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Medical Tablets - Cybernet Manufacturing

5 Ways Medical Tablets Boost Workflow and Cut Costs

The IT infrastructure convergence has been a hot topic across many sectors but is particularly relevant for healthcare. Tight budgets, stretched human resources, and increasingly strict regulations urge organizations to search for ways they can cut costs and increase patient satisfaction and staff productivity. IT and device convergence are an effective means to achieve just that. Medical tablets play a crucial role in device convergence and optimization of health IT infrastructure management.

The Challenge

Since 2009, the ACA and the HITECH have been incentivizing the adoption of technology to improve patient safety and outcomes. The healthcare sector responded by deploying a broad array of devices and software that collect and provide access to data and enable live communication and collaboration.

As a result, healthcare professionals have to juggle multiple devices and software platforms. Pagers, smartphones, tablets, laptops, PCs, kiosks topped with EHR, HELP, medical imaging, telehealth solutions and other suites – this fragmentation is counter-productive and exhausting for the medical staff.

The multiple devices and multitude of notifications end up distracting caregivers and interfering with their duties. So, often they just choose not to carry them around, as is the case with BYOD smartphones. A study revealed that doctors receive 77+ notifications daily on average, while at least 85% of them are not high priority. The remaining 15%, however, require medical intervention, but they sink beneath the loads of low-priority noise that creates notification fatigue. Clinicians become “overwhelmed or immune to the notifications.”

Add in a) the complexity of managing and troubleshooting a highly- fragmented IT infrastructure for the IT department, and b) the cybersecurity vulnerabilities stemming from this fragmentation and lack of centralized oversight. The result is the notorious IT productivity paradox.

Medical Grade Tablets and Barcode Scanners

Medical tablets converge multiple devices in one compact form factor that is easy to carry around, use and maintain. In other words, fewer is better.

For example, our medical grade tablets come embedded with a Honeywell barcode scanner, a tool indispensable for many tasks such as inventory control, drug administrations, or checking dosage, and identifying patients. Since most of these tasks also require a computer for data input and synchronization with EHR, it only makes sense that the EHR-ready medical tablets integrate the barcode scanner. While there are certain duties that require the use of a medical cart computer, for everything else, a medical tablet provides a single device that is far more portable and convenient. But that is just the beginning.

RFID-Enabled Medical Tablet

A medical tablet that reads the barcodes and the increasing number of RFID-provided data not only converges multiple devices but also future-proofs your investment. RFID is the present and the future of healthcare, and organizations will deploy more RFID-enabled technology in the future.

An RFID-enabled medical tablet grows with you as you deploy more RFID beacons and badges. It enables you to process increasingly more data and generate actionable business intelligence reports without requiring additional investments or upgrades.

EHR-Ready Medical Tablet PC

Since EHR is now a part of routine in health care, doctors and nurses have to push around laptops on medical carts, or postpone EHR documentation until they get to the desktop computers. Research reveals that doctors spend 2-3 hours of uncompensated time daily after work on EHR documentation. This situation creates aggravation and the sentiments of resentment and burnout among medical practitioners. It also contributes to the errors and inaccuracies as time passes between the episode of care and the moment the doctor inputs it into the system.

A medical tablet PC that runs a powerful Intel Quad-Core Processor and has ample memory and storage to allow doctors update EHR records during each episode of care eliminates these problems. As doctors provide medical care and input EHR data at the same time, they spend less uncompensated time after work doing the “paperwork.” Likewise, live data input and verification eliminates errors, inaccuracies, and duplicate tests.

Top that off with live chats, email, reference checking, secure telehealth solutions, and prescription signing – all in a single device, and you get a Swiss Army Knife for healthcare professionals.

Medical Grade Tablets Streamline User Authentication and IT Infrastructure Management

Medical tablets also embed the features designed to safeguard sensitive electronic patient health information (ePHI) such as biometric reader, CAC or Smart Card Reader, Windows authentication, sandboxing, and encryption. The biometric reader or Smart Card/CAC Reader coupled with Windows login facilitate multi-factor authentication, making security simple and accessible for doctors.

At the same time, remote administration and troubleshooting, remote installation of updates and fixes as well as sandboxing and encryption make the life of your IT department so much easier. And the security of your data and devices – robust and compliant.

Patient Infotainment in the Medical Grade Tablet

Hospitals save a lot of money when a medical practitioner uses the same medical grade tablet for EHR and then introduces the patient to the infotainment system. As patient infotainment systems drive patient satisfaction and improve outcomes, device convergence enables hospitals to do more with less. You can have both – infotainment and EHR bundled in a powerful yet compact form factor.

Summary

Medical tablets allow organizations to converge multiple devices and workflows in one antimicrobial, robust solution that adheres to the industry’s best standards in safety and security. The advantages of such a convergence include:

  • Better information accessibility for caregivers and clinicians.
  • Optimized data flow and synchronization.
  • Easier deployment and management of new applications.
  • Less duplication everywhere from tests to notifications and messages hence decreased tech fatigue.
  • Less uncompensated time spent on EHR documentation.
  • Lower Total Cost of Ownership of your HIT solutions, and operational and administrative costs.
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Information Technology Built For Construction

With the amount of information exchange required to successfully complete a construction project, leveraging technology to improve efficiency and keep costs under control has become an essential part of the business.

Effective use of information technology within the construction industry not only requires smart and strategic use of software and services, but also hardware built to withstand the rough and tumble treatment it’s going to receive on the job site. Not just any piece of equipment can stand up to the regular abuse, dust, dirt and shocks that will come along with a life in construction.

There are several different types of software and services that are particularly useful in a business like construction where so many people need to work together and share almost endless information with each other.

Cloud Services

Cloud services provide many benefits to construction projects. Information can be centralized and accessed from anywhere. This alone makes this type of service worth utilizing, but the additional benefit of team members being able to collaborate and work on projects in real time makes cloud computing invaluable.

On top of convenience, these services can help reduce the costs of printing, storing and distributing documents. Anyone who needs information can get it instantly, whether in a meeting room or out on a job site.

Google Docs is one widely used platform for sharing and collaborating on all kinds of documents. Users can create everything from text documents to spreadsheets, images and presentations. One of the biggest advantages offered by this service is the ability to download and convert documents in a variety of different formats such as Microsoft Office or PDF among others.

