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● Strategic Directives

emergency treatment areas, recovery rooms, labs, patient rooms, admitting offi ces, etc. If this map is not carefully created and considered, the likelihood of mismanaged, or even unused, carts increases signifi cantly.

3. Power Supply T e batteries in any portable device play a pivotal role your

staff ’s ability to provide a high level of patient care. As more mobile workstations become computerized, a cart system’s per- formance and reliability depends heavily on the type and size of battery used. Management of these power sources, however, is an often overlooked area. If not addressed in a prudent and timely fashion, battery life can run out suddenly, which can be potentially catastrophic in terms of your facility’s level of patient care. If a cart goes down, for example, your front-line staff has to fi nd another mobile cart immediately, because in today’s world of electronic healthcare records (EHR) and bar- coded medication administration (BCMA), it is diffi cult, if not impossible, to work without the computer access granted by a mobile cart. With this fact in mind, administrators should not only look for portable power sources that stay charged for entire work shifts, but that can also be quickly recharged as well. Additional preference should be given to batteries that are independent from a cart’s electronic components so future chemistry upgrades or replacements can simply be a matter of replacing only the battery. T ese features not only ensure sustained performance over the course of a typical work day, but they also mitigate any costs relative to future upgrades or replacement equipment. An example of a consistent, yet fl exible, power supply comes

from Metro’s next-generation power systems. Its advanced Li- Nano battery option features runtimes up to 13 hours and lasts over 5,000 cycles. T is power system provides easy access for mainte- nance, upgrades and replacements given that they are housed independently from the main electronic system. Its fanless charging mode minimizes the

circulation of dust and other contami- nants and recharges the system in three hours, while a fast-charge mode can

Metro AccessPoint Mobile Computing System

replenish a depleted power supply in as little as two hours. Administrators must recognize the need for these sorts of power supply features because without them, a potent mobile cart can be rendered quickly into a very expensive, yet useless, piece of offi ce furniture.

4. Documentation Do you have concerns with your staff meeting the evolv- ing meaningful-use mandates as they relate to how workers are expected to create accurate documentation at the point of

16 February 2014

care? T ere are many cart accessories and features on the market that address these concerns by enabling your front-line staff to use the medical devices and IT tools they need to work at a patient’s bedside. Administrators should seek workstations that allow for complete, undistracted data entry at the point of care, thus eliminating possible documentation errors caused by interrupted work tasks created when workers are forced to input data outside the patient’s room. “Metro AccessPoint off ers the advanced technology, fl exible integration options and fast fl eet deployment that facilities are demanding to manage the rapid changes in healthcare IT and to meet the evolving meaningful-use mandates,” says Rob Sobie, Vice President of Healthcare Solutions at Metro. “As part of the Metro Access platform, our newest mobile comput- ing workstation gives facilities a powerful tool for improving effi ciency and reducing cost while progressing through the HIMSS EMR adoption model.” T ese considerations are vital given that in Stage 1 of meaningful use, several objectives are focused on medical documentation as it relates to patient engagement that can often occur from a mobile workstation. T ese objectives include: • Providing patients with an electronic copy of their health information, upon request;

• Providing patients with an electronic copy of their dis- charge instructions, upon request;

• Sending reminders to patients per patient preference for preventative/follow-up care; and

• Providing clinical summaries for patients for each of- fi ce visit.

While these objectives may seem minor, they are critical steps that facilities must make to move away from paper-based documentation and toward electronic data entry and commu- nication. With the proper mobile carts in use, a facility can begin this sometimes arduous change and move in a comfort- able, more eff ective fashion.

5. Advanced Features Today’s healthcare industry is becoming more and more digitally driven at an exponential rate. While these demands often yield emerging technologies that some may deem superfl u- ous, healthcare administrators must refl ect upon how the latest advancements in information and communications technolo- gies present within new mobile carts can not only expand their hospital’s modes of patient care, but also improve their hospital’s effi ciencies. For example, many facilities are incorporating telehealth

hardware and applications in order to expand their care and communications capabilities. By integrating one-way or two-way audiovisual technologies with high-performance mobile com- puting workstations, hospitals can give their patients access to top specialists – anywhere, anytime. Michael Couch, Marketing Manager for Medical Casework and Care Exchange Products, Midmark states, “Telehealth and telemedicine are buzzwords right now, but many providers think that this technology is only


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