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The Gateshead Clinical Computer Cart


The Gateshead Clinical Computer Cart was created by the Gateshead Digital Roll Out team to provide an ergonomic and fit for purpose solutions to help the everyday users of IT equipment at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Led by Dr Robert Allcock, Chief Clinical Information Officer, the team designed a Computer on Wheels solution that met the requirements of daily tasks, that could be adapted to specialist equipment, and up to £2,000 cheaper than those available via their supply chain. Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust teamed up with FlowStore to finalise the designs and make the Gateshead Clinical Computer Cart available to purchase for their colleagues across the NHS.

Developing The Gateshead Clinical Computer Cart

At Gateshead Health NHS Foundation Trust the application of lean methods to analyse complete value streams identified a further component for success that is often overlooked – usability of the workstations that the software and hardware sit on – i.e. the Computer on Wheels (COWs) carts.

As the digital rollout continued at Queen Elizabeth Hospital, feedback from clinicians consistently reported that the COWs used on the wards were not fit for purpose, and despite being poorly designed for their intended use, the commercial suppliers were very expensive.  This was confirmed by internal stakeholder surveys that showed poor access to computers in the right locations was a significant limiting factor to the goal of achieving fully digital care.

This led to the Digital Healthcare Gateshead team responsible for the digital rollout to evaluate how COWs were being used and what was available from suppliers that would meet their needs.  Feedback from Clinicians, the end-users of the COWs, that features such as the ability to work without being plugged into a power socket were not especially useful.  What the Clinicians wanted was to find a solution to improve their day to day working activities such as the capability to print labels for blood tests, print A4 paper documents for prescriptions and copy letters for patients as these would improve the level of care given and improve the time taken to update patients medical records.  Space for having dual monitors to assist handling of the complex data required on a ward round was also highlighted as a requirement.

One of the most important requirements highlighted was the ability to maintain patient care during unexpected events when a ward must be evacuated, which current solutions were not optimised for, especially when it came to movement.

“As a result of this investigation and the value-stream mapping events carried about the team, it was clear that the team needed to take a fresh approach to the digital rollout across all activities on the ward” summarised Dr Robert Allcock, Chief Clinical Information Officer, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Gateshead

No More Balancing Note Books and Bad Posture


Little space for a notebook to be placed and no screen holder so must use a laptop.



Doctors and nurses have real desk space to update digital records from notebooks, and the screen holder creates more ergonomic PC cart.


Designed For Simplicity and Efficiency


COWs have no space for peripheral IT equipment such as printers and label printers resulting time lost collecting documents from reception or offices, and mixing up documents.



Gateshead Clinical Computer Cart is built with space for printers, label printer and work surface for updating digital notes. This allows nurses to update patient notes, print prescriptions and discharge patients quickly and more efficiently.


Bringing Together Legacy
Record Keeping and Digitalisation


Patient record carts have no space for legacy records and screens to compare digital and paper notes.



Dedicated worksurface with screen, keyboard and mouse, and a patient records organiser allows doctors to ensure digital records are updated and can be compared to historical notes.


Solutions For Existing Spaces
To Create Usable Work SPaces


Crowded PC station leaves very little space for users to work.



Using similar accessories to the Gateshead Clinical Computer Cart, the screens are mounted using a low profile tubing solution, increasing desk space. This allows the PC station to become more ergonomic and enable doctors and nurses to work more effectively.


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