Other services are quickly raising the bar for what clients can expect and giving Google serious competition. Box offers many of the same services with special attention placed on security and business needs. Dropbox is another close competitor that perhaps isn’t quite so feature rich, but allows for collaboration and file sharing across locations and devices.

Project Management Applications

Obviously the management of everything involved with a construction project can be time consuming and complicated. Project management software will help to keep people, teams, tasks and goals well organized.

By making good use of this type of software a construction company will increase efficiency and profits while delivering higher quality results.

Basecamp is one of the best known web based solution that enables management of large teams and projects across multiple organizations and locations. The service has been online since 1999 and is reportedly used by more than 250,000 companies.

Clarizen is designed to be an enterprise class management solution. The software is designed with various roles and departments in mind, streamlining communication and visibility throughout an organization. It allows tracking of expenses based on employees, departments, tasks, and work items. It is also known for a comprehensive reporting system that provides detailed insights into all aspects of any project.

Mavenlink has been providing project management solutions since 2008. Their software emphasizes task management, file sharing and team collaboration. The service boasts more than 500,000 users in over 100 countries. An interesting part of their technology includes a Chrome browser plugin that will allow you to quickly convert emails into task and team assignments.

Mobile Device Management And Security

With tablet computers becoming more and more prevalent it’s important to make sure your company has control over the devices you are using. They are not only susceptible to loss or theft, they can become a huge security risk if they end up in the wrong hands.

Mobile management software will allow you make sure all systems are properly configured and will work together the way they should. In addition, you’ll be able to remotely lock and erase any devices that turn up lost in order to prevent information theft.

Software like Mobile Device Manager will allow you to configure and distribute software across mobile devices from a centralized location, enforce security rules and track or erase devices. If you don’t need such a robust solution, the software offered by the Prey Project will give you solid stripped down security with the ability to lock, track and erase missing devices.

In addition to software, starting out with hardware that’s built with security in mind will give you the ultimate in data security. For example, the Rugged X-10 Industrial Tablet provides 256 bit full disk encryption on its internal storage plus a CAC/Smartcard reader and RFID reader for security authentication. The tablet can’t be used without a physical authentication device and even if someone opens it and removes the storage drive, they won’t be able to read your data with any other device.

Rugged Design Computers And Tablets

If you really want to make sure your computer hardware will last on the job site, you’ll need to get something more than what you’ll find at your local electronics store. Although computers are generally known for being delicate, sensitive and easily damaged, there are amazingly well built solutions that will stand up to everything from dust and rain to extreme heat and cold.

For an on-site computer system, something like the iPC series of mini computers will do an excellent job while standing up to a harsh environment. They are shock proof, vibration proof, waterproof and will operate in temperatures over 150 degrees fahrenheit. These systems even add details like a fanless design, so there are no maintenance problems like removing accumulated dust and grime to keep them operational.

Industrial tablets like the Rugged X10 will take abuse that would render a common tablet useless. They are waterproof, shockproof, and built with military grade materials to survive the harshest treatment. They also boast extra industrial features like hot swappable batteries, ultra fast recharge times, barcode reader, VESA mounting bracket and a desktop docking station.

Constructing A Winning Combination

Taking advantage of all of these options will allow you to shave time off of projects, reduce costs within your business and boost both productivity and safety. Construction is an industry that most definitely requires industrial strength solutions when it comes to IT. Making smart choices and putting today’s technology to use in your business can put you leaps and bounds ahead of your competition and even make your work easier.

How Medical Tablets with RFID Scanners Can Save Hospitals Money

How Medical Tablets with RFID Scanners Can Save Hospitals Money

The state of the healthcare industry is ever-changing, and medical providers need to focus both their time and their resources on ways to improve the quality of care for their patients as well as managing their company budget. Medical tablets with RFID scanners not only can streamline asset tracking but also help organizations cut back on costs in other areas.

Statistics show that 10 to 20% of mobile hospital assets are either lost or stolen and that the average cost per missing item is nearly $3,000. Also, 40% of hospital pharmacy funds are spent on “rush” orders, and these could very easily be prevented with better asset tracking.  What’s worse is that whopping three-quarters of the total time spent on hospital maintenance, as well as one-third of that of hospital nurses, is often wasted on searching for supplies. This essentially takes away from the quality of care given to hospital patients. One of the greatest challenges many hospitals and other medical facilities face is helping their already overextended workers spend less of their time on activities other than patient care.

Medical tablets with RFID technology offer hospitals a much better way to maximize their overall efficiency and reduce their amount of waste. Medical tablets with embedded RFID scanner give the users the ability to both track and manage all of their mobile assets and their patients. Medical grade tablets enable RFID data capture that does not require line of sight, thus allowing users to capture multiple tags in a single pass without having to move any equipment. It is also an ideal option for medication and supply storage areas requiring consistent monitoring, as it reads literally hundreds of tags each second, making for quick, easy and convenient monitoring of inventory.

Additionally, scanning and analyzing patient rooms, medical procedure areas, stock rooms, hospital labs, and numerous other areas with RFID-enabled medical grade tablet can be completed in just a few short seconds. There are a variety of ways hospitals can implement and utilize medical tablets with RFID technology in an effort to save their business a lot of money.

Here are a few of them…

Asset Tracking

Medical grade tablets with RFID scanners can be utilized for detecting and timestamping the movements of critical hospital assets in order to locate them quickly whenever they’re needed. This reduces both lost and theft of hospital equipment and supplies, thus improving overall productivity and quality of patient care. The collected data can then be used for managing equipment flow processes as well as for resource planning purposes.

Inventory Control

Medical tablet PCs with RFID technology can also be utilized for providing continuous automated inventory monitoring, and it can alert hospital personnel whenever minimum levels have been reached, as well as when the amount of stock is nearing expiration. This ensures the availability of medical products and treatments, thus preventing unnecessary and potentially costly rush orders from occurring.

Injection Safety

One of the most tangible manifestations of medical equipment management, wherein RFID scanning promises a sea change, is injection safety. The process is simple but effective – RFID tags are incorporated within patient wristbands, making all prescription data available to a care provider through a medical tablet. This information also connects to the hospital’s injection drug inventory and dispensing records, enabling a watertight monitoring system for better injection safety. This technology was successfully adopted by Tokyo based Sanraku Hospital, in collaboration with BayNexus.

