In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, demand for telehealth — or the remote delivery of healthcare — continues to boom. A recent study conducted by McKinsey & Company found that telehealth utilization levels were 38x higher in 2021 than before the COVID-19 pandemic. The company anticipates that up to $250 billion in American healthcare spending could shift to virtual services in the coming years
As telehealth surges in popularity, medical staff must efficiently and rapidly transport digital devices between locations and patients. A customizable medical cart is an agile and mobile solution for this challenge. Providers can equip their portable workstations with various medical peripherals and tools to fit every situation.
Read on to discover ten innovative ways healthcare professionals can use these mobile workstations to improve workflows and patient outcomes.
How Are Mobile Carts Used in Healthcare Facilities?
Healthcare organizations use medical carts for a wide range of applications, such as remote patient monitoring, virtual rounds, and telestroke consultations. Tryten’s medical carts offer many benefits for patients and health professionals, including:
- Antimicrobial Properties: Many patients develop dangerous hospital-acquired infections like MRSA after receiving intensive medical treatment. A medical cart with an antimicrobial coating can help prevent the spread of disease as you move between locations and patients.
- Customizable Features: Accessories and brackets for medical carts allow you to customize your workstation on the go. You can easily switch out devices and tools to accommodate the needs of each patient. And as technology evolves, you can upgrade your cart’s setup to fit the latest medical device.
- Efficiency: A medical cart can make healthcare workflows more efficient. This mobile workstation enables you to easily transport your most essential devices so you can access them as needed. Medical cart computers also allow you to quickly add and update patient Electronic Health Records (EHR).
- Improved Patient Outcomes: Telehealth allows more patients to access specialized medical care when they need it the most, improving patient outcomes. For example, you can use your medical cart to connect patients at a rural hospital with remote specialists for speedy diagnosis and treatment. You can also give deaf or hard-of-hearing patients the option to communicate with a virtual interpreter who speaks American Sign Language.
- Portability: Medical carts have slim frames and wheels for superior handling and portability. Staff can rapidly wheel the medical cart to the emergency department registration desk, patient bedsides, the operating room, and any other location where patients need help.
- Powered or Non–powered: You may need a powered or non-powered cart. Tryten’s powered workstations come with long-lasting cart batteries, so you never have to worry about having your tools die at inconvenient times.
- Storage Solution: Medical supply carts can be bulky and difficult to maneuver through crowded medical facilities. Tryten’s multi-purpose platforms can double as medical storage carts for maximum convenience. You can outfit your Tryten workstation with storage accessories like a locking drawer or utility box to minimize the number of carts you need to transport.
These innovative features make medical carts one of the most versatile healthcare tools available today. Here are ten popular ways to use these carts to improve patient care and streamline your busy workflow.
1. Charting Patient Information
Creating patient information records is one of health professionals' most important tasks. EHRs allow you to coordinate care with other providers, detect patterns in your patients’ medical histories, and keep patients updated about their conditions and treatment plans.
However, charting patient information can also be tedious and time-consuming without the proper tools. A 2022 study reports that providers spend only 27% of their time caring for patients, while 49% of their workday is devoted to filling out paperwork.
A medical cart can reduce the time that you spend charting patient information. You can equip your cart with a computer or tablet that allows you to integrate EHR into your patient visits smoothly. With this method, you can regain control of your time and spend more of your day focusing on what matters most: providing quality patient care while maintaining high standards for EHR.
2. Virtual Rounding
Patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and other facilities typically need regular monitoring from their providers. However, travelling between facilities and rooms to visit patients in person is often inefficient and time-consuming. This method can also expose medical staff to harmful germs, especially when treating patients with contagious diseases like COVID-19.
A virtual rounding cart uses audiovisual devices and remote monitoring equipment to efficiently and safely connect patients and providers. You can virtually visit your patients’ bedsides and communicate with them through videoconferencing software. During virtual rounds, you can also use remote devices like pulse oximeters to monitor your patients’ conditions and work with the on-site team to adjust their treatment plan.
