THE NURSE’S “OFFICE”
Where Flow Must Meet Efficiency
Today’s hospitals are taking advantage of technological advancements to build a more robust IT infrastructure, specifically, the equipment nurses and other clinicians use during their rounding, charting and administering of care. When it comes to a nurse’s “office”– the workstation on wheels– it is all about workflow, ergonomics and efficiency.
- Workflow - Nurses spend 35% of their time on documentation, or 3.5 hours of their workday entering information at a computer.1 Maximize their workflows and choose design and devices appropriate to the setting, that are comfortable and easy.
- Ergonomics - Ergonomic equipment increases nurses’ efficiency and productivity, while helping to reduce fatigue, exertion, and musculoskeletal disorders—all side effects caregivers can experience during a long work shift.
- Efficiency - Correctly integrated technology creates a clinical workflow that benefits all involved, promoting increased interaction, satisfaction, safety, and efficiency during the patient-caregiver exchange.
Satisfied nurses are motivated in their ability to deliver higher quality care. Injuries and physical discomfort directly affect patient interactions. When the proper tools are integrated into the healthcare environment it helps nurses and in turn, patients.
Infrastructure investments that improve patient outcomes while saving money will always take priority.
Workflow. The ultimate goal of any piece of medical equipment is to help hospital staff perform their duties faster, more safely and more effectively. Yet, nurses struggle daily with several aspects of workstations on wheels. Their major concerns can often center on the workstations’ size, weight and ergonomics. A powered medical cart paired with the traditional computer components requires a battery and power supply in the bottom of the cart—a nonpowered cart with a swappable battery powered AIO computer can make the cart 35-45% lighter.
Nurses often suggest other areas for improvements:
- Monitor screens are too small
- Peripheral equipment like printers or scanners clutter the cart
- Dongles get tangled, damaged, and lost
Integrate More Seamlessly into the Routine
Nurses have long wanted a lighter-weight, more streamlined solution, while IT seeks technology and hardware that is easy to integrate and maintain across various clinical applications.
Move Toward Mobile AIO Computers with Hot Swap Batteries
To address the everyday needs of medical professionals while also improving facility processes, many healthcare tech providers have encouraged their clients to pair medical-grade mobile AIO computers with built-in hot swap batteries.
AIOs—also known as flat panel PCs—address the challenges of weight, maneuverability and efficiency. “When you think of the average person who is pushing this cart around, it’s a nurse and he or she most likely isn’t a body builder,” said Greg Daurio, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Cybernet. “Making it less cumbersome to maneuver these around definitely makes their jobs a little bit easier.”
These computers come in different weights, sizes, and battery options, including the popular “hot swap” batteries. “We developed the battery-powered computer in response to the conversations we had with IT directors looking for a more streamlined solution,” said Mr. Daurio. “It takes off about 50 pounds of weight.”
Nurses and healthcare professionals don’t have to interrupt their workflow to keep these lightweight, ergonomic workstations running--and that keeps total cost of ownership down. With onboard charging capability, when the batteries are running low, the user can simply plug in the cord to trickle charge the cart. Alternatively, one of the hot swap batteries can be replaced with a fresh one, while the computer continues to operate. In either case, the unit never has to be powered down and never stops working, allowing for true 24/7 uptime.
Because these medical computers can also power peripherals like barcode scanners and printers, they are an ideal solution for nurse’s carts and rounding. The significant weight reduction with this approach is a benefit for nurses and increases their satisfaction and ability to do the job. The touch screen monitor is cited by nurses as an advantage, helping them further focus on patients. A mobile AIO workstation (with swappable batteries) can last up to 16-20 hours on a full charge for a direct productivity improvement.
Lose the Weight
The combination of an AIO computer and light weight, non-powered cart such as the workFLO workstation on wheels from TouchPoint Medical is something that nurses, IT managers should consider. This solution accommodates existing workflows while dramatically reducing the physical demand on nurses, while accommodating their existing workflow.
- Higgins L, Shovel J, Bilderback AL, et al. Hospital Nurses’ Work Activity in a Technology-Rich Environment: A Triangulated Quality Improvement Assessment. Journal of Nursing Care Quality Care. 2017;32(1):208–217.
- Weinmeyer R. Safe Patient Handling Laws and Programs for Health Care Workers.