Radiology Department

Radiology equipment undergoes frequent quality checks by means of government inspections. Medical tablets with RFID scanning make this process more efficient. An effort by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center illustrates this. RFID tags were sewn into X-ray protection vests in order to locate them quickly during an inspection. RFID has also been instrumental in managing the contrast media vials inventory of a Florida hospital’s Radiology Department. Contrast media is commonly injected into patients undergoing MRIs; however, it is highly toxic for patients with compromised kidney function. Contrast media vials thus need to be regularly, meticulously and accurately monitored, a task that is greatly simplified when RFID technology comes embedded in medical grade tablets used by the personnel.

Healthcare IT Asset Management

Locating and protecting hospital devices that may contain private, sensitive and protected information or other data can be conveniently and efficiently carried out with the use of medical tablets with RFID scanners, thus maintaining compliance with HIPAA data security laws.

Patient Tracking

Should any incident of the type occur, RFID-enabled medical tablets aid in the prevention of medical mistakes and errors due to patient misidentification – and also alert first responders and other personnel nearby. Additionally, RFID badges provide patient relatives and other visitors with secure, temporary ID access that can be easily scanned by the staff using medical tablets.

Infection Control

Taking patient tracking a step further, medical tablets with RFID scanners enable hospital staff to keep tabs on people coming into contact with patients with contagious diseases. Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital has set up a monitoring team especially for the purpose of evaluating RFID tracked data for possible infection screening.

There are many other ways in which RFID scanning helps prevent nosocomial infections. For instance, a RFID enabled wristband for hospital staff, developed by startup IntelligentM, is designed to ensure that hand-washing standards are met by means of a simple vibrating alert.

Additionally, medical tablets with RFID are completely antimicrobial including the casing and the touchscreen. IP65 sealed bezels allow them to withstand disinfection with liquid solutions, so hospitals can ensure the devices used by staff and the patients are sterile.

In conclusion, medical tablets with RFID technology can help hospitals and other healthcare facilities save money and improve their security, efficiency and overall quality of patient care. RFID-enabled medical tablets lower costs, simplify deployment and maximize company ROI.

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The Definition of Open Frame Panel PC and Its Advantages

An open frame panel PC incorporates a touchscreen display into the same enclosure as its internal components such as the processor, hard drive or solid state drive, motherboard, I/O ports and the power supply. Such design delivers high-end performance coupled with a compact footprint. This all-in-one (AIO) design makes open frame panel PC perfect for human-machine interface use in machine control and monitoring.

Open frame panel PC is designed for easy installation in an industrial environment – in machines, control cabinets, kiosks, etc. The resistive touch screen ensures seamless data accessibility and an overall ease of use. The open frame panel PC is built to withstand temperature fluctuations, extreme heat or cold, frequent in industrial environments. It is optimized for rugged environments and possesses such qualities as resistance against water and humidity, dust, grease, shock, and vibration.

High capacity industrial PCs, open frame panel PCs are designed to be integrated into an existing ecosystem in a production chain, and are widely used in original equipment manufacturer machinery (OEM), Human-Machine Interface (HMI), Machine-Machine Interface (MMI), Internet-of-Things, kiosk and self-service applications, factory automation, vision systems, material handling, multimedia and many other applications.

They are widely used in automotive, medical, aerospace, rail transit, food and beverage processing, automated test equipment, and many other industries.

The Advantages of Open Frame Panel PCs To Manufacturers & Factory Environments

The advantages of open frame panel PCs are generous for process automation, machine control, tracking and data acquisition, monitoring, processing visualization, and quality assurance.

Integration

The first and foremost advantage is the ease of integration into existing environments, and compatibility with new and legacy equipment, which enables it to bridge the different generations of equipment in use on the manufacturing floor.

The next key advantage is its ergonomic design – it is built to fit in environments where conventional PCs don’t, in small, constrained areas due to its slim, fanless and highly customizable design. Since there are no cables to connect the screen and the drive, it is ergonomic. Equipped with Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, Ethernet (LAN) and other connectivity options, HDMI, USB and serial ports, it is compatible with most equipment that can be found on a manufacturing floor.

Many open frame panel PCs also have the capability to install PCI or PCI Express cards, which simplifies their deployment and integration into the existing system.

Readability

More so, open frame panel PC features antiglare touch panel, which translates to optimized readability under the poorest of lighting conditions. Anti-scratch technology makes it apt for use in rugged environments, and for gloved input, as it is important for the workers to be able to input the data or commands without having to take off the gloves in the heat of the production process.

Power Consumption

Low power consumption is another reason many factories are deploying open frame panel PCs, as they incorporate CPUs that generate less heat. Paired with the fanless design and passive cooling, such computers consume less power. The fanless build and low power CPUs ensure better reliability and durability since there are less moving parts in them. Fans in conventional computers are among the components that tend to fail the most over time. Besides, they tend to suck in debris and dust inside the computer, which further contributes to the deterioration of the internal parts. The fanless build solves all these issues, increasing the lifespan and uptime without failures.

Durability

In fact, the failure rate of Cybernet’s open frame panel PCs is less than 2%, a number backed by years of record. Quiet, noiseless operation seems to come as a side effect of the fanless design, yet to some noise-sensitive environments, it is a crucial feature.

Durability is further backed by the ruggedness of the open frame panel PCs, as they come with the ingress protection IP65, and are sealed, protected from the ingress of liquids, dust, grime and other particles.

Mounting

Open frame panel PCs come with a wide variety of mounting options, including panel and VESA mount types. They can be mounted into an enclosure, onto a machine, or inside a control cabinet. The panel mount is the most frequent mounting style in factory automation, when the open frame panel PC is placed in a cutout in a metal panel or enclosure, and surrounded by a sealed bezel. The computer is attached to the enclosure with panel mount clips that hold it in place, providing a water-tight seal that protects the system from water and dust ingress. Most open frame panel PCs come with VESA mounting holes, which enable them to be attached to an articulating arm, mounted on a machine, or a desktop stand.

For applications that suggest exposure to shock or vibration, the fanless build is perfect, backed by the reliability of the solid state drive.

Human Machine Interface

Touchscreen user interface allows for applications to be controlled through user input that does not require an external keyboard or a mouse. Often, user applications are specifically designed for a certain screen size or resolution, so it is yet another advantage of open frame panel PCs that they come in a variety of sizes and aspect ratios. It enables them to support any resolution GUI (graphical user interface) and any application requirement imposed by a screen size.