3. Patient Registration
Patient registration is an essential but often laborious aspect of healthcare. Extended delays at the registration desk can leave both admitting staff and patients feeling frustrated and stressed. Long wait times in the emergency room and other healthcare settings can even drive some people to leave before receiving necessary medical treatment, endangering patients.
A patient registration medical cart reduces the burden placed on medical staff and speeds up the registration process. You can equip the cart with a mounted tablet or touchscreen that patients can use to enter their registration information. The wheeled platform also travels quickly to patient bedsides, parking lots, and waiting rooms, helping you prevent time-consuming registration bottlenecks.
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4. Infant Observation
Newborn infants require close monitoring and timely intervention from expert health professionals. Sick and premature babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) need particularly attentive care.
You can equip infant observation carts with fetal monitors, tablets, and other devices. Remote staff can use the carts to remotely monitor multiple infants simultaneously for increased safety. Audiovisual tools allow caregivers to collaborate with remote specialists to develop effective treatment plans.
5. Code and Rapid Response Calls
Emergency departments rely on medical crash carts to resuscitate patients with life-threatening medical conditions. When every second counts, a mobile crash cart can quickly transport essential equipment like defibrillators, intravenous administration equipment, and other supplies. Equip your cart with drawers and supply caddies for extra storage space.
6. Ultrasound Imaging
Many patients need ultrasounds to confirm pregnancy, diagnose certain cancers, or guide the surgeon during a biopsy. Mobile ultrasound carts allow you to bring the necessary equipment directly to the patient, increasing this common procedure’s efficiency, mobility, and speed.
The medical cart accommodates a lightweight tablet you can pair with the ultrasound device for instant viewing and analysis. The platform also has ample storage space that you can use to transport gel bottles and other accessories.
7. Video Interpreting
Disabilities, language barriers, and other obstacles can hinder communication between medical staff and patients. These challenges can cause frustration and make it difficult for providers to understand patients’ needs and preferences.
A video remote interpreting (VRI) medical cart is the ideal solution to this serious problem. Patients and practitioners can use audiovisual tools to communicate with the assistance of a remote interpreter. This convenient cart improves access to healthcare for deaf patients, individuals who don’t speak English, and others.
8. Telestroke Care
Stroke patients require immediate expert care to have the best chance of recovery. However, many small and rural hospitals lack the specialized knowledge to provide advanced treatment to these vulnerable patients.
Using a telestroke care cart equipped with videoconferencing devices and medical peripherals, the on-site medical team can bring in a remote neurologist for a virtual consultation. The specialist assesses and diagnoses stroke patients using the NIH stroke scale and other methods. Research shows that telestroke decreases the lengths of hospital stays for stroke patients and has similar mortality rates to in-person stroke treatment, demonstrating its effectiveness.
9. Respiratory Care
Critically ill patients often require intensive respiratory care to help them breathe. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality estimates that 800,000 patients receive mechanical ventilation treatment annually in the United States.
A respiratory care cart saves time by bringing oxygen, a ventilator, and other equipment directly to the patient's bedside. This platform can improve outcomes for patients with acute respiratory failure.
10. Isolation Rooms
Patients with contagious diseases like chickenpox, COVID-19, and measles may need to be isolated in a single room. This practice prevents the transmission of dangerous infections but may also cause negative mental health outcomes for patients. For example, patients placed into quarantine and isolation can cause long-lasting mental health issues like depression, irritability, and psychological distress.
Isolation carts can alleviate feelings of depression and loneliness by connecting patients with their loved ones through virtual visits. Patients can speak with their family and friends at any time through a video call and send messages. This feature can help patients feel less socially isolated during quarantine.
A Wide Range of Carts for a Hard-Working Team
A properly-equipped medical cart can provide many virtual services, from infant observation to virtual visiting. As healthcare becomes increasingly digital and remote, a flexible workstation can help you adapt to the latest services and technologies.
Tryten provides a range of reliable products that perform discretely and efficiently in any healthcare setting. We can design a custom medical cart that fits into your unique workflow. We use durable construction techniques to create carts that will serve you yearly, even as technology evolves. Get in touch today to learn how Tryten can upgrade your virtual care experience.