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When do you need a powered or non-powered computer cart?

By Team Altus
Published Apr 13, 2018 | Updated Aug 01, 2022 | 5 min read

Prior to powered carts hitting the market, non-powered computer carts were the only option. It had made decision-making easier for hospitals since they only needed to choose between different shapes of workstations. Now hospitals have to first understand the bigger scope of their workflow to invest in the optimal computer workstation.

Altus created this guide to help navigate the world of medical computer carts and help you make the best purchasing decision.

How do I know if I need a powered cart?

Before answering this question, there’s an additional list of questions to answer.

  1. Does your hospital use EMR for data entry and documentation daily?

  2. Do you need the workstations to be mobile and not tied to a wall for a charge?

  3. Do your clinicians need continuous power to properly perform their job duties?

  4. Are your clinicians carrying around equipment and medication that need to be secured?

If any of the answers to the above questions were “yes,” then a powered mobile computer cart could be the best fit for your hospital. These types of computers on wheels use a LiFePO4 (Lithium Iron Phosphate) battery to provide clinicians with enough power to last their entire shift. So there is no worry about where to plug the cart in, or if staff will have to interrupt a patient mid-sentence to go charge a workstation.

Powered carts are the chosen type of workstation for hospitals where the staff is constantly moving from patient room to patient room. It allows them to carry every item they need, including a range of accessories like bar code scanners, and fit any clinician with sit-to-stand features.

Battery powered computer workstations also work for a range of workflow needs. There are lightweight models that ease the strain on clinicians as they push and pull them around their floors bringing care to every patient.

Another option for powered carts is medication delivery carts with locking drawers. The secure drawers offer enough space for any medical equipment, medication, or even IV bags needed. They fit into the drawers and are within arm’s reach of the clinician using them so they have no need to bend.

Altus powered carts deliver at the point of care in a simple, yet effortless way. They give clinicians the flexibility and convenience they need during their shifts when performing several duties at once.

When are non-powered workstations on wheels the better option?

The best way to answer this question is by checking off these questions:

  • Is there enough time for clinicians to plug their computers into a wall?

  • Is the preferred technology method a laptop?

  • Are you looking for a mobile desk rather than a full-service EMR charting cart?

If any of the answers to the above questions were “yes,” then a non-powered workstation on wheels can be the right addition to your facility.

Non-powered carts offer the same durability and mobility as powered options. So clinicians are able to still bring it from room to room to meet with patients. They have ample space on the worksurface, so clinicians are able to house their laptops, files, and additional equipment. Like their powered counterparts, a range of accessories is built tailored to them including baskets to hold any files and equipment.

While all of their function is similar to powered workstations, non-powered carts thrive in their options. They have been tailored to fit any workflow needed, and range in styles. There are locking laptop carts, LCD monitor carts, kidney-shaped, and even laptop carts with drawers. All to help improve workflows so clinicians can offer a higher level of care to their patients.

Which type of computer cart is better?

This is no definite answer to this question. Both non-powered and powered carts have their benefits and work to make clinicians more comfortable while they work. The best answer to which is better lies in your responses to the questions above, and what your individual hospital’s workflow needs are today and will be into the future.

If you’d like to discuss the various types of workstations would be the best fit or would like more information on any of our computer workstations, contact Altus today.

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Altus wow cart with a battery.