Military Grade Components

Military grade components ensure the long MTBF of more than 50,000 hours of continuous use. They are designed for use in rugged environments, and operate at wide temperatures, under exposure to shock and vibration for 5+ years. Industrial grade motherboards and CPUs, in addition, come with a long-term availability. Designed with a long lifecycle, they minimize the obsolescence issue.

Customization

Customization is an important advantage of open frame panel PCs – from the processor and video card to HMI capabilities, connectivity, RS232 serial ports, dual NICs, OS and disk imaging, manufacturers can get the computers ready for work from day one, easy to deploy and mount.

Cost

Finally, open frame panel PCs enable low-cost deployment and maintenance in an ergonomic form factor that yields a powerful performance. As engineers develop M2M and IoT interfaces and scalable systems, it is necessary to minimize development costs. Scalable systems in open frame panel PCs are easy to upgrade when performance requirements increase. Windows-based open frame panel PCs running on Intel processors offer a cost-efficient solution that can be easily integrated into a new or existing system or scaled out when the need arises.

Summary

Benefits of open frame panel PCs:

  • They enable machine-to-machine, human-to-machine, and Internet-of-Things applications.
  • Easy installation.
  • Easy integration, compatibility with legacy equipment.
  • Long product lifecycle under rugged environmental conditions.
  • The low failure rate of less than 2%.
  • Low TCO due to low fail rate, uptime, military grade components, anti-scratch coating and rugged build.
  • Dust, water, shock, vibration proof.
  • Improved readability with the antiglare glass.
  • Reads input from a gloved hand.
  • Energy efficiency, low power consumption.
  • Numerous mounting options.
  • Full computing capabilities in an ergonomic design that can fit in virtually any space.
  • Disk imaging, technical support for hardware, drivers, troubleshooting.
  • Highly customizable, multiple processor options, serial ports, and I/O connectors.
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What The FDA’s Postmarket Management of Cybersecurity in Medical Devices Means for Manufacturers of Medical Devices

The FDA‘s guidance on “Postmarket Management of Cybersecurity in Medical Devices”[PDF] is a complementary document for the 2014’s “Content of Premarket Submissions for Management of Cybersecurity in Medical Devices” [PDF]. The 30 pages of the guidance contain detailed recommendations, and the manufacturers of medical devices need to study them thoroughly.

The guidance is consistent with the cybersecurity guidelines set by the U.S. Government for other industries such as power grids and financial organizations and aims to protect critical infrastructures from cyber threats. Since most of the medical device manufacturing is in the private sector, the guidance also aims to facilitate cooperation between the public and private actors in preventing and mitigating cyber attacks.

Key Highlights

#1. Medical devices: the guidance applies to medical devices containing software, firmware, programmable logic, as well as mobile medical devices and applications, and devices that are part of interoperable systems – the legacy devices already in use, or on the market.

The agency explains the scope of medical devices has increased to include any device that is connected to computer networks and can, therefore, be compromised.

#2. Patient Harm (IV): the guidance stresses the importance of risk-based assessments of cybersecurity vulnerabilities that could cause patient harm. Of note: Patient Harm replaces Essential Clinical Performance that was present in the draft version. Patient harm definition is aligned with ISO 14971.

Interestingly, the guidance excludes compromise of private data from the definition of patient harm and refers to HIPAA for privacy protection recommendations.

#3. Evaluation of Risk of Patient Harm (VI) is the key purpose of the cyber-vulnerability risk assessment that needs to define if the risk of patient harm is:

  • controlled/acceptable (low probability of an exploit harming patient health)
  • or uncontrolled/unacceptable (high probability of an exploit harming patient health).

The agency suggests a matrix to evaluate risk acceptability, involving:

  • the exploitability of the vulnerability
  • the severity of patient harm in case the vulnerability is exploited

Of special note here is the recommendation to adopt a vulnerability disclosure policy and recognize that mitigation changes may affect the device’s performance.

#4. Postmarket Considerations (V) section introduces recommendations to deploy robust cybersecurity risk management program throughout the entire product lifecycle. The FDA emphasizes that such programs must include:

  • Monitoring information sources (ISAO, customer complaints, service records) for news on new vulnerabilities and threats.
  • Deploying threat modeling to define how to maintain safety and essential performance.
    Implementing mechanisms for monitoring third-party software for emerging vulnerabilities during the device’s entire lifecycle; and design verification and validation for software updates and patches for vulnerabilities, including those in Off-the-shelf software.

The cybersecurity program needs to be comprehensive, systematic, thoroughly documented and in compliance with the Quality System Regulation (21 C.F.R. Part 820). NIST has a guidance on cybersecurity programs for manufacturers, and the FDA’s guidance contains an Appendix “Elements of an Effective Postmarket Cybersecurity Program.” It encompasses five elements -1) identify; 2) protect or detect; 3) protect/respond/recover; 4) mitigate risks to safety and essential performance.

#5. Maintaining Safety and Essential Performance (V) links cybersecurity risk management to safety, essential performance, threat modeling, and mitigation actions.

Controlled risks can be patched in a routine update. They fall under the “cybersecurity routine updates and patches” group. These patches are not considered as repairs and do not call for reporting under 21 CFR 806. If a manufacturer holds a PMA, an annual 21 CFR 814.84 report needs to mention the patch.

Uncontrolled risks must be patched as soon as possible in the form of a patch, update or a temporary “fix” (for example, disabling the Internet connectivity). It is advisable to start with a quick temporary fix to ensure patient safety, and then proceed with a permanent patch in cases when a permanent patch takes some time to design and deploy. Manufacturers must report these fixes to the FDA (21 CFR part 806).

#6. Reporting exceptions. The FDA waives the 21 CFR 806 reporting if the three requirements are met:

  • No deaths or other serious adverse events happened due to the vulnerability.
  • The manufacturer has notified users of an available fix (temporary or permanent) no later than 30 days of learning of the vulnerability. The manufacturer has instructed the users on how to apply the fix.
  • No later than 60 days after learning about the vulnerability, the manufacturer fixes it, validates the change and distributes the patch. The manufacturer should follow-up with end-users after the distribution of patch.
  • The manufacturer is a member of an ISAC/ISAO.

#7. Criteria for Defining Active Participation by a Manufacturer in an ISAO (IX) urges the manufacturers to participate in the Information Sharing Analysis Organization.

