INSIDE THE CURRENT ISSUE
2011 Carts & Workstations Buyers Guide
Off the shelf blood vessels made
with donor cells look feasible
vessels that are available off the shelf are looking more feasible
since the announcement this week that vessels grown in the lab from
donor skin cells were successfully implanted into kidney dialysis
patients in a small clinical trial. Such "allogeneic tissue-engineered
vascular grafts" have the potential to make kidney dialysis and other
procedures, such as repairing diseased arteries and heart defects,
The American Heart Association’s Emerging Science Series webinar
was where study lead author Dr Todd N. McAllister, co-founder and
chief executive officer of Cytograft Tissue Engineering Inc, of
Novato, CA, presented the results of the first study to test the
feasibility of grafting blood vessels grown in the lab from donor
cells into living human patients.
McAllister told his on-line audience that while more tests are
needed, the availability of "off-the-shelf" blood vessels came a step
closer. Such grafts could improve the process and affordability of
kidney dialysis and other procedures.
Such affordable and effective blood vessels could for example help
children with congenital heart defects, and patients with diseased
arteries in their legs (where tissue-engineered vessels could be
implanted to bypass the blood flow around the defective vessel).
In a previous trial, the researchers showed that it was possible to
reduce shunt complications 2.4-fold over 3 years by growing vessels
from the patient’s own skin cells. However, if similar results could
be achieved with "off-the-shelf" vessels this would make the procedure
significantly more affordable and also avoid the need to wait for
months while the customized vessels grew.
Innovative duct tape strategy saves hospitals time, money
A simple roll of duct tape has proven to be an inexpensive solution
to the costly and time-consuming problem of communicating with
hospital patients who are isolated with dangerous infections.
Trinity Medical Center health system saved up to 2,700 hours and
$110,000 a year by creating a "Red Box" safe zone, a three-foot square
of red duct tape extending from the threshold of the door, to
facilitate communication with patients on isolation or "Contact
Precautions," according to an abstract presented at the APIC 2011
meeting. The study revealed that by utilizing this safe zone, their
hospitals were able to save time, money in unused gowns and gloves,
and that the quality and frequency of communication between healthcare
professionals and isolated patients increased.
In a satisfaction survey, 67% of healthcare workers said that the
Red Box lessened barriers when communicating with patients. Also,
79.2% reported that the Red Box saved time in not having to put on and
integration moves carts, workstations forward
by Jeannie Akridge
Healthcare workers and
clinicians are constantly on the move, and you’ll likely find them pushing
or dragging a cart or mobile workstation along with them, that houses all of
their necessary supplies, medications, and increasingly, patient’s
electronic medical records (EMRs).
Manufacturers are rolling out advanced options that help caregivers
improve workflows and enhance patient care. Just like new hybrid electric
cars are designed for efficiency, hybrid models of medication and storage
carts are helping clinicians to be more efficient in their daily caregiving
Metro’s new 1760Rx hybrid medication workstation integrates the best in
secure medication delivery solutions from Metro’s Lionville product family
with the best from the MetroMobile (Flo) point-of-care computing system to
create a fully-integrated workstation and medication delivery vehicle, noted
Erick VanLaningham, director of healthcare marketing.
With the introduction of the new Savvy mobile medication system, Omnicell
Inc. has focused on integration and interoperability to help improve
workflow efficiencies and improve patient safety. "I think the industry is
really evolving though from mobile carts to where we feel like we’re taking
things to the next level with a product such as our Savvy Mobile Medication
system," said Len Hom, product marketing manager, mobile medication
solutions, Omnicell. A comprehensive medication management system, Hom
described Savvy as "much more than your traditional computer on wheels, or
even a computer on wheels that has drawers."
Stanley InnerSpace InfoLogix ST7 mobile workstations
Shannon Kennedy, marketing director,
InnerSpace, commented, "For maximum efficiency and privacy, patient
charting should be conducted at the bedside. The AE community has taken note
and is allowing space for bedside carts in new patient room design, but that
leaves an even greater number of hospitals out there that have smaller
patient rooms with no plans to renovate in the near future."
"Our line of bedside carts, including the InfoLogix ST7 cart, has a small
footprint and a range of configurable options such as drawers, barcode
scanner holder, and a customizable work surface and keyboard tray."
