Mobile Carts Must Evolve
Mobile computing carts commonly referred to as COWs (computers on wheels), are the most common form of “mobile” technology in hospitals. Mobile healthcare has come a long way over the past several years which begs the question; what happens to the COWs? Simply put, they evolve or they are passed over for a more convenient form of mobile technology.
In today’s high-speed environment, smartphones and tablets are making data accessible at the point of care. The adoption rate EHR’s has driven much of the demand for a real-time tool to access patient data. Small, easy to handle (and in most cases) touch screen devices make it easy for doctors and nurses to carry the device and update patient information in real-time. Even custom lab coats with special pockets to carry mobile devices are being designed to help with adoption of mobile technology in the health care industry. Todd Jackson the Executive Vice President of sales for Stinger Medical says,
“Clinicians continue to struggle completing real-time documentation. Instead, many complete what I call ‘near-time’ documentation. This is where a nurse or physician enters data into the EHR after the appointment — either in an office or at a mobile cart or fixed workstation in the hall. The reason? Their mobile carts don’t facilitate real-time data entry at the patient bedside. Historically, many mobile cart and fixed-mount solutions weren’t really designed around clinician workflows. This needs to change.”
The benefits of doctors and nurses being more mobile outweigh the negative factor, which can be small a margin of error when using the touch screens some of the mobile devices. While adoption of mobile technically is increasing worldwide, there is still a mentality of “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it” filtering among some health care professionals.