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Hot-swappable power improves patient care at Northeast Georgia Medical Center

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   July 9, 2013

Carts equipped with HotSwap Mobile Power Systems improve point-of-care workflow, streamlining storage and reducing hospital’s equipment costs.

In the intensive care unit (ICU) at Northeast Georgia Medical Center, it is critical that staff members work with reliable, safe and easy-to-use equipment. That’s why the hospital has chosen mobile medical carts powered by the newly patented HotSwap mobile power systems from Anton/Bauer MPS, a Vitec Group company and a premier provider of mobile power systems for the mobile medical technology industry.

Northeast Georgia Medical Center and other hospitals around the country are increasingly turning to WOW (workstation-on-wheels) mobile medical carts to monitor and administer patient care. With Anton/Bauer’s easy-to-swap “HotSwap” mobile power systems powering the hospital’s mobile medical carts, units are always available and ready to perform any moment within the caregiver’s workday. In addition, since the battery systems are mobile, the carts do not need to be plugged into a wall, therefore reducing hallway clutter and ensuring compliance with safety standards.

“Here in the ICU, we have a team of intensivists – physicians who are experts in taking care of critically ill patients,” says Sheila Sullens, ICU nurse manager, Northeast Georgia Medical Center. “We use the carts primarily for their rounds, as they discuss each of our patient’s needs, such as nutrition, lab results, respiratory status and any other type of data that may be important for that patient’s care.” The Anton/Bauer HotSwap system provides 100 percent uptime and 24/7 mobile workstation availability.

This scenario makes the mobile medical cart, which houses all such patient data, extremely valuable, according to Sullens. “It allows the team member to review the data and enter orders at that location as they’re discussing some of the changes that he or she is making for the patient. There’s no need to try and remember what you’ve talked about – all of it can be done in real time. Same goes for the nurses; the carts provide us with access to necessary information during bedside care.”

Melinda Smith, clinical competency educator, Northeast Georgia Medical Center, agrees about the value of having a reliable, safe mobile power system backing up each of the medical carts. She has first-hand knowledge of this, because she helped train the staff on using the medical carts. She also had a role in the recent “21st Century Health” television segment, filmed at Northeast Georgia, that featured the HotSwap system (see video at end of this article).

“We’ve been very pleased with the length and life of the battery during each shift,” Smith explains. “The Anton/Bauer MPS HotSwap battery lasts for almost an entire 12-hour shift, which is very helpful for staff. We have a couple of people who share the responsibility of swapping out the battery each morning, and they have been so pleased with the ease of use and how well the batteries alert them when they’re getting low.”

In addition, the staff loves the freedom of mobility. “It makes it safer for the patient, because a nurse can consistently take the cart into the patient room,” says Smith. “If a battery had problems charging with our old system, the nurse was paralyzed, having to stay within the length of the electrical cord. Plus, we all love that the charging station is installed on the wall, freeing up even more space in our unit.”

Anton/Bauer MPS offers several innovative power solutions for the WOW and vital-signs monitor markets. The HotSwap system consists of Anton/Bauer DIONIC Logic Series batteries, InterActive chargers and the Gold Mount system, which provides users with 100 percent uptime, since Anton/Bauer Logic Series batteries can be swapped in and out without having to shut down the equipment being powered. This allows users to continuously use the cart while the replacement set of batteries is recharging.

Prior to this current fleet of mobile medical carts, the staff at Northeast Georgia Medical Center was experiencing battery failures with the older models, which was unacceptable in such a critical care environment. In addition, the need to plug in the batteries to charge caused unnecessary clutter in the ICU unit’s hallways.

“The older carts we were using were powered by what were essentially car batteries that not only weighed half a ton, but after several years, were failing,” says Brad Whitehead, manager of desktop support, Northeast Georgia Medical Center. “Also, they were bound to an electrical outlet for charging, so this made it tough to maneuver the carts and to keep the hallways clear, which is vital in the ICU unit.”

Overall, having the power systems in place has also proven to be a wise investment for the hospital, notes Whitehead. “Having proper batteries powering the carts will keep us from having to purchase additional batteries and accessories down the road. Plus, we haven’t had any troubleshooting issues thus far, which is rare when it comes to batteries.”

The technology behind the HotSwap mobile power system has been available in the professional video market for nearly a decade. Its primary purpose for that industry has been to enable camera operators or equipment operators to continually run their equipment without having to shut the camera or equipment off to change the battery. They can easily swap out a battery while waiting for a spontaneous event to occur, such as a city’s mayor leaving an important trial or the match-winning golf swing during the PGA Tour.

With input from medical cart manufacturers, hospitals and other medical-technology experts, the engineers at Anton/Bauer MPS took this same HotSwap capability and developed it specifically for use in the medical industry. This is a critical development. With the 2014 deadline for mandated use of electronic health records (EHRs) fast approaching, more and more medical professionals are turning to mobile medical devices.

For more information about Anton/Bauer MPS, visit www.AntonBauerMPS.com or call (800) 422-3473.


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