ISAO/ISAC – Information Sharing & Analysis Committee/Organization, non-profit, industry-specific organizations created to let the members share knowledge about data security. Members of these organizations have a few legal exemptions that apply to the information they share. NH-ISAC is an ISAC, where the National Healthcare organization is a partner.

#8. Impact on Industry

The basic principles of NIST framework must be adopted in the manufacturers’ cybersecurity program. Take into account medical device cybersecurity throughout the entire product lifecycle. Pre-market, manufacturers should incorporate cybersecurity management inputs and design an approach that would determine:

  • Assets and vulnerabilities;
  • How threats/vulnerabilities may cause Patient Harm;
  • The likelihood of threats;
  • Risk levels based mitigating promptness and strategies;
  • Residual risk assessment, and risk acceptance criteria.

Manufacturers must define the risk of patient harm, identify the cybersecurity vulnerabilities of their devices, assess and classify the existing risks and engage in remediation. A proper documentation of the process is expected.

Health IT community must engage in better information sharing. The FDA encourages the medical device manufacturers and the health IT community as a whole to collaborate closer in ISAO and ISAC to facilitate threats identification and remediation. The FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) also encourages the fostering of ISAOs and the role of NH-ISAC. The manufacturers of medical devices should consider joining an ISAC to:

  • Have access to information and intel about the cyber threats.
  • Be exempt from some reporting requirements under 21 CFR 806 (uncontrolled risks).
  • Have access to the community where manufacturers can share information exempt from regulatory use and civil litigation, and the federal Freedom of Information Act, given the data shared meets the requirements of the Critical Infrastructure Information Act.

Manufacturers must understand and comply with the mandatory reporting requirements under 21 CFR 806. One of the most complex points since reporting is difficult to draft and apply and raises concerns about proprietary data protection.

Summary

The FDA has been explicit that manufacturers must deploy the comprehensive cybersecurity and risk analysis – over the entire lifecycle of a medical device. The primary focus of the analysis is the risk of patient harm. The guidance includes legacy and mobile devices in the scope of medical devices, recognizing that connectivity increases the chances of a device compromise.

The good news is the reduced reporting to the agency in certain cases, and ways to disclose vulnerabilities without assuming a litigation risk.

At this point, manufacturers should acknowledge the FDA’s increasing attention to cybersecurity, and take these recommendations as seriously as possible. As medical devices become more connected and smart than ever, we can expect that some of the recommendations, if not most, could become mandatory in the foreseeable future.

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Bedside Computer Charting – Past, Present and Future

Moore’s Law states that the number of transistors on a microchip doubles every two years. This law, when realized in practice, translates into a) ever-more powerful and sophisticated chips, and b) proportionally cheaper technologies relying on them.

Further amplifying this concept, Kurzweil’s Law of Accelerating Returns states that technological advances grow exponentially, rather than linearly. Moreover, the pace of exponential growth is growing exponentially, and within the foreseeable future, Artificial Intelligence will surpass human, with The Singularity being an inevitable consequence.

Bedside Computer Charting – A Look Back

Bedside computer charting systems display both of those laws in action. In 1992, Point-of-Care (POC) systems were at the early stages of adoption – only 3% of American hospitals with 100+ beds deployed bedside charting using computers. An article Bedside Computer Charting: Inching Toward Tomorrow, Charles Myers names the greatest roadblocks to the adoption of bedside charting back then:

  • the high cost of systems back then ($2,000 to $30,000 per bed)
  • high risk – hospitals did not want to gamble on costly technology without a proven track record of quantifiable benefits
  • poor integration with other systems, such as laboratory and pharmacy, and lack of interfacing flexibility

However, early adopters and industry visionaries could see where the bedside charting systems would be by now due to their benefits. Convenient access to patient’s health records, improved nursing productivity and accuracy of data, legibility, reduced paperwork and duplicate entries, simultaneous access to the same and crucial information from different locations by different specialists, reduced documentation and overtime are just the tip of the improvements bedside charting yielded to hospitals a little less than three decades ago, according to Meyers.

The Challenges of Today

What has changed since then is that now innovative solutions aim not only to improve nursing productivity but alleviate nurse burnout due to technological and notification fatigue. More with less is the current and the future trend for the health IT industry. The present is also the continuous pursuit of interoperability, reduced time spent on EHR, data intelligence and patient-centric approach to care.

A bedside monitor in any Intensive Care Unit routinely provides a wealth of data – vital signs and waveforms. The bedside monitor captures hundreds of data points per second, but nursing staff normally chart on a per hour basis. Changes are traced over several hours. Experts call it a “remarkable waste,” urging the industry to harness the valuable information hidden within that “skipped” data.

AI and Internet-of-Things are the technologies developers rely on to address the issue. Big Data and its analysis calls for superior processing power, so bedside charting systems need to have enough capacity and resources to accommodate the incoming solutions. The innovation of today becomes the norm tomorrow, so it makes sense to future-proof the POC investment with the capacity you will need soon.

Interoperability was the focal point of this year’s HIMSS conference. The need to allow the disparate systems, equipment, specialists, departments and institutions to be interoperable and harness the smooth data exchange is glaring now. As hospitals and manufacturers have spent decades developing isolated systems, with proprietary terminology and interfaces, the present HIT systems are riddled with interoperability issues.

Bedside charting systems appeared because the industry needed a solution to cut the documentation time. Nurses had to cut that time from the direct interactions with patients, and POC provided excellent results. Charles Myers cites significant productivity improvement due to the introduction of bedside charting systems. Besides overtime savings of half an hour per nurse per shift, bedside charting helped hospitals attract and retain nurses. The nursing staff would spend twice as much time in the patients’ room.

However, with the advent of EHR, the sector faced the so-called IT productivity paradox. As of now, EHR documentation – now in electronic form – takes medical staff 2-3 hours of uncompensated time daily, after work. At some point, regulations mandating EHR adoption, and ACA changing hospital reimbursement system collided with technology and people.

Therefore, bedside charting systems have now evolved to accommodate EHR and patient infotainment systems. Bedside computers running EHR enable nurses and physicians complete the documentation at the point of care and spend less time after work on “paperwork.” By incorporating patient infotainment systems into the bedside computers, hospitals cut the IT costs and increase patient satisfaction rates.

