Just a few years ago, hospitals and similar medical facilities lagged behind other industries when it came to effective use of computers. But government regulations such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and Medicare/Medicaid information systems established an enhanced need for proper medical computer systems, while improved technology made such systems more affordable and easier to use.

Today, hospitals all over the country are taking advantage of dedicated systems to improve response time and focus more on patients. As time goes on, a quality medical computer is only going to become more and more vital to effective care. Here’s a look at 5 key areas where modern hospitals are using such systems to maximum advantage.

EHR Software Runs Best on Compliant Medical Computers

According to the Office of the National Coordinator for health information technology (ONC), by 2016, over 98 percent of all hospitals and over 97 percent of critical access and small rural hospitals used some manner of EHR (Electronic Health Records) software, which allows health files to be shared more readily and eliminates the need for cumbersome paper records. But simply implementing such a system isn’t enough.

Hospitals need computers capable of running EHR software smoothly, as well as exhibiting features that allow staff to access the materials they need with a minimum of fuss. That includes components like display size, which allow the software to be run correctly, and single sign-on security measures to protect patient confidentiality.

It’s no small matter. A recent study from JAMA Internal Medicine found that over 44% of surveyed physicians spent excessive time filling out EMR records at home: a serious drain on energy and emotional reserves. The right medical computer allows the software to perform as intended, giving staff ready access to the information they need without causing frustration or compromising EHR security.

Medical Cart Computers Make Rounds more Efficient

Medical carts, also known as workstations on wheels, allow hospital staff to move their computer from patient to patient and location to location as needed. It can be tempting to use powered carts, which provide battery life for computers, barcode scanners and similar equipment. They also allow for automated medication distribution, which lowers the chances of administering the wrong medication. But powered carts can also be expensive, and the additional weight can make them more difficult to maneuver through hospital corridors. They might be right for some situations, but budget-minded administrators often look for more cost-sensible solutions.

Medical cart computers with hot swappable batteries can operate with non-powered carts to create an efficient workstation on wheels. Hot swappable batteries that run low on power can be switched out for fresh batteries without having to shut the machine off, providing 24/7 up-time and allowing staff to use lighter non-powered carts without being tethered to a wall outlet.

Mobile Charting with Medical Grade Tablets

Even with a lighter weight non-powered medical cart, sometimes wheeling a large device from room to room isn’t the best way for a healthcare practitioner to perform their rounds. In some cases, having a dedicated computer in every patient room isn’t a possibility for facilities with tighter budget constraints. Mobility and budget can both be two major hurdles that healthcare IT professionals must contend with.

Medical tablets provide a solution for both problems. A lot of hospitals are turning to these mobile medical devices as an alternative to medical carts. Nurses and physicians can walk into a patient room or exam room with a medical grade tablet and do their charting on the go. A medical tablet with a barcode scanner takes functionality to the next level, allowing the end user to scan patient ID bracelets, IV bags or other medication bottles to ensure that a patient is receiving the right medication.

Improving Patient Safety in Operating Rooms

Any kind of equipment that enters the operating room needs to adhere to strict requirements. For example, the operating theater needs to be free of potential contamination, such as dust which can be spread by a computer’s cooling fan. Furthermore, electromagnetic signals, radiation and similar emissions can present a hazard to the patient, which rules out the wrong type of computer. For example, an anesthesiologist with a computer that isn’t medically certified may need to sit outside the operating room to monitor the patient, or else use paper records (and increase the risk of bookkeeping mistakes accordingly).

A fanless medical computer can address those problems quickly and effectively, utilizing advanced passive cooling technology to ensure the sterility of the space. IP65 certification ensures that the system can be cleaned and disinfected without damaging the components, while UL60601-1 certification allows the system to be used in close proximity to a patient with no danger. That makes for a smoother and more efficient operating room, and an attendant improvement to the quality of care.

Increasing Patient Satisfaction and Engagement

Studies cited by the ONC stress the importance of patient engagement and how useful health IT can be in enhancing their overall satisfaction with the experience. No one wants to spend time in a hospital, and patients can easily be left feeling isolated and helpless just when they need energy and resolve. Cell phone use is often restricted – since noisy ringtones and MP3s can distract staff members from their work, and signals from the phone can disrupt important devices – which limits contact with family and friends.

Similarly, basic questions about the patient’s condition must sometimes wait all day until a doctor or nurse arrives on rounds, increasing anxiety and forcing the patient to wonder about comparatively simple questions. Depending on the circumstances, even basic functions like turning on a television may require a nurse or staff member, all of which can have a drastic effect on the patient’s emotional health and well-being.

A medical computer, however, can provide a wealth of infotainment options, often from the same computer monitors that doctors and nurses use in the patient’s room. Patients can access information about their condition: putting their mind at ease and helping them better understand the treatment process. They can also access entertainment services like Netflix, and enjoy movies and television while they recuperate. Perhaps most importantly, built-in voice and video applications let them contact friends and family: putting them in touch with those best capable of providing emotional support.

The ultimate goal of any piece of medical equipment is to help hospital staff perform their duties faster and more effectively. Cybernet produces a line of high-end medical computers designed with just such efficiency in mind. For more information on how to put such technology to work for you, contact us here.