Fixed vs. Mobile EHR Workstations (pt 3): Consider Flexibility and Availability
In our five-part blog series, we discuss the major factors hospitals should consider when purchasing new EHR workstations for nurses to chart patient information. Part three of our series focuses on flexibility and availability, and the impact those factors have on patient care. Read the overview of all factors to consider in part one and about capital and operational expenses in part two.
A hospital must consider room layout to determine if a fixed or mobile workstation is the right fit. The best fixed location proves to be on the headwall on the door side of the bed because that fits the natural path of a nurse entering the room. Placing it anywhere else could impede workflow and create the risk that the workstation isn’t used for real-time documentation. Fixed workstations require a nurse to be at a patient’s bedside for charting. More face-to-face interaction bolsters the patient experience; however, a fixed workstation does not allow the nurse to adapt to the constantly changing dynamics of the bedside environment. Clinicians and the patient’s family members go in and out of the room. Vitals monitors, IV pumps, and other medical equipment also take up bedside space. All of these things can hinder a nurse from using a fixed workstation.
The mobile workstation, however, travels with the nurse. They can access or enter patient information at the bedside or from anywhere in the hospital with wireless connectivity. The flexibility of anywhere charting means nurses always have the critical information for decision support at their fingertips. They can chart after leaving the patient’s room, and they are also more apt to look up patient information when making care decisions away from the bedside. Without a mobile workstation in their immediate presence, they must go to the nurses’ station or enter a patient room to retrieve or chart the information. This elevates the risk that the information will go undocumented or that a nurse will make a judgment call because the information is not readily accessible. Overall, a mobile workflow solution provides greater freedom and empowerment, which leads to better performance and patient satisfaction.
A hospital also needs to consider the impact of planned and unplanned maintenance on clinical workflow. Rooms can often be scarce in busy facilities or departments, and any equipment maintenance required for an occupied room creates one of two scenarios. One option is for a technician to enter the occupied patient room to do those repairs, but that interrupts patient privacy and comfort. Technicians don’t generally have training surrounding bedside manner or interaction. The alternative is to move the patient, which makes the room temporarily unavailable.
With mobile workstations, loaner or spare devices can sub in when maintenance is required, and IT professionals wouldn’t need access to a patient room. This substitution process is much more palatable for everyone involved: the IT professional, the nurse, and most important, the patient.
Enovate Medical understands that every hospital needs a mix of fixed and mobile solutions to enhance workflow and patient care. We take time with our clients, working directly with nurses and IT professionals, to conduct a thorough clinical device assessment (CDA). In doing so, our clients have lowered their overall capital outlay and reduced their operational expenses. Most importantly, they’ve achieved more consistent real-time charting in the presence of the patient, a primary goal of the EHR implementation.
Contact us today for your comprehensive clinical device assessment.