With increasing regulatory demands, technologies that allow nursing access to the most up-to-date patient information while being able track and monitor a patient’s treatment is a higher priority than ever before. Meaningful use and other regulatory mandates have made it necessary to document the patient’s treatment as it is being administered. Clinical procedure carts can become a key tool for clinicians by adding power systems and computer equipment, along with their clinical documentation software to unlock their full potential. Enabling these carts with technology will extend the efficiencies gained in medication administration into other medication and non-medication treatments.
In addition to the challenges of government EMR mandates, space is at a premium in virtually every facility. Technology enhanced procedure carts can now be used to access patient information as well as store supplies needed to treat patients. This helps to maximize the space in the facility by combining two staples at the patient bedside, point-of-care workstations and procedure carts. Facilities that need additional storage space, that point-of-care workstations may not be able to provide, now have the ability to put their computing equipment on a procedure cart to garner additional storage space. One application where these carts are extremely useful is the ED. In this department the number of patients being treated is often greater than the number of rooms or bays in the ED. In cases like this having the needed supplies at hand and having access to real time information allows ED staff to quickly assess and electronically document the best course of treatment to move overflow patients from the hall to discharge or a more suitable patient care area.
While clinical documentation continues to be a focus for facilities, they can improve the quality of patient care even further by executing technology strategies throughout the facility. This will be a critical objective for those facilities that are pursing optimal levels of care in 2013 and beyond.