The latter is a part of the patient-centric approach the industry requires. “The patient is not just at the center of care but is part of the care team, and is considered an actor of care,” as the Health Innovation Report cites Vincent Dumez, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal. Infotainment systems play a significant role in improving doctor-patient-nurse interaction, communication, and help increase patient awareness and control.

Recommendations

While HIT cannot solve all the problems in health care, there is evidence it does improve:

  • clinicians’ decision-making
  • decreasing healthcare costs
  • helping nurses to obtain critical patient information rapidly while delivering care
  • with mobile technology added, health IT help improve communication, reduce errors, improve patient safety

Both Meyer in 1992 and Toofany in 2016 stress that the successful implementation of clinical IT systems depends on user acceptance.

  • Even excellent IT systems cannot deliver the results expected of them if the staff does not support their use.
  • One of the biggest mistakes a healthcare institution can make is not to involve the “representative staff,” and nurse involvement is crucial.

The nursing staff involvement helps organizations choose the most relevant solutions that:

  • can be customized before acquisition and configured by the users after acquisition to tailor the hardware, software, and peripherals
  • are compatible with legacy systems and can interface with them
  • provide electrical and radiation safety for near-patient use
  • provide data security and advanced authentication mechanisms that are easy-to-use
  • have superior computing power in an ergonomic form factor
  • provide usability without compromising other features
  • are antimicrobial and easy to disinfect
  • protect the data integrity from the loss in the event of a power outage
  • are easy to use overall, without a steep learning curve

The Future

Deloitte stresses the exponential technological progress, providing HIT manufacturers guidance on where the industry’s future is headed:

  • more computing power in an increasingly smaller form factor
  • more data storage capacity and network connectivity options
  • more software capability
  • increasing reliance on mobile and sensor technologies, AI and data analytics

Deloitte outlines the shifts in health care landscape:

  • from acute to preventive care, from specialists to self-care, from hospital to home care
  • from monitoring single biometric indicators to multiple, processed by AI
  • from intuitive approach based on empirical evidence to precision-based care harnessing the data provided by health IT systems
  • from silo-ed medical knowledge to centralized, accessible knowledge centers

There is great potential for healthcare organizations and HIT developers to capitalize on those shifts. Those that keep ignoring them may lose revenue and market share if they fail to offer “consumer-centric products and end-to-end solutions.”

Modern medical grade computers used in bedside charting enable all these shifts, future-proofing your systems for further upgrades and expansions to accommodate more functionality. These systems are used by both medical staff and patients, improving outcomes and patient satisfaction rates. Contact Cybernet today to learn more about our solutions for healthcare!

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A Brief Introduction to Medical Grade Monitors

Radiologists, surgeons, medical physicians, and information technology specialists routinely rely on medical monitors for diagnostic, surgery, and treatment purposes. In medical imaging diagnostics, the human is the “brain,” but the medical imaging monitor is the “eyes.”

Medical professionals require medical grade monitors for an accurate and consistent performance of the medical image display system. Too much is at stake in a system where sub-par technology or inaccurate calibration can result in misdiagnosis. So, adequate medical monitors are the key element of the medical image viewing platform powering modern hospitals.

There is a wide availability of IT solutions from consumer grade to high-end medical grade gray-scale or color monitors to meet the demands of any hospital department. However, not every solution can provide the quality of the medical image displayed on the monitor that would be adequate for diagnostic purposes. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for all medical imaging purposes. That is why decision-makers need to involve the IT department and members of the care team working with medical images when selecting medical monitors.

LCD Technologies Used in Modern Monitors

  • TN Panel: Twisted Nematic (TN) is the oldest and the most common panel type. It is also cheap because it is easy to manufacture – you can see them in low-end monitors and laptops. Its strongest point is the fast response time. When coupled with a LED backlighting, TN monitors are energy-efficient and provide high brightness. However, the color distortions at moderate to wide viewing angles results in low quality of the image, and low accuracy.
  • IPS Panel: In-Plane Switching monitors reproduce colors noticeably better than TN. IPS also offers better readability and color stability at extreme viewing angles. However, IPS panels have a lower light transmittance than Vertical Alignment monitors. With the advent of S-IPS (Super-IPS), the response time and contrast have improved. IPS also allows for color calibration.
  • VA Panel: Vertical Alignment (VA) is the technology that combines the advantages of the above two, offering better light and color transmittance. Yet, the contrast is poor at extreme viewing angles.
  • MVA Panel: Multi-Domain Vertical Alignment (MVA) is a combination of a VA panel and a compensation film. It offers excellent image quality at extreme viewing angles, and a fast response time surpassing that of the IPS monitors. MVA also offers better blacks and contrast than IPS or TN monitors. The color reproduction of an MVA monitor is better than that of the TN. MVA medical monitors combine high quality with affordable price – a perfect fit for clinical review purposes.
  • AFFS Panel: Advanced Fringe Field Switching (AFFS) offers superior performance, color reproduction and high luminosity, minimum color distortion at extreme viewing angles and great white/gray reproduction. AFFS is used in high-end panels in commercial aircraft displays mounted in cockpits. Later it evolved into HFFS (High-Transmittance Fringe Field Switching) and AFFS+ with enhanced readability on outdoor environments. The most expensive type.

The choice of panel is crucial. It determines whether the monitor is:

  • good at reproducing colors (for the ultimate accuracy of your diagnostic images)
  • responsive and fast (very important if the medical monitor is used during surgeries)

Of note are the calibration capabilities of the monitor. Calibration allows you to use professional graphics monitors for diagnostic interpretation if basic calibration and set up guidelines are followed. Higher resolution monitors do not necessarily translate into superior diagnostic quality if calibration and set up guidelines are not followed. Irrespective of the monitor type, it must be regularly checked for calibration conformance using a centralized monitoring system.

Types of Medical Monitors

When selecting medical monitors, you need to have a clear idea of your intended use and requirements that stem from it. You can not buy the same monitors for all your departments. A healthcare facility needs a reasonable combination of medical monitors that meet the specific requirements of each department.

Depending on the intended use, the medical monitors differ in properties. The differences in properties – and prices – are significant.

Surgery Room – Surgical Grade Medical Monitor

Used by surgeons, these medical monitors require fast response time as surgeons rely on them to view movements of the instruments and the state of the tissue during surgery. Perfect readability at extreme viewing angles is a must, so an antiglare film is needed.

The surgical grade medical monitors call for 300-500 nits brightness. Other critical requirements stem from the sterile environment in the operating rooms and the number of peripherals and devices that must be connected to the monitor.

