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 technology advances, the WoWs industry is becoming more adaptive to meet the needs of the future.
What Are the Driving Forces 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 2024:
Increased Cart Specialization
The demand for WoWs is expected to grow in 2024, with a shift towards more specialized versions. Nurses are increasingly seeking workstations specifically designed to address their unique challenges. As their responsibilities grow, they require technology and workstations that enable them to perform their duties efficiently. Medication carts will become more prevalent in order to facilitate safe medication delivery and telehealth services. These point-of-care As a result of WoWs, nurses are able to focus more on their patients, resulting in improved patient care.
Augmented Reality & Data Visualization
Augmented Reality (AR) and data visualization are set to revolutionize healthcare. AR overlays permit medical professionals to superimpose patient data, vital signs, and diagnostic images directly onto the patient’s body via the cart’s screen, thereby enhancing decision-making and precision.
Furthermore, the ability to project 3D models of organs, bones, or tumors from the carts offers superior visualization, which can significantly improve comprehension during consultations or procedures.
These high-tech updates for carts are extremely specialized and often application-integrated for accessibility. As AR becomes increasingly popular, healthcare professionals will see use not only within WoWs but also in educational and training aspects.
Emphasis on Mobility & 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.
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 & 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!