Modern healthcare facilities take many different forms. From hospitals to neighbourhood clinics to home visits, different ecosystems require different workstations. Some require the power and stability of desktop PCs, while others need the portability of laptops or the ease of tablets.
However, some important conclusions can be drawn when designing a workstation fleet.
For static roles and/or multiple users, a desktop PC is often the best option. But you need to consider the role of your PC. Critical healthcare software often works with, and analyses, large data files, so dedicated workstations should include storage optimised for rapid reads – not writes – and plenty of RAM to handle the files. Admin terminals, on the other hand, are often used for less-intensive applications, like word processing, scheduling and calendars, as well as internal and external communications. They need to be designed for connectivity and network security.
Nurses and doctors are often on the move, working from multiple locations while requiring access to data. They can be weighed down with a variety of equipment (for emergencies, data collection and recordkeeping), making a mobile workstation like a sturdy laptop a smart investment. Depending how often the staff access secure Wi-Fi to upload patient information, it may also be worth providing a dongle that is virtual private network (VPN) enabled to ensure data is kept private. Ideally, a laptop should be used for more admin-related tasks, but many healthcare professionals require the performance and convenience of a laptop.
When it comes to form filling and data collection (usually via the patients themselves), many healthcare professionals find the versatility of tablets unbeatable. Lighter, easier to use and more portable than laptops, tablets are ideal for those who interact directly with patients. Storage limitations are a weakness, but they can be mitigated by a suitable mobile storage solution. While cloud services are ideal in many ways, a healthcare context requires extra care around privacy, compliance and accessibility.
Many healthcare professionals are now turning to hybrid workstations such as convertibles (laptops that turn into tablets and vice versa) for increased versatility. The ability to use tablet mode to fill in a form then flip back to laptop mode for more demanding tasks can be a huge time-saver.
As with all workstation fleet design, the key is to ensure it is fit for purpose. However, with the right equipment and policies in place, your professionals will soon thank you for streamlining their daily lives.