The Future of the COW…

In Varlink’s recent blog ‘Mobility: Going paperless in Healthcare’ we explored how technology is being used to improve quality of care to patients.

The development of tablet computers is already revolutionising tasks once completed by a computer on wheels (COW). A COW provides healthcare professionals with a ‘computer mobility solution’ to access medical records, doctor’s notes and allows the administration of medication at a patient’s bedside. Whilst pushing a trolley around a hospital is still very feasible, the use of a tablet computer provides far more portability and mobility in a compact solution. Tablets assist healthcare professionals in increasing efficiencies and reducing time spent on paperwork, accessing Electronic Health Records (EHR), medical images and X-rays.

COWs can be difficult to navigate around due to their size, and can cause an obstruction. The COW often contains a computer, printer and corded scanner for patient wristband reading. Even on a mobile COW the corded scanner has been noted as restrictive, often resulting in wires stretching across patients. With today’s technological advancements surely there must be a way to make a nurse less tied to a COW and more mobile?

Mobility solutions are not new; field workers and warehouse employees have been using wireless scanners and mobile printer paired with a tablet for a number of years. Many hardware manufacturers have now recognised the opportunity for increased efficiencies within healthcare and offer healthcare variants in a range of products.OPI-1101_left

Here at Varlink we have a range of Anti-Microbial wireless scanners, printers and tablets. Opticon’s OPR-1101 (1D) and OPI-1101 (2D) wireless scanners eliminate the restrictions of a corded scanner and allow nurses to move freely from patient to patient. Sleek and lightweight with a long range they can be used easily in conjunction with a tablet and wireless mobile printer to provide bedside care throughout the ward.

With extensive experience working within healthcare Zebra understands hospital applications, processes, and regulations. Zebra offers some of the broadest range of healthcare printers including the QLn220 (HC) and QLn320 (HC). These printers are not only disinfectant-ready but are compact and lightweight. Designed specifically for the Healthcare industry, the printers can be easily attached to a belt clip, thus improving mobility and the delivery of patient care at the bedside whist also saving time and money.

Combining a wireless scanner, tablet and mobile printer offers a truly mobile solution for healthcare professionals to deliver efficient and safe care at the bedside. Mobility solutions are already transforming healthcare and corporate organisations so why can’t it transform the COW?

QLn Healthcare



We are a specialist, value added distributor of mobile computing and data capture products. Underpinning all that we do is an understanding that our customers deserve outstandingly executed basic distribution services.

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Posted in Healthcare

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