Powered or Non-Powered: Medical Carts That Make a Difference

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Medical carts are becoming more and more common for aiding healthcare professionals. These handy trolleys help doctors and nurses carry the tools of their profession nearly anywhere they are needed in a facility. Deciding whether a medical cart should be powered or non-powered depends to a great extent on the facility as well as those who use them.

Thanks primarily to modern engineering, mobile medical carts can include almost any requirement. Regardless of the need, there is probably a selection to be chosen from.


The whole point of a medical cart is to provide a work area that is easy to move throughout a facility, wherever it might be needed. This makes it imperative that it is easy to move as well as to use. This necessitates that it be lightweight and maneuverable.

A cart that is of a good size is easy to move to wherever it is needed. Carts that are nonpowered are usually smaller and easier to bring to a patient’s room and bedside. By contrast, a cart should be big enough to transport supplies and equipment that is heavier without causing healthcare workers to strain or injure themselves.

Non-powered carts are almost always lighter than powered carts, which means that power carts are heavier and more difficult to maneuver.

Powered vs. Non-Powered Options

Anytime there is an intent to add a computer to a cart, there is a need for power. This almost always requires that the computer have its own power source to keep it running. Unfortunately, this requires the batteries be included on a cart, which makes it larger and heavier to accommodate them. Remember also that there might be a need to power peripheral devices as well, which will also require battery power. These peripheral devices might include, for example, barcode scanners and printers. Medical carts that have electrically locking medication drawers also require power.

Charging Plans

Anytime there is a demand for battery-powered mobile medical carts, there needs to be accommodations made for recharging the equipment. This requires that everyone knows how long the battery in the device lasts, and well as the provisions for recharging the device and who will be responsible for that task.

Computer batteries normally hold a longer charge than that of medical carts, although some carts can run for as much as 8-12 hours on a single charge, more than enough for a single shift. Batteries take as few as 2- to 21/2 hours to recharge.

Determining how a battery will be recharged is another part of the discussion about whether a facility elects to use powered or nonpowered medical carts. Some computers also allow for “hot-swap” capabilities, which allows batteries to be changed while the computer is running. Without this, a computer with a dead battery must be plugged in when the battery is dead. This can be very inconvenient, especially in the thick of a busy day.

Which is Right For Your Needs?

Deciding whether a powered or nonpowered medical cart is right for you depends largely on need. Fortunately, technology has been able to keep up with the variety that is needed. Beyond that, power availability, worker choice, and how to keep the equipment running is all to be considered. Fortunately, with all of the options that are available, making a choice that is best for a particular facility is usually easy.

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