Hence, surgical grade medical monitors must have an antimicrobial coating to prevent the spread of germs in the OR. IP65 rating (waterproof casing, sealed bezels) is also a must-have feature, as these monitors must be able to withstand:

  • CDC-mandated disinfection with liquid chemical solutions
  • accidental spills and splashes (medication, blood)

Additionally, surgical grade medical monitors must support multiple video modes, such as picture-in-picture, and dual screen mode. To connect various peripherals such as cameras and other vitals tracking that the surgeon needs on one screen, surgical grade medical monitors require a selection of ports that would accommodate the required devices (HDMI, DP, DVI-I, SDI, Composite, RS323, USB).

Radiology – Diagnostic-Grade Medical Monitor

Radiologists need the highest possible color reproduction, and contrast alongside DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine standard) certification, especially the grayscale build as these are used to review X-Ray images. The requirements for these monitors are most stringent. They must reproduce color in its smallest variations, true blacks, and grays. Diagnostic-grade medical monitors require excellent image uniformity and high brightness to reproduce images at 800+ nits.

Clinical Review – Medical Touchscreen Monitor

Many medical specialists need a secondary display for PACS quality control or modality viewing. The primary monitors are used by medical practitioners to interpret images for billing and reports that other doctors use to make the healthcare decisions. The secondary monitors are multipurpose and are used for more than just viewing medical images. Secondary medical monitors serve for patient edutainment purposes, office work, review by surgeons and clinicians, PACS quality assurance and image acquisition.

Even though primary monitors are at the forefront, secondary monitors can not be consumer grade because the consistent quality and efficiency of the imaging chain rely on:

  • quality of image acquisition
  • efficiency of the IT solution used for secondary display purposes
  • interpretation quality assurance
  • reliable and accurate reproducibility of a medical image at each stage (primary and secondary medical monitor)

Physicians relying on medical monitors for clinical review require a touch screen that is not only accurate and medical-grade, but also multipurpose and can be used for electronic documentation, EHR, patient edutainment. The touchscreen is ideal as it eliminates the need for peripherals (keyboard, mouse) and is ergonomic for settings where you need to limit the wire clutter to ensure patient safety.

The clinical review monitor does not call for a DICOM certification. Instead, it needs the antimicrobial coating to cap the spread of germs, and waterproof bezels to withstand disinfection with liquid solutions.

In many cases, clinical review monitors call for the antiglare coating to enhance viewing from extreme angles and in different lighting conditions.

Final Words

Medical practitioners must be working with medical grade monitors – no less. When screening vendors, take into account the following criteria:

  • Panel type: image quality, color stability at different viewing angles, response time, calibration options, quality assurance. Consider if there is a need for an anti-glare coating.
  • Touchscreen/no touchscreen: to use with or without keyboard and mouse if there is a requirement to remove wire clutter.
  • Certifications: DICOM, CDC, IP, 60601-1, etc.
  • Safety for near-patient use and use in sterile environments: antimicrobial coating, waterproof build.
  • Ports: ample selection of ports to connect required devices and peripherals.
  • Mounting: VESA, desktop, medical cart.

Cost considerations tend to guide monitor selection, but it is important to remember that medical grade monitors end up having a lower Total Cost of Ownership than consumer-grade ones due to low failure rate (less than 2% with Cybernet monitors), MIL-STD components, long lifecycle and 3-5-year warranty. In other words, they last significantly longer, and while they last – they give you the peace of mind as you rest assured of the reproducible quality and accuracy of your medical images.

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Can Your Medical Computers Run Military Genesis EHR?

MHS Genesis EHR is now a reality. After four years of planning, months of tests and delays, and a $4.3-billion contract, Department of Defense’s first electronic health records implementation is live at Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington.

Military Healthcare System (MHS) Genesis is based on commercial Cerner EHR and is a part of the DoD’s plan to update its legacy HIT infrastructure. Originally slated for roll-out in December 2016, it was delayed for a revision to ensure the system testing is complete before its prime time.

The challenge that prompted the delay was the sheer complexity of the project. Data exchange, interoperability, and integration of the new system with legacy systems across the military healthcare providers caused some doubts whether Cerner had the capacity required for the project of such magnitude. The Office of Inspector General even audited the DoD EHR update project and stated the federal organization was trying to undertake a project too big for the set timeline.

Genesis EHR

Nonetheless, the first week of the implementation is rated as a success, according to the DoD press release. Fairchild’s 92 Medical Group is the first military clinic to use MHS Genesis. It is the first single, integrated inpatient and outpatient EHR in the U.S. enabling a team approach in providing healthcare services. The Genesis EHR is collaborative and gathers all health information of a patient into a single e-PHI record. The system will have the bandwidth for 9.4 million e-PHI records for DoD beneficiaries & 205,000 MHS personnel globally. MHS Genesis will cater to:

  • 55 military medical centers and inpatient hospitals
  • 300 US Navy ships
  • 2 hospital ships
  • 373 clinics
  • 5 theater hospitals
  • 251 dental clinics
  • 3 services

According to DHA’s brochure, MHS Genesis is a game changer because:

  • all services will use a single system
  • it replaces an estimated 50 legacy systems
  • healthcare providers & patients will be able to access e-PHI anytime, from anywhere
  • it enables greater collaboration and improved healthcare delivery

To address the interoperability requirements, Cerner’s MHS Genesis allows Department of Veterans Affairs and commercial healthcare providers to access its data through Joint Legacy Viewer.

During 2018, DoD plans to deploy it at Naval Hospitals in Bremerton & Oak Harbor, & Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma. Genesis EHR system is slated for a nationwide implementation & global deployment in the U.S. medical facilities and garrisons by 2022.

Earlier this year, during a House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs hearing, the Government Accountability Office Director of IT Management Issues David A. Power said the VA should take the same approach and adopt a commercial SaaS EHR solution instead of trying to upgrade a 30-year old VistA system.

A separate GAO report notes the abandoned VA and DoD interoperability project that sought to develop a joint EHR system for the healthcare providers for active military staff and veterans cost $564 million. Both agencies decided to drop the endeavor, but while DoD opted for Cerner’s EHR, VA decided to upgrade its legacy VistA. Power calls this last decision “unwise,” as running separate systems does not lend itself gracefully to interoperability. VA’s Acting Assistant Secretary for IT & CIO of the Office of IT Rob C. Thomas, II, noted VA intended to go commercial, indeed, in response to committee’s feedback.