Ergotron offers a
selection of wall mounts, mobile cart solutions and sit-to-stand
workstations for single displays and multiple displays to meet various
healthcare requirements. "Our products are designed to support three
progressive ergonomic phases: comfort, productivity, and wellness, offering
customers the ability to configure products to their unique computing needs
while ensuring easy adjustment and positioning—tilting, side-to-side, up and
down, portrait to landscape and front-to-back," said Collette Crumb, product
director, Ergotron. "This ability to meet caregivers’ ergonomic needs
accommodates their physical comfort and greatly reduces and eliminates neck,
back and eye strain and other musculoskeletal disorders."
Ergotron carts and wall mounts include a minimum 20" of keyboard height
adjustment, with independent LCD tilt, pan and height adjustment to cover
the majority of caregivers for seated or standing use, from roughly 5" to 6'
"Single-motion fluid sit-to-stand adjustment is crucial," Crumb
emphasized. "It frees caregivers from having to take time to adjust multiple
components in order to reach their personal zone. ... If a caregiver has a
comfortable workstation, they have a greater access to a healthier and more
productive computing experience, whether standing or seated. If they are in
this zone, the natural benefits can include less structural strain, lower
energy spend, and reduced fatigue."
Ergotron’s keyboard trays tilt backward to keep wrists in a neutral
position, even when seated. Minimum push/pull and adjustment force is
required to move cart or components. Intuitive, ample storage space and
cable management reduces clutter. Access to user interfaces and adjustable
mounts are available for caregivers with bifocals, she added.
Ergotron StyleView laptop cart
"There seems to be a growing list of requirements for bedside carts,"
said Kennedy. "Ultimately, healthcare facilities need to determine their
priorities and find a cart system that suits their needs with minimal
compromise. Consider the cart’s overall footprint, weight, monitor mounts,
keyboard tray, scanner and mouse holders, battery run time and recharge
time, for instance. IT stakeholders may also want to understand the internal
and external cord management system. Besides computing, understand what
other functions the cart may serve in the room. For example: will storage
space for meds and general nursing supplies reduce the number of trips made
to supply carts down the hall? Eliminate unnecessary motion and ensure that
the patient is served as quickly as possible."
Kennedy urged facilities to consider strategies such as LEAN that can not
only help organize supplies but help improve workflows for nurses and
clinicians. "Clinical teams don’t want to waste precious time during the day
managing supplies. Nurses want to be caregivers, not inventory clerks or
supply chain experts. One way to improve departmental efficiency is to
implement Lean strategies such as 5S and Kanban methods. By imploring Gemba
(go and see), supply chain specialists can get to the heart of the matter
and really start to understand department pain points. Visit the department,
conduct a walkthrough, and get a grasp on the work flow. Value stream maps
are great for this purpose.
"Our storage and inventory consultants understand what it takes to
prepare a supply room for maximum efficiency, and our HIA and Delta
consulting teams take an even deeper dive to showcase EMR, revenue cycle and
strategic cost management strategies," she added. "It’s not enough to put a
new cart into the OR core and hope that supply management improves
overnight. Supply chain and end-users need to assume equal responsibility to
foster staff buy-in and implement initiatives that can be sustained and
continually monitored for additional improvements. The carts themselves are
engineered to support these workflow efficiency goals. Look for carts that
have modular features, like interchangeable accessories, and removable trays
with divider and label options. Also, you should understand in advance the
level of cart security required for your facility. With more options
available than ever before, the process of picking a cart standard to meet
your needs has become that much harder. Select a vendor that has a number of
cart height options, an abundant number of accessories to meet procedural
needs, and a variety of security options to choose from."
The Logi-D automated 2BIN-iD solution is an RFID-enabled materials
management solution that optimizes the replenishment process while
minimizing both clinical and back office staff involvement, described
Richard Philippe, president, Logi-D. "It eliminates time-consuming and
labor-intensive counting and manual data entry through the use of RFID
technology and provides automatic and accurate demand response based on
actual consumption. 2BIN-iD reduces supply-related errors, making disruptive
stockouts and urgent orders a thing of the past. Clinical personnel spend
less time searching for and retrieving supplies and otherwise dealing with
supply-related issues. As a result, they can devote more time to patient
Logi-D Scan Mo carts
In addition, continued Philippe, "the 2BIN-iD stock rotation feature
substantially lessens the risk of using expired products, thus enhancing
patient safety and reducing inventory wastage."
