6 Things Nurses Want In A Computer On Wheels (COW)

6 Things Nurses Want In A Computer On Wheels (COW)

Nurses are essential to providing high-quality patient care in the hectic world of healthcare. Technology has become a crucial component of their everyday activities to increase productivity and streamline workflows. The Computer on Wheels (COW), otherwise known as Workstation on Wheels (WOW), one of the numerous tools at their disposal, has shown to be a game-changer.

As we push forward into 2024, nurses have highlighted several essential qualities they seek in COWs, making it a necessary tool in modern healthcare settings. In this article, we’ll look at six features that are important for computers on wheels for nurses and how they’ve changed over time.

Understanding Computers on Wheels (COWs)

Computers on Wheels (COWs) are compact, mobile computer carts designed to provide nurses and healthcare professionals with a portable workspace equipped with a computer, monitor, keyboard, and, in many cases, additional peripherals such as barcode scanners and medication dispensing systems. 

These mobile devices are mounted on large, easy-to-roll wheels, allowing them to traverse thresholds and access critical patient data, electronic health records (EHRs), and various clinical applications. Powered COWs are powered by rechargeable batteries, which ensure continuous operation throughout a nurse’s shift.

Learn more about the Benefits of Workstations on Wheels (interchangeable name with COWs) in Healthcare here

6 Things Nurses Want in COWs

Quiet, Light, and Maneuverable

Gone are the days of bulky, cumbersome workstations. One study found, “Nursing staff…identified several negative features of WOWs: lack of stability and difficulty in maneuvering…noise, unstable cart wheels, large footprint that made it impossible to walk beside…’”.

Nurses require COWs that are lightweight, compact, and easy to maneuver. With advancements in technology, nurses can now access patient information and update records at the point of care, saving valuable time and increasing efficiency. Compact COWs equipped with robust wheels and ergonomic handles enable nurses to navigate busy hospital corridors effortlessly.

“Just Right” Size vs. One-Size Fits All

Aside from being small enough to fit into small patient rooms, COWs must also be flexible enough to have the right size, not just one-size fits all. These COWs need to move past curtains tables, and visitor chairs and stay safe distances from medical equipment like IV machines and monitors. 

There is such a thing as being too little, though. In a recent survey, nurses claimed that certain WOWs weren’t big enough to handle all the tasks they needed them to. Finding the COW size that is “just right” for the healthcare setting your nurses work in is crucial for nursing satisfaction.

Excellent Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the study of how people interact with their environment and how to design that environment to reduce the risk of injury. When it comes to COWs, several ergonomic factors need to be considered, such as height, weight, size, and design. By considering these ergonomic factors, healthcare facilities can help to ensure that COWs are used in a way that protects nurses’ health and safety.

Ergonomic features such as adjustable height, keyboard tilt, footrests, and swivel capabilities allow nurses to position the computer at their preferred working height and angle, reducing strain on their neck, shoulders, and wrists as well as making it a comfortable working position. Additionally, the wheels should be easily maneuverable, enabling smooth navigation through crowded hospital corridors and tight spaces. 

Seamless Integration with Electronic Health Records (EHRs)

In the past, compatibility issues between COWs and EHR systems were a significant concern for nurses. However, in 2024, seamless integration with EHRs has become a top priority. Nurses demand COWs that can sync seamlessly with their facility’s EHR platform, enabling real-time access to patient records, medication administration, and documentation. The integration of COWs and EHRs ensures accurate and up-to-date patient information, facilitating safer and more efficient care delivery.

Intuitive User Interface and Touchscreen Technology

Nurses value COWs with user-friendly interfaces and intuitive touchscreen technology. In 2024, they seek COWs equipped with large, high-resolution touchscreens that can display detailed patient information, lab results, and diagnostic images. Furthermore, intuitive interfaces and customizable workflows enable nurses to navigate through applications seamlessly, reducing cognitive load and ensuring a smoother user experience.

This work must be as simple as possible for nurses to do because they spend between 26.2% and 41% of their time documenting. Nurse fatigue and frustration are decreased by EHR systems and mobile workstations that are simple to use, allowing nurses to devote more time to providing high-quality patient care.

Dependable, Lasting Battery Life

There’s nothing more frustrating than having a COW that can’t stay charged. The need for COWs with long-lasting battery life has become increasingly crucial for nurses. Continuous usage throughout a demanding shift should not be hindered by frequent charging interruptions. 

Nurses need COWs equipped with advanced battery technologies that can sustain them for extended periods, eliminating the need for frequent recharging and ensuring uninterrupted access to patient data. This could be a point to decide if powered or non-powered computer carts on wheels are best. 

Since these computer carts can offer different industries the tech they need, both are equally beneficial. Each provides specs and features that are important to any industry. Here at DATACART™, all our powered and non-powered carts are completely customizable and adjustable and offer easy “hot swap” battery monitoring. 

Know Your Priorities

The demands of nurses regarding the features and functionality of a Computer on Wheels have evolved significantly. Not all capabilities of COWs are equally significant to nurses utilizing the workstations or equally advantageous to the hospital paying for them. Additionally, there are times when a nurse’s needs can be met by a cart feature but not by another. 

Stick to your priorities and do your research. DATACART™ is committed to our customers. We are here to help you find the best COWs for your staff. We have carts to match all your needs and accessories to help customize specific features. Contact us today!

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