Battery powered carts are increasingly popular and used for a variety of purposes including maintaining patient records, distribution of medicine, barcode scanning, or to house patient monitoring equipment. These carts increase hospital efficiency in numerous ways. As an example, staff can update patient records on the spot, which reduces workload and increases the accuracy of the data being entered.
Here are some of the top things to consider when selecting a battery powered healthcare cart.
1. Ability to Hot Swap the Batteries
Hot swapping refers to the ability to remove an empty battery and replace it with a new battery without the need to power down the healthcare cart. If you are using a computer or have monitoring equipment on the cart, it is best to avoid a lengthy shutdown and reboot process every time a battery needs to be swapped in and out. Hot swapping is probably the main feature to minimize downtime.
2. Battery Monitoring and Handling Needs to be Easy
While it is important that new staff who use the medical cart have some training in a cart’s use, they cannot be complex and time consuming to use. It needs to be as simple as possible so that changing batteries won’t cause any delays when nurses and physicians need to keep their attention firmly on patient care. Additionally, look for a clear and easy-to-read battery status indicator.
3. Lithium-iron Batteries are the Right Choice
There are a number of different battery chemistries referred to as lithium-ion. The Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4) chemistry is the one that is best for battery powered carts in the hospital environment. These are the safest batteries, hold their charge the longest, have the longest lifespan, provide high power output and are economical.
4. Battery weight needs to Suit the Cart Use
Look for a cart which takes batteries which aren’t too heavy and cumbersome. Keep in mind that your nurses will probably need to move the carts around multiple times in the course of their shifts, and be swapping the batteries themselves. The ergonomics need to be balanced with required battery life and where and when the batteries can be charged.
5. Check there is a Power Back-up System
Normally, this takes the form of some built-in redundancy to make sure there is no downtime for critical equipment and data access. In most cases having the ability to run multiple batteries at once will offer this protection.
6. Ensure Batteries are Suitable for Hospital Use and Support is Available
The implications of using faulty or poor quality equipment are high in a medical facility. You should ensure that the cart you select is of an acceptable standard for hospital use. Part of this includes receiving sufficient detailed documentation and support on use, preventative and maintenance care from the manufacturer.