The use of technology to support the delivery of superior patient care continues to expand, which makes thoughtfully designed, reliable, easy-to-use workstation solutions even more important.
Below are excerpts from a series of articles in the March 2021 issue of Healthcare Purchasing News, written by Rick Dana Barlow. Barlow’s articles, “Convenience and Mobility Drive Cart and Workstation Progress”, ”Pandemic Punctuates Cart, Workstation Utility” and “What Cart, Workstation Improvements Would You Make” include an interview with Steve Torbett, Senior Product Manager for Capsa Healthcare.
Carts and workstations play more prominent roles at the point-of-care
The prominent role that mobile workstations play for mobility and convenience at the point-of-care continues to grow as the use of technology increases and carts carry more of what caregivers need. Nurses spend a lot of time on patient documentation, medication administration and care coordination, all requiring the use of their workstation. “Well-designed workstations offer flexible solutions for mounting displays and devices, easy access to supplies, and secure and safe medication administration,” says Torbett. “They are essential for ease-of-use, efficiency, and maximizing patient engagement by enabling caregivers to remain close to and interact with patients. It’s all about improving patient care and workflow, while designing the workstation ergonomically to minimize physical strain for caregivers.”
Capsa has seen growth in the use of small rounding carts for tablets and small laptops. Tablets are often used by physicians for basic tasks involving limited data. Demand has also grown for larger displays and dual monitors as technology interaction continues advancing at the point-of-care. “For example, telehealth has grown dramatically, leading to requirements for separate cameras, sound/microphone bars, and other devices. Workstations offer full size keyboards and mice for efficient data entry, which is particularly important during more time-consuming tasks,” says Torbett.
Adaptable carts and workstations accommodate facility needs during pandemic
The pandemic has led to a heightened interest in infection control features and options built into point-of-care carts. “Capsa has always designed carts for easy cleaning with the highest grade non-porous ABS plastics and coatings that tolerate the leading cleaning solutions and wipes used on medical equipment. We have also embedded anti-microbial silver ion in high touch surfaces, a nice feature, but not a substitute for following facility hygiene and infection control protocols for point-of-care equipment,” noted Torbett.
The pandemic has also driven the need for easy access to supplies including wipes, sanitizer, gloves, and sharps disposal containers. “Having wipes and sanitizer at close reach makes them more convenient for frequent use. A box of gloves in a clinician’s preferred size can be carried on their workstation so they are readily available. For sharps containers, it is a best practice for infection control to minimize the distance between usage and disposal. Needle stick risk increases substantially as a used needle has to be carried to a wall-mounted container versus within easy reach when mounted on the cart,” says Torbett.
What cart, workstation improvements would you make?
Patient use of technology was not as common before COVID-19, but its adoption suddenly increased. “We had many requests for adding capabilities for direct patient interaction with technology, which led to improvements like a flexible tablet arm that could be bent downward for use by a patient while in-bed or seated. Workstations were previously viewed as being for caregiver use; now they are increasingly serving both caregiver and patient needs directly,” says Torbett.
Other improvements are part of ongoing trends, Torbett added. “The latest generation workstations continue to benefit from battery improvements, they keep getting lighter and easier to maneuver, there are more tools available to manage the fleets to keep the right number of carts ready and available in the right locations, and they keep getting easier to configure for highly variable requirement.”