Most U.S. hospitals are now using electronic medical records, and some may even be on a second or third version. We are working with a number of organizations that have an impressive amount of experience in such implementations, and take a broad view of the costs associated with the software, hardware, and carts and wall mounts that hold the equipment. For mounting solutions in particular, here are five key things we see considered as part of the long-term cost of ownership:
Any given hospital room has its own unique architectural constraints, competing equipment and traffic patterns. It may be quick to mount a computer to whatever wall has free space. However, this may restrict caregivers’ ergonomic access to the hardware, as well as their ability to interact with the patient. Standardization has benefits, but it makes no sense to shoehorn an awkward solution into a room. An implementation must first consider the physical reality of the work being done.
Will your cart or mounting arm securely support the hardware and position it ergonomically ten years after you installed it? Given the frequent misapplication of hardware that was designed for consumer or office use, that answer is often “No.” We are seeing a migration to quality and greater understanding of why medical-grade hardware is a necessity.
New applications often get introduced after an initial EMR implementation, and computer hardware may be upgraded within two to three years. However, there is no reason why the mechanical hardware that supports these devices should also need to be replaced. These solutions should be flexible and inexpensive to upgrade.
EMR implementations are large endeavors, and hospitals are rarely staffed adequately to handle the entire project internally. GCX is now offering complete implementation services that span from the initial needs assessment through the on-site product assembly and training of users. This comprehensive view adds a great deal of value and greatly simplifies the hospital’s project management effort.
Even if nothing goes wrong, new applications and needs inevitably arise. Your chosen hardware supplier should have a reputation not just for quality and reliability, but for remaining engaged to ensure you get the most out of your investment.
All of these considerations should factor into your selection of EMR-related hardware. To minimize total cost of ownership, insist on medical-grade mounting solutions, and a vendor that takes a comprehensive view of your implementation and longer-term needs.