Study: Wall-mounted workstations boost efficiency

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A hospital efficiency study conducted by Cincinnati-based modeling and optimization consulting firm Rapid Modeling concluded that strategically placed, wall-mounted workstations holding IT equipment, patient medications, supplies and medical devices have a greater potential to increase nursing staff productivity. Workstations utilized in this way offer benefits over the central nursing station and carts approach commonly used at most US hospitals, according to firm.

“The study took into account factors including location of medication, location of documentation equipment, and a typical number of medication cycles per day,” said Rapid Modeling President Nelson E. Lee.  The study evaluated medication retrieval, preparation, and documentation tasks completed using central nursing stations and pharmacy dispensaries. This was then compared with the impact of using medication carts, computer carts and wall-mounted workstations containing medication and IT equipment, Rapid Modeling said.

There were significant differences. For example, placing IT equipment and patient medications in wall-mounted workstations strategically positioned in or near patient rooms, reduced the distance nurses walked by 50 percent and 80 percent. Medication retrieval, preparation, dispensing and documentation events were analyzed with travel between the nursing station, pharmacy, and the patient room factored in. Cart storage and retrieval distances were factored in for scenarios involving carts. Actual distance traveled in the models yielded results of 45,406 feet and 16,796 feet per day for “nursing station” and “nursing station with carts used on rounds” scenarios respectively. The distance traveled per day for the strategically located workstation scenario was just 8,387 feet, Rapid Modeling said.

Further details of the study will be presented by Rapid Modeling with partner Proximity Systems at HIMSS 2007 next week in New Orleans.