Fixed vs. Mobile EHR Workstations (pt 2): Consider Total Project Cost

In this five-part blog series, we’re discussing the major factors hospitals should consider when purchasing new EHR workstations for nurses to chart patient information. Part two of our series focuses on the bottom line: capital and operational expense. Read the overview of all factors to consider in part one here.

Cost can influence whether fixed (in-room) units or mobile workstations are the better option, and the solution will vary from one nursing specialty or department to another. Weigh in the total project cost, including operational expense, rather than just the purchase price of individual units to get an accurate picture. Consider whether a room-centric or a nurse-centric approach will work best for each department.

Room-Centric (fixed)

At a glance, the room-centric approach—which incorporates a fixed unit such as a wall arm or wall cabinet in every room—might appear to be the most cost efficient because the price per unit of a fixed workstation is lower. However, a fixed unit requires a PC, monitor, barcode scanner, keyboard, mouse, and software licenses, as well. Hospitals must also factor in any operational cost associated with IT support, and for mounting and wiring, such as adding electrical outlets or data ports. From a project-cost perspective, critical care areas where the nurse-to-patient ratio is low (1:1 or 1:2, for example) might benefit from fixed workstations.

Nurse-Centric (mobile)

Areas where the nurse-to-patient ratio is higher, might benefit from a nurse-centric approach. Mobile workstations are allocated to the nurses on duty, rather than to rooms, reducing the number of required units. For example, if a clinical specialty has 24 beds and a nurse-to-patient ratio of (1:6), that department would require 4 active mobile workstations rather than 24 fixed solutions. Hospitals have a 24/7 cycle, so any nurse-centric approach must also factor in charging. With a corded solution, a department will need more mobile workstations to sub in while others are plugged in. However, a mobile battery-charging solution like MobiusPower®, allows workstations to always remain juiced and in play, and therefore, a nursing specialty could thrive with fewer workstations. Providing the proper allotment of workstations in each hospital department can make a huge difference in improving nursing efficiency and workflow.

Enovate Medical understands that every hospital needs a mix of fixed and mobile solutions to enhance workflow and patient care. We assess where the room-centric or the nurse-centric approach makes the most sense. 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.

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