Philippe explained how the Logi-D system works: "In a ‘two-bin’ system, a
target quantity of a given SKU is divided into two batches in bins that are
only refilled when one of the bins is empty. While the first bin is awaiting
replenishment, the supplies in the second bin cover usage requirements
during the refill cycle.
"In the Logi-D RFID-enabled 2BIN-iD system, when the primary batch is
consumed, users transfer a location tag, which contains an RFID transponder,
to a "reader" board," he continued. "A replenishment signal is automatically
captured by a middleware application that associates the product’s location
tag with the quantity of supplies to be restocked in a specific storage
location. This data is then electronically transmitted in real time to the
hospital’s materials management information system, which in turn generates
a replenishment request for stock items or a requisition for direct purchase
"This enables materials management rounds on the floors to be cut by at
least 50%, as the demand chain is automated and the rounds only executed to
deliver supplies," added Philippe. "As storage units in some areas of the
hospital—examination rooms and the OR, for example—may be difficult to
access for materials management personnel, the use of the RFID-enabled
2BIN-iD replenishment system prevents disruptions to the front line of
"In addition to managing general supplies with 2BIN-iD, Logi-D’s iD suite
also includes the CC-iD solution, which tracks high-value or consignment
supplies from the receiving dock to their point of use with limited human
involvement. For a case environment such as the OR, Logi-D offers CIRCUIT-iD,
which integrates replenishment, data collection and preference card
management automation to reduce both the involvement of clinical staff in
supply related activities and the manual updating of incomplete or obsolete
procedure and surgeon preference cards. Logi-D’s iD suite also helps
improves warehousing and distribution with SOLID-iD, a best in class WMS,
and PTL-iD, a batch picking cart utilizing pick-to-light and
voice-recognition technology that provides similar efficiencies as carousels
and completes the replenishment cycle with a voice-directed put away
solution," Philippe added.
Carts and workstations are also playing a key role in improving the
safety of medication administration at the point of care.
Jeffrey Chochinov, senior manager of product marketing,
Medical Solutions, commented, "Today, facilities are increasingly adopting
carts with medication drawers when they implement medication bar coding and eMAR. The eMAR process typically involves nurses using a barcode scanner to
verify medication against the physician’s documented medication orders. When
hospitals implement eMAR, it presents the opportunity to consider new, more
effective ways to move medications as well. The combination of bar coding
medication by patient and storing those medications in locked drawers within
a mobile computing solution can enhance medication administration safety
while also improving nursing workflow."
MEDI PORT telemedicine cart
Providing a balance of functionality and ease of use, the MetroMobile
1760Rx can be integrated with virtually any type of accessory that a
customer may need, ranging from additional storage to barcode scanners to
Metro’s SecureRx Med Module. "For those customers requiring enhanced
medication management during the last 100 feet of patient care, the
combination of our MetroMobile workstation with our SecureRx Med Module
would allow for downstream [medication administration] from an automated
dispensing cabinet for up to 12 patients to help with workflow efficiency
gains," explained VanLaningham.
The Savvy System integrates with Omnicell’s automated dispensing cabinets
and the hospital’s HIT system to allow nurses to safely and securely
transport medications from the dispensing cabinet to the bedside, helping to
address patient safety requirements such as the Institute for Safe
Medication Practices (ISMP) Core Process 10 for safe transport of
"Often times, what people refer to as ‘the last 50 feet of medication
management’ kind of gets forgotten," Hom explained. "They do such a great
job of securing all of the meds from the dock all the way through the
pharmacy up to the nursing floor, and ultimately into an automated
dispensing cabinet – but once the nurses remove those meds from the cabinet,
I think there’s opportunity that we’re trying to address through Savvy to
where we can improve safety."
Hom described how even with the best of intentions, nurses face constant
distractions that can interrupt their workflows and can compromise the
safety of medication administration. "With all of the interruptions that
occur on a daily basis from the nursing community it’s very rare that they
get the opportunity to remove the medication from our cabinet and go
directly to the patient’s bedside for administration."
