Posted February 8, 2016 by HTR Editor in Whitepapers

The Art of Automation

Ergonomic Carts Come of Age

Healthcare professionals work at some of the toughest jobs in the U.S. Comparisons between nursing and other professions reveal that nurses are 200% more likely to suffer from work-related injuries than construction workers, and have a rate of musculoskeletal disorders seven times the national average. Long hours, shift work and fatiguing tasks are compounded by an influx of new technology and requirements for usage. In an industry that has been historically paper-based, skilled caregivers who already have high demands on their time are now required to spend as much time on computers as the average office worker, while seeing more patients than ever. A recent U.S. study found that physicians now use computers for an average of 5.1 hours per shift, and nurses use computers for an average of 5.8 hours per shift. As a result, multiple studies show that as many as 90% of nurses are working with discomfort.

Ergonomics guidelines can be applied to the design of computer workstations to improve the fit and the experience for the user. Ergonomics is the science of improving the fit between the task and the user to maximize productivity while reducing discomfort, fatigue and injury. We can improve the fit between the user and the equipment by designing it to accommodate the widest range of users possible and, traditionally, by increasing adjustability. However, in healthcare, when the workstation becomes a mobile cart, we have to consider the fast-paced nature of the job and the time caregivers are willing to take to make adjustments to equipment. The natural solution lies in systems that can automate the adjustment process and naturally fit users with limited input required.

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