consider patient privacy when deciding on fixed vs mobile EHR worktations

Fixed vs. Mobile EHR Workstations (pt 5): Consider Patient Privacy and Infection Control

This is the final installment of our five-part blog series discussing the major factors hospitals should consider when purchasing new EHR workstations for nurses to chart patient information. Part five focuses on patient privacy and infection control. Read the overview of all factors to consider in part one, our blog on capital and operational expenses in part two, our explanation about flexibility and availability in part three, and our beside medication delivery considerations in part four.

Patient Privacy
In every clinical setting, patient privacy is an absolute must, not only to comply with HIPAA laws but also to put patients at ease. The last thing patients should have to worry about when in a hospital is proper and lawful discretion.

When using EHR workstations, nurses must securely log on and off to chart patient data. The choice of a fixed or mobile solution impacts the efficiency and security of this process. With a fixed solution, multiple nurses will constantly be logging on and off each workstation. A user-authentication service such as single sign on (SSO) can be incorporated to allow a nurse to use one set of log-in credentials to access multiple apps. However, the mobile workstation, used by one nurse throughout a shift, requires fewer logins and is always available to that nurse for quick access.

Another concern with fixed workstations is that they must be used in the room. This could create a privacy issue if the patient has visitors. With a mobile solution, however, a nurse can turn a screen so that it isn’t visible to others, or even chart the information elsewhere if necessary. The mobile workstation also stays in control of the nurse and is never left unattended in a patient room.

Infection Control
Infection control is also an important consideration when it comes to choosing EHR workstations. Multiple nurses will touch a fixed station in a patient’s room, and they’ll need to disinfect the touch surfaces—especially the keyboard and mouse—with each use. With a dedicated mobile workstation, however, a single user will touch the work surfaces throughout a shift. The protocol will be to disinfect between each patient, of course, but the benefit is that one nurse will have personal control over the device for proper infection control management.

Enovate Medical understands that every hospital needs a mix of fixed and mobile solutions. 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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