Featuring Omnicell’s Anywhere RN medication safety software application
that allows clinicians to remotely verify and issue patient medications
quickly and securely, from any location at any time, as well as allows for
individually-locking, patient-specific medication drawers, Savvy helps
provide caregivers with peace of mind that even with multiple interruptions,
each patient’s medications remain securely stored all the way to the point
Omnicell Savvy mobile medication system
In addition, having the ability to pull more than one patient’s meds at a
time out of the cabinet greatly reduces the amount of time caregivers spend
walking back and forth between the automated dispensing cabinet and the
patient’s room. "Our beta sites have actually shown that nurses spend close
to 33 – 35 percent less time in front of the cabinets retrieving meds," said
The Savvy system can also help facilities comply with the Centers for
Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expectation that drugs are to be
administered within 30 minutes before or after the scheduled time, a best
care recommendation that poses a particular challenge for time-strapped
caregivers who are pulled in many directions, Hom explained.
"A lot of nurses feel like [the rule] is promoting unsafe practices and a
lot of workarounds," he said. A survey conducted by ISMP showed that more
than half (59%) of respondents were infrequently or only sometimes compliant
to the CMS "30-minute rule" and only 5% were always able to comply with the
Along with the rollout of the Savvy system, Omnicell announced its fourth
generation Omnicell G4 platform that includes 11 products to advance
medication and supply automation management. The new platform offers a
single unified database across the continuum of medications maintained in
automated dispensing cabinets with a new intuitive user interface across the
products. Users are not required to change out their Omnicell cabinets in
order to upgrade to the G4 platform, Hom noted.
Omnicell’s Anesthesia Workstation G4 has been redesigned based on
customer feedback to be more ergonomic and conducive to anesthesiologists’
workflows. A compact, yet high-capacity design with a reduced height, as
well as monitors positioned on articulating arms versus being fixed-mounted,
allows users to comfortably access the workstation from a seated or standing
position. The Anesthesia Workstation G4’s upgraded console features
Omnicell’s new Touch & Go G4 biometric ID system for fast and secure access.
Hom noted that the implementation of electronic health records have been
a key driver for transitioning to mobile systems. "As hospitals introduce
EHR systems, e-MAR systems, CPOE systems, all these things are very
conducive to running on a mobile station."
Omnicell recently announced that its G4 platform has achieved ONC-ATCB
certification as a Modular Electronic Health Record (EHR). According to the
company, Omnicell is the first stand-alone automated medication system to
receive this certification, supporting its customers in achieving their
meaningful use objectives to qualify for federal funding incentives as
outlined in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
"[Metro’s] new hybrid, secure medication management workstation addresses
a critical need for hospitals that are implementing barcode med
administration (BCMA), while complying with the HITECH act of Meaningful Use
demands of enhanced digital communications and clinical documentation. The
Metro SecureRx system fits well with those customers at Stage Three of the
HIMSS adoption model that want secure medication management and need barcode
med administration at the point-of-care," explained VanLaningham.
Alternative form factors
Tablet computing solutions are another key form factor for bringing
clinical computing applications bedside.
Motion Computing offers several
tablet PCs catered specifically to the healthcare environment. With Motion’s
rugged, lightweight and ergonomic Tablet PCs, clinicians can review x-rays,
fill out charts, document vitals or capture patient signatures all at the
Motion Computing C5v tablet PC
Equipped with two cameras and touch and digitizer pen optimized, the
Motion CL900 is ideal for clinicians who move on and off the hospital floor
and need access to critical patient data, charts and information, noted Mike
Stinson, vice president, marketing. "Since it is powered by the Intel Atom
processor to support extended battery life, The CL900 is ideal in ‘cloud
optimized’ or constantly connected environments, or for workflows that only
require the need to run one or two applications simultaneously."
"The C5v is the first tablet PC that was specifically designed for
healthcare environments," Stinson added. "As a result, it is rugged,
powerful and fully sealed to ensure compliance with infection control
protocols. With stylus input, the C5v is ideal for data acquisition and
capturing signatures and comes with two cameras, RFID reader and barcode
scanner. The C5v offers a hot-swap battery feature and enhanced remote
management capabilities, ensuring patient data is secure, without ever
leaving the patient’s side."
The C5v can be disinfected with traditional wipes or sprays, or with
germicidal light, such as Motion’s ReadyDock:UV. "Offering chemical-free,
general-purpose disinfection of the C5v, ReadyDock:UV applies germicidal
light consistently to 99 percent of the tablet’s surface area in just 105
seconds," said Stinson.
The Motion J3500 features a touch screen option that makes scrolling
through long documents or navigating the task bar quick and easy, while the
digitizer pen enables clinicians to complete forms, capture patient
signatures or input handwritten data securely. Additionally, the 12.1"
screen makes utilizing the tablet as a desktop replacement possible and
supports nearly any software application.
