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Tablet Carts and Virtual Visit Carts - What they Mean for Healthcare

By Altus Team
Published Nov 16, 2020 | Updated Jun 28, 2022 | 5 min read

The healthcare industry has seen numerous innovations 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 tablet carts.

Virtual visitor carts, like Altus’ Cameo, are sleek, easy-to-maneuver, telehealth carts that come with or without a powerstrip. They can be brought to a patient’s bedside so they can virtually visit with their family, or into a private holding room somewhere else in a healthcare facility to conduct virtual doctor’s visits. The carts support tablets and LCD monitors so virtual communication can take place. These virtual visits allow patients to have direct access to their providers even if the provider can’t be physically present in the room.

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

Lower costs

Virtual visitor carts allow providers to be in what seems like multiple places at once. They can care for their patients in different areas and buildings, all from their hospital.

For hospitals, this ultimately results in greater efficiency of patient care. And as with every other industry, the more efficient, the more money budget is able to be transferred to patient care. When more budget 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, mobile telemedicine carts are an excellent option to consider.

Increased protection for staff and other patients

One of the great benefits of telehealth tablet 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, telehealth equipment 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 visitor 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 with other workers or patients.

Greater simplicity

Unlike traditional telemedicine carts, tablet carts are far more simple and less intimidating for patients. These telehealth carts are designed specifically for patients to communicate with their doctors and family with the cart placed bedside.

These carts combine usability with accessibility. They can come with or without a powerstrip to provide a charge to the tablet or LCD monitor all day and can be customized with several accessory options to ensure the mobile telemedicine cart fits your hospital’s workflows and virtual visitor needs. Each one also boasts a sleek design so it can roll right next to any patient’s bed, or be stored away until its next user.

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 carts are used.

Patients stay connected

Virtual visitor 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 can’t, or do not feel comfortable using a smartphone for virtual conversations can highly benefit from the larger screens featured on Cameo virtual visitor carts.

In settings where patients aren’t allowed a large number of visitors—or any visitors at all—virtual visitor carts help keep patients connected to their loved ones, keeping them more emotionally healthy during their stay.

Versatility

The tablet 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, mobile virtual visitor carts are able to be tailored to fit your workflow’s needs in the sense that they can support a variety of tablets, accessories, LCD monitors, 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 telehealth tablets or change software, there’s no need to purchase a new fleet of carts. Most tablet 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 provide care

In a global society, we are more connected today than ever before. But with this connectivity comes a 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, tablet 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 visitor 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 visitor 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

Conclusion

Having a telehealthcare option that fits into your hospital’s workflow is imperative, especially as hospitals move toward more technology usage. Having tablet carts, such as the Cameo, connects patients to their doctors and families at the touch of a screen, while also improving efficiency.

Implementing a new fleet of virtual visitor carts can be a big decision. Contact Altus to learn how the Cameo can improve your hospital’s telehealth workflows and what the process looks like.

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