2023 Trends For The Future Of Workstations On Wheels For Healthcare

Workstations on wheels (WoWs) have revolutionized accessible healthcare to efficiently serve patients. The workstation on wheels industry is constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of healthcare organizations and their staff. As society continues to advance the way companies operate, the WoWs industry is becoming more adaptive to meet the needs of the future. 

What Are the Driving Force Behind These Changes? 

Updates to WoWs are generally focused on the ever-changing needs of healthcare professionals, design modifications, use cases, and technology. Here is the general breakdown fueling where the industry is headed: 

  • Changes in Needs: As the population in the USA is getting older, there is an increased focus on chronic disease management. Healthcare providers require more flexible, mobile workstations that can be used in a variety of settings. There is also a growing need for workstations that can integrate with telehealth platforms and enable remote consultations.
  • Changes in Design: Computer carts in general are becoming more lightweight, ergonomic, and customizable. They also feature better cable management and improved battery life to enable longer use times.
  • Changes in Use Case: WoWs are now being used for a wider range of applications, including medication administration, wound care, and patient education. They are also being used for longer periods, as healthcare providers are spending more time documenting patient information and accessing electronic health records.
  • Popular Models and Types: There are a wide range of WoW models and types available to healthcare providers. Some of the more popular types include units with adjustable height and tilt, battery-powered units with long battery life, and units with integrated telehealth capabilities.
  • Keeping Up with Technology: WoWs are incorporating new technologies, such as larger high-definition monitors, high-quality camera systems, and voice recognition software. They are also being designed to integrate with electronic health record systems, barcode scanners, and other technologies to streamline workflows and improve patient care.

Here are some possible trends for the future of workstations on wheels in healthcare for 2023:

Powered Carts and Improved Battery Life 

The standard powered computer cart has already started to be incorporated into healthcare settings (and is here to stay). The future focus on these workstations will be improving their overall specs, like more lightweight designs, improved rechargeable batteries, and easy “hot swap” battery monitoring. 

Traditionally, healthcare professionals would have to disrupt their workflow when they needed to swap power supply or restart their PCs from another power source. Today, the rechargeable battery that powers WoWs offers continuous battery life and quick “hot swap” switching of batteries to streamline workflow without disruptions. 

As healthcare is looking for ways to keep up with long shifts, battery life will need to be optimized to keep up with these needs. Additionally, battery life tracking directly on the battery will be a much-needed update (if not already implemented). 

Increased Focus on Mobility and Ergonomics

Workstations on wheels for healthcare will continue to become more mobile and ergonomic, with a focus on reducing nurse fatigue and increasing ease of use for healthcare workers. This will lead to lighter materials and more adjustable designs to accommodate different users and situations.

The main features that allow decreased fatigue and increased ease of use include electric lifts, which allow the height of a cart/keyboard to be easily adjusted with just a push of a button. Additionally, there is a focus on redesigning WoWs to be able to rotate 180 degrees or more without disrupting service. This would allow full-on triangular care between the user, patient, and cart. 

UV Disinfectant and Other Germ Fighting Features

It isn’t a secret that hospitals come into contact with some of the worst germs and diseases. In some healthcare facilities, UV light cleaning robots are already cleaning hospital rooms. UV radiation is a “known disinfectant for air, water, and nonporous surfaces,” according to the FDA. This UV disinfectant technology may be the next “germ-fighting” improvement that WoWs implement, depending on who sees it as a beneficial add-on. 

Currently, some mobile workstations are adding UV light disinfection technologies straight to their charts. Adding this UV light brings on another issue of cable and space management on the actual cart. Will the workstation industry start to patent and implement their own UV lights straight onto their carts in the future? It’s not certain, but some businesses, including  DATACART™, supply UV Clean Infection Light attachments. This automated chemical-free disinfecting technology attachment is your second line of defense against the spread of infectious microorganisms by dispensing germicidal UV-C light at low levels. 

Enhanced Security Features

With the growing concern over cybersecurity, workstations on wheels will incorporate enhanced security features to ensure patient data is protected. This may include biometric authentication, encryption, and other security measures. Additionally, with remote workstations and telehealth systems, cybersecurity efforts will need to focus on protecting remote workers even more than before. 

Other security features WoWs could focus on physical security improvements like locking laptops, locking carts, and security cables. 

Fleet Management and Artificial Intelligence (AI): 

The management of a fleet of WoWs dispersed around the campuses of healthcare facilities can be challenging for hospital IT teams. Many hospitals are required to maintain carts at off-site sites without on-site tech help. Remote fleet management software has to improve in order to meet those challenges. 

With the use of this program, users may access live information on cart location (which functions like GPS), battery life, availability, and user data. It aids in the proactive decision-making of the IT department. Without real-time data from fleet management software, I.T. might be pushed to purchase more carts, which would increase costs, add more devices to maintain, and cause annoyance with out-of-service carts. DATACART™ powered carts include fleet management software called Mobile Power Manager Software. This software allows for real time information and alerts in different views to keep your fleet of DATACART™ carts going strong.

In addition to remote IT support, workstations on wheels will begin to incorporate AI capabilities, such as natural language processing and machine learning, to assist healthcare workers in their tasks. This could include automating documentation, providing clinical decision support, and helping to manage inventory.

DATACART™ Is Committed to Our Customers

Overall, the workstation on wheels industry is constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of healthcare providers. As technology advances and the healthcare landscape changes, workstations on wheels will continue to adapt and improve to support patient care.

In terms of specific models or types becoming more popular, there is no one-size-fits-all solution in the workstation on wheels industry. Instead, healthcare organizations are choosing workstations based on their specific needs and workflows.

In this quickly shifting environment, one thing is certain: DATACART™ will keep developing cutting-edge mobile computing solutions to meet the changing needs of our clients. Contact us today to learn more! 

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