Wall-mounted workstations are taking their place alongside mobile
workstations as an integral component of many hospitals’ EMR implementation
strategy. "We’ve been noticing the trend that it takes a combination of not
only fixed—but also mobile solutions—to meet their needs," VanLaningham
confirmed. "Workstations on wheels are still the preference, in terms of how
nurses do their documentation and how they round, but wall arms [may be
preferable] in certain situations, when you have space constraints, or need
other type of form factor."
The new MetroMount Wall Arm solution sits just seven inches flush from
the wall, yet can extend out to 55 inches for access from a variety of
positions. With a compact footprint, the MetroMount Wall Arm is able to
support up to a 40-lb. capacity. "It’s able to support the all-in-one
computers that a lot of hospitals are standardizing on," said VanLaningham.
The MetroMount system also has the unique ability to be mounted directly to
the dry wall without the need to locate a supporting stud.
The new wall-mounted workstation from Rubbermaid has an electronic lift
with 15 inches of height adjustment to accommodate a variety of users in the
seated or standing positions, described Chochinov. In addition to the
electronic lift, the adjustable height wall cabinet offers: Enhanced
security through a PIN code locking system and a proximity sensor that
detects when the user walks away and automatically closes the workstation to
prevent unauthorized access; ample space for documents and supplies due to a
generous sized work surface; ergonomically designed features such as a task
light that illuminates the work surface to reduce visual strain and improve
usability as well as an extra-large mouse pad that makes point and click
software applications easier to use; and choice of 21 best-in-class finishes
to complement any facility’s décor.
Telehealth offerings, such as
Metro’s 1860 telehealth workstation, are
also gaining in popularity, not only for rural healthcare facilities who may
have limited access to advanced clinical expertise onsite, but also in
traditional acute care settings, VanLaningham explained. "It makes sense as
hospitals push out to some of their outlying clinics, and other types of
care giving situations, and we see also an interest from our core acute care
audience. In a hospital network, there might be seven facilities that are
within their system. [It’s a way of] optimizing caregivers’ time."
Metro 1760 Rx
"Driven by an aging population, increased requirements in remote
locations and the need to control rising healthcare costs, the world market
for telemedicine is growing at 7 to 8% per year and is expected to exceed
$18 billion by 2015 according to Global Industry Analysts. Growth in the US
market (currently $9.5 billion) has been further stimulated by federal
grants to encourage telemedicine and develop telecommunications
infrastructure, Chochinov shared.
"Rubbermaid has expanded into the telemedicine space with the
availability of the MEDI PORT solution. The solution is made available
through a collaboration with C PORT Solutions. MEDI PORT is a line of
powerful mobile computing platforms that combines high-definition video,
audio and web conferencing, and interactive white board technology onto a
single mobile device that can be rolled anywhere – the OR, ER, hospital ward
or outpatient clinic. The device allows remote medical specialists to view
patients and provide expert counsel, especially important for rural clinics
and field hospitals with limited medical staff. Live surgeries can be shared
remotely for purposes of mentoring and training and better diagnoses are
enabled via bedside access to patient data and web based resources."
"The gap between the procedure room and access to the information and
expertise required to ensure quality patient care often leads to delays in
treatment, additional costs and potentially compromise patient outcomes",
continued Chochinov. "The MEDI PORT solution bridges that gap allowing
doctors and other medical experts to collaborate, communicate and apply
their knowledge to those who need it at a time and place where they need it
Metro is building upon its comprehensive line of storage and transport
carts, procedure carts and medication administration workstations to launch
its Metro Monitor Dashboard System this month at the AHRMM Conference in
Boston. "The focus is on establishing a common design and architecture
across all of our software systems. MetroMonitor will provide a foundation
for future application growth, while supporting power system analytics for
our point-of-care computing product line," explained VanLaningham.
The MetroMonitor Dashboard System provides a web-based power management
system that delivers visibility into a facility’s fleet of workstations to
support readiness and reliability, explained VanLaningham. "For example, IT
professionals would pull up our dashboard from one central location and gain
visibility across several locations on the power status of all workstations.
If set parameters like battery capacity or cycle count hit a certain
threshold, automatic alerts would be immediately generated to notify IT
staff allowing for real-time monitoring and preventative maintenance."
