Electronic Medical Record (EMR) carts are a staple in any healthcare organization. With the passing of the HITECH Act, they became even more prominent. EMR carts offer more than instant access to EMRs, they facilitate timely patient care, improve accuracy, and maximize workflow efficiency. In order to access the full potential of these workstations, they need to be designed to match the needs of the healthcare staff using them. Accessorizing these computer workstations is vital, as it ensures each worker has access to all the equipment they could need during their shift.
Ensuring you get all the accessories needed for your facility and staff the first time is one of the most important steps to successfully implementing new EMR carts. Read on for some tips and tricks that help make the process of choosing workflow accessories.
Understanding the Basics of EMR Carts
An EMR cart is a mobile workstation designed for medical professionals to access, update, and share electronic patient data seamlessly. Nurses spend 25% of each shift charting and reviewing EMRs. Having technology that can instantly access these records to keep information from being forgotten or misplaced is a necessity for any healthcare facility. EMR carts provide instant access to these records, while also offering a way to keep all equipment within arm’s reach using baskets, barcode scanner holders, shelves, and more.
The primary benefits of using EMR carts include:
Top Tips for Accessorizing EMR Carts
1. Adjustable Ergonomic Features
73.2% of nursing professionals have experienced pain or discomfort in the past year, which can be from working long hours, being hunched in uncomfortable positions, or even performing strenuous tasks. Ensuring all staff are able to work in the optimal ergonomic position whether standing or sitting is imperative to both keeping healthcare staff comfortable and lowering the amount of injuries seen.
Some of the most common ergonomic features to look out for on EMR carts include:
- Adjustable keyboard trays: Enhance comfort by allowing users to adjust the height and angle. Keyboard trays should be able to slide in and out to allow clinicians to type easily. All adjustable keyboards should offer a wrist rest to encourage frequent breaks while typing to reduce any feelings of strain or pain.
- Height adjustability: Being able to choose the height a clinician works at is perhaps the most important aspect. This allows clinicians the ability to tailor the working position completely to themselves and keeps them from feeling fatigued.
- Tilt and swivel monitor mounts: Monitor mounts that offer flexible screen positioning allow healthcare staff to pick the optimal location for viewing their screen, reducing eye strain.
Prioritizing adjustable ergonomic features on EMR carts reduces the risk of work-related injuries and boosts productivity.
2. Power Management Options
In a world full of growing technology, one of the top priorities is ensuring there are ample power options to keep staff connected. From powering computers, monitors, pumps, and more different power management options could be a benefit.
When choosing what power options to choose from consider what areas they are best suited for.
- Power Cords: A good choice for shifts that don’t need constant access to power. These could be ones that use mostly laptops, a stationary workstation, or when they will always be close to a power source. These are the lightest options overall since they allow a lightweight non-powered cart to be purchased.
- Internal Battery: Internal batteries are an option for those who need constant access to power, and have enough time to charge a workstation for 1-2 hours. The internal battery offers a secure option to power since it’s fully enclosed, and clinicians don’t have to worry about where to plug in their cart or battery in order to keep that power access.
- Hot Swappable batteries: This option works best for facilities where staff is always on the go, and may not have time, or the extra workstations, to let sit and charge for 2 hours. Hot-swappable batteries allow clinicians to have instant access to power no matter where they are. Once the external battery has been depleted, they simply switch it out for a recharged one and continue with their shift.
3. Incorporate Storage Solutions
Throughout the course of a shift, healthcare workers use a variety of equipment and items. All of this equipment needs to be stored according to any rules and regulations surrounding the equipment. Ensuring adequate storage with all the necessary features ensures clinicians are able to perform all of their duties without added stress.
When looking for storage solutions to include on your EMR carts, the best places to start are:
- Drawers: Drawers are an enclosed way to store equipment and materials. They come in locking options well suited to holding medications, and non-locking options. Drawers also come in different areas on the workstation. Depending on the need, a column-mounted or worksurface-mounted drawer can fit the needs of those in your hospital.
- Bins and Baskets: For storage needs that do not need to be enclosed, bins offer a solution. Easily store blood pressure cuffs, folders, etc. in an easy-to-reach bin.
- Shelves: Some clinicians prefer shelves due to how easy they are to grab equipment from. An upright place to store anything from printers to barcode scanners.
- Bar Code Scanner Holders: With how often clinicians scan information, positioning the bar code scanner holder within arm’s reach is essential for frequent scanning. When deciding if one is needed, consider your clinician’s usage. Would they prefer the scanner to be mounted on a shelf, or hanging on a holder?
Accessorizing EMR carts is not about luxury; it's about enhancing functionality, ensuring patient data security, and facilitating optimum patient care. It's an investment in efficiency, safety, and effectiveness.
Contact Altus to learn more about how you can accessorize the workstations in your facility.