contact, but they are also perfect for allowing patients to stay connected with family during long hospital stays. Patients who do not feel comfortable using a smartphone for virtual conversations can highly benefit from the larger screens of virtual visit carts. In settings where patients aren’t allowed a large number of visitors—or any visitors at all—virtual visit carts help keep patients connected to their loved ones, keeping them more emotionally healthy during their stay.

Versatility

The virtual visit carts of today are incredibly versatile. Traditional telemedicine equipment comes with a monitor and a lot of other equipment that prevents the carts from being multi-use tools. However, virtual visit carts are one-size-fits-most in the sense that they can support a variety of tablets and communication tools.

This feature means that these carts will last longer than other telemedicine carts because there’s no software or equipment upgrading. If a hospital system decides to switch virtual visit tablets or change software, there’s no need to purchase a new fleet of carts. Most virtual visit carts have the ability to house a number of different tablet makes and models, making them more of a long-term investment than other telehealth equipment that becomes outdated and obsolete after a few years.

Quarantined Physicians Can Still Work

In a global society, we are more connected today than ever before. But with this connectivity comes greater risk for infection of communicable disease. That means healthcare providers are at higher risk for a wider variety of infections than ever before.

However, virtual visit carts allow infected—or potentially infected or quarantined—physicians to continue working to help manage a large caseload of patients. A quarantined physician can remotely provide care in multiple locations all from their home. While a virtual visit cart isn’t the same as in-person care, a patient still gets to hear from their doctor, and that provides a personal touch while keeping the patient safe yet still cared for.

Solutions to Staffing Shortages

Staffing shortages in rural health clinics and hospitals are common—much more common than in urban areas. And the chasm in these rates is on-trend to grow even wider in the next ten years. However, virtual visit carts allow patients to receive the care they need even if a provider isn’t in the room—or in the same facility—where they’ll be receiving care. Providers can provide the level of care their patients need and deserve despite the barriers that many small rural healthcare centers face. Even if a practice or clinic cannot afford to keep providers on-site at all times, they can still have access to these providers and take advantage of their expertise.

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