"In combination with the MetroMobile point-of-care computing
workstations, the MetroMonitor Dashboard System allows our customers to
pro-actively monitor power systems and computing technology. The system is
scalable and designed to meet the needs of virtually any healthcare
facility, whether it has ten workstations or a thousand," VanLaningham
Metro is also in the beta testing stage with a new wireless security
programming feature for its Flexline, Starsys and Lionville series carts and
workstations, added Kristin Summa, a Product Manager for Metro’s Healthcare
Division. The system will feature a wireless touch pad that links into the
hospital’s wireless network to allow administrators or nursing managers to
access locking records, add and delete users, add or change PIN codes, and
"Metro can do all of this remotely, so nurses won’t have to walk to each
cart individually to synch the carts," Summa explained. "Remote access will
also be especially useful if the hospital is using proximity card readers or
magnetic strip readers, because programming a card for each nurse into every
cart can be a lengthy process. With our system, all of this can be done
through our wireless program."
Kennedy, Stanley InnerSpace, commented, "Increasingly, carts are being
standardized throughout the hospital. Once a large cart order arrives on the
receiving dock, the next question quickly becomes a matter of who is going
to program the locks. Our Intelligent Locking System (ILS) allows thousands
of prox card credentials to be assigned to the appropriate carts wirelessly,
in a matter of minutes, via the internet. Individual users can be added or
removed from ILS effortlessly, utilizing drag-and-drop features on a
friendly dashboard, thereby minimizing the time required to administer cart
security. ILS also has the ability to provide an audit trail, enabling you
to track who accessed the cart and when."
Stanley InnerSpace has also released an upgrade to its SpaceTRAX software
system to deliver enhanced item history features, improved search
functionality, and more flexible administrative controls.
Ergotron’s StyleLink Software is included free with Ergotron
StyleView powered carts. Users can install, access and manage fleet
StyleView power systems and drawers from a remote location across WAN, LAN,
or VPN. The three-part StyleLink software package maximizes IT tech-support
time by giving real-time centralized control over carts across campus, the
city, country, or the world. And now the new Version 7 software offers added
drawer management capabilities with Ergotron’s StyleView PHD carts and
enhanced enterprise management.
Power solutions should be carefully selected to provide the level of
performance and runtime needed to support the variety of computing and
hardware solutions being run. "Facilities implementing a cart standard to
facilitate and meet EMR requirements must discuss in advance their level of
mobility requirements," said Kennedy. "While some carts are on wheels simply
for ease of cleaning within the room, many facilities require mobile carts
that will be in motion all day long, which makes battery life of the utmost
importance. Our ST7 LiFe battery provides optimal performance, requiring
only a single hour for recharge, which can enable clinicians to achieve more
than 22 hours of runtime in a 24 hour period."
A new advanced nickel metal hydride (NiMH) power system from Metro was
announced in April to help meet the demands of a 12-hour shift. The battery
provides 2,000 cycles, compared to Metro’s traditional nickel metal hydride
offering that peaks at around 1,000 cycles. "It offers double the cycles for
a facility for nearly the same price," VanLaningham noted. Metro’s breadth
of battery solutions also includes a lithium nano power solution that can
provide up to 5,000 cycles, as well as swappable battery options. As part of
their site assessment, Metro will work with a facility to tailor power
supply options to their unique requirements across the facility.
Anton/Bauer provides the medical cart industry with the highest quality
and most advanced mobile power systems available anywhere. The company
manufactures mobile power systems for medical carts. The power systems are
supplied by the cart manufacturer (OEM) or can be retrofitted to an existing
fleet. "When the end user requires a high quality system, the hospital can
demand that Anton/Bauer’s power system is supplied with the cart.
Alternatively, when the original power system becomes problematic we have
the ability to retrofit a highly reliable power system regardless of model,"
said Patrick Ney, vice president.
Anton/Bauer power solutions
including MPS-4 multi chemistry system
A 41-year old company, Anton/Bauer’s batteries have been used on medical
carts and workstations for years, but the company is just beginning to offer
their products direct to the hospital end users, Ney explained. By working
direct with Anton/Bauer, facilities have the advantage of choosing virtually
any available battery chemistry on the market – from nickel metal hydride to
lithium ion and lithium iron phosphate.
Anton/Bauer’s strong partnerships with battery cell manufacturers gives
the company a unique competitive advantage and means they source the highest
quality battery components with very strict tolerances, said Ney. "We work
very closely with our battery cell manufacturers to help make the best
battery cell possible. It’s important to have these partnerships otherwise
the overall quality and lifespan of the power system is compromised."
He added, "most medical cart manufacturers only offer a sealed lead acid (SLA),
[Similar to a battery used in automobiles], or lithium iron phosphate (LiFE).
Anton/Bauer provides all chemistries and recommends a power system based on
the end-users performance and budget goals. We focus on designing and
manufacturing mission critical mobile power systems because that is what we
Anton/Bauer’s MPS-4 is the first power system on the market to
accommodate any cell chemistry with a single electronics package and
charger. As battery technology evolves, with a simple firmware update, the
MPS-4 technology automatically adjusts to future chemistry charging
requirements. The MPS-4 multi-chemistry compatible power system offers
hospitals several benefits, including the ability to simultaneously charge
batteries while the carts remains usable; 400-800 Watt-hours of continuous
runtime; and seamless integration with battery management software.
The all-in-one MPS-4 gives the user the ability to choose a power system
based on current power requirements and desired run-times. As the
requirements change, the MPS-4 is easily adaptable. "For example, a hospital
can select a lithium ion system that meets today’s performance/budget
requirements but then as technology evolves and batteries need to be
replaced, the user can plug-and-play new battery cells of any chemistry. The
adaptability of the MPS-4 is very unique to the industry," said Ney.
He explained how both the technology – such as the computing system,
monitors and other hardware that is being used– as well as the type and
capacity of batteries play a key part in determining a system’s run time and
cycle life. "There are many different parameters that need to be evaluated
when determining which power system will work best. To keep it simple, the
battery can be viewed as the gas tank while your technology
(computer/monitor) is the engine. Your runtime will depend on the capacity
of the gas tank (battery) versus the needs of the engines (computer)."
Anton/Bauer also provides HotSwappable power systems that Ney describes
as being "second to none". "The HotSwap system is a 4 battery system that
allows the cart to be available 24/7. Many hospitals prefer Anton/Bauer’s
HotSwap because the cart never needs to be plugged-in to charge. When a
hospital uses a HotSwap system, the cart becomes completely mobile which
reduces hallway clutter and the associated risks of crowded hallways. Joint
Commission and fire marshals tend to like that. From a financial
perspective, HotSwap systems improve the ROI of the cart by eliminating cart
down time due to charging." HotSwap
batteries only need to be swapped once per shift.
In addition to being extremely durable, other benefits of Anton/Bauer’s
HotSwap system include that they are easy to clean and will not collect
dust, dirt, or fluids, which is important for infection control. When asked
about battery durability, Ney said, “The caregiver is usually very surprised
when they drop the battery and find it to be in perfect working order. When
we attend a tradeshow and someone asks about durability, we hand over a
battery and tell them to drop it. Anton/Bauer is confident in the design and
performance of every power system sold.”
Two hot-swappable batteries included with Omnicell’s Savvy allow for 18
hours of continuous runtime, offered Hom. "What we have always heard in the
mobile world is that nurses are always very frustrated with the fact that
their batteries don’t last very long. It requires them to plug them in
constantly, and after a period of time the ability of the battery to hold a
charge is greatly reduced. So that’s a frustration for nurses. And just
imagine if they’re doing a med administration and they’ve got an e-MAR
running on their mobile system, and all of a sudden their battery dies and
it deletes their whole session. That interruption in workflow is pretty
severe and it can be pretty frustrating and a time consuming endeavor to get
back to where they may have started from."
Another distinct advantage offered by Anton/Bauer, said Ney, is the
exceptional warranty Anton/Bauer offers. "Many battery companies claim to
warranty their batteries for 7,000 – 8,000 cycles," said Ney. "Other
companies don’t tell the customer that they define a cycle as a discharge of
some nominal percentage of capacity.
"Anton/Bauer keeps its warranty simple," he continued. "The Dionic-160 for example, if
within the warranty period, the battery operates with less than 60 percent
of new capacity, we replace and repair it regardless of the number of
cycles. Customers are usually pleasantly surprised because they do not have
to comply with 30 pages of terms and conditions to determine if their
battery is under warranty."
Anton/Bauer also has a certified recycling program where, at no charge, the
customer has an opportunity to return their used batteries for proper
handling, offered Ney. "Protecting the environment is a priority, so much
that we have processed competitors batteries when a hospital selected
Anton/Bauer to retrofit their fleet."