Providers Might Not Have The Medical Computers & Tablets Apt for The Task

The Pentagon says training the end-users for the seamless transition to Genesis EHR is one of its highest priorities. However, some officials are not sure if their computers and tablets are powerful enough to run Cerner’s EHR, according to Politico. The computer hardware at many DoD installations might not be able to handle the upgrade.

The four initial deployment hospitals in the Pacific Northwest are funded to purchase new medical computers. However, the other facilities might need the Pentagon to adjust the budgets to accommodate the acquisition of new medical computers for Genesis EHR and medical tablets sophisticated and robust enough to support Cerner solution.

MHS officials have more concerns figuring out how to deal with certain healthcare programs that are outside of its EHR. Cerner built Genesis so that it could interface with existing programs, but some applications are left behind, such as the nuclear medicine info system.

Medical Computers for Military EHR

Medical tablets and medical computers for military EHR must meet multiple requirements.

  • Powerful Cerner compliant hardware

Medical computers for Genesis EHR must be Cerner compliant and have a powerful Intel last-gen CPU, video card, and ample connectivity options. EHR is a resource-hungry application. A single EHR update can clog a weaker PC and lead to costly downtime, which is debilitating for a healthcare setting.

  • Compatible operating system

Medical computers and medical tablets for Genesis EHR must be Windows-powered. No mobile operating system can afford your handhelds the compatibility, ease of use and integration advantages of Windows-based medical tablets.

  • Support for legacy hardware

Medical environments abound in legacy hardware and applications. Medical computers for military EHR must come with serial ports and interfacing capabilities to support legacy software.

  • Superior data protection mechanisms and support for advanced authentication

Integrated CAC, Smart Card reader, a biometric scanner and RFID Imprivata SSO are hardware-enabled advanced authentication mechanisms that help organizations bring their data protection strategies up-to-date. On the software level, Windows medical computers and medical tablets for military EHR must support full disk encryption and encryption of external drives through a standard USB wire.

  • Safety for near-patient use – antimicrobial housing, electric and radiation safety certification

Hospital-acquired infections claim thousands of lives and millions in costs yearly. Therefore, medical computers for military EHR must come with antimicrobial and waterproof housing, easy to disinfect. A CDC-compliant, fanless, antimicrobial build is perfect for sterile environments.

Radiation and electric safety certifications are paramount for medical computers & tablets. Particularly for the cart-mount computers with hot-swap batteries nurses and physicians use for patient checkups, EHR update and drug dispensing. FDA issued a warning the batteries in powered medical carts may cause fires and smoke, disrupting the workflow at U.S. hospitals. When you choose a medical cart computer for a military healthcare facility, account for more than battery uptime, but also for battery safety & reliability.

  • MIL-STD Components

MIL-STD components ensure the durability of your medical computers and tablets, as well as their long lifecycle and low overall failure rates that translate into low Total Cost of Ownership. Medical tablets used in military healthcare system must be rugged to withstand the pressures of the military environments.

  • Upgradeable, customizable, easy to deploy, maintain and use

Medical computers for military EHR must feature ample customization options and ensure the computers are able to accommodate any future EHR upgrades. From this perspective, it is always better to deal with the vendor rather than a reseller and inquire into the availability of spare parts over the course of device’s entire lifecycle, extended warranties, and out-of-warranty services.

  • Ergonomics and Power Efficiency

Military healthcare facilities have to deal with space constraints more than any other healthcare organization. Submarines, ships, military bases in remote locations require medical computers that can be mounted on virtually any surface, bedside arm, medical cart or in a vehicle. Additionally, medical computers and tablets for military hospitals must come with an internal power supply or hot-swap batteries to ensure full-shift uptime, and modest power consumption.

Contact a Cybernet representative today to find out about our Cerner-compliant medical computers & tablets.

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More With Less: Cut Back On Cost Using Technology

Organizations see the wisdom in deploying technology that allows them to do more with less. Forging an IT strategy that helps you cut back on cost using technology does not have to be a time-consuming endeavor. In many cases, awareness about the available and emerging technologies helps businesses manage their IT budget efficiently and gain a competitive edge.

A study by Accenture estimates that IT spending is 1%-15% of total corporate spending, and suggests the steps to minimize it:

  • shift the focus from short- to long-term goals
  • coordinate goals throughout the organization
  • optimize for efficiency
  • future-proof IT investment
  • drive IT-enabled business value

With that in mind, let us look at the ways technology can help you cut back on cost and improve your bottom line, long-term.

Energy Efficiency

Unregulated energy consumption is wasted money. Managing power consumption across a distributed infrastructure is a challenge. As you acquire new equipment, make sure to go for Energy Star-certified computers. These have extensive power management capabilities backed by automation and remote management. Deploying Energy Star equipment and power management tools with ample customization and automation features allows organizations to cut back on power consumption.

Energy efficiency goes beyond power management. For example, powered carts are known to have issues with batteries – they often fail and require frequent replacement. The batteries in BYOD tablets and smartphones do not last the full shift, requiring untimely recharging, which leads to the loss of productivity. This aspect is seldom accounted for when the IT spending is calculated. However, if you calculate the cost of downtime due to the lacking batteries in your cable-less devices such as powered carts, tablets, laptops and smartphones, you can bet the price is high.

Basing acquisition decisions solely on the initial purchase price of a computer is a short-sighted strategy. If calculated correctly, the costs of such decisions outweigh the initial gain. So, when assessing potential acquisitions, spend due diligence researching the battery capacity, durability, lifespan, and certifications.

With Windows business tablets and all-in-one computers with internal batteries, energy efficiency and uptime rely on several cornerstones:

  • certified according to industry standards, industrial-grade batteries with a long lifecycle
  • reliable uptime
  • hot-swap feature with the second set of batteries and charging station
  • proven track record of low failure rate

Cable-Free Operations

Accommodating the energy needs of new equipment is expensive if you need to create additional power outlets. If some of your operations rely on mobile solutions, self-powered all-in-one computers offer the flexibility and feasibility you need. As the charging station can be positioned near any power outlet, your computers stay mobile and reliable.

More so, with our revolutionary AIO computer that powers itself and peripherals – printers, barcode scanners, and others. You no longer need a nearby power outlet or a bulky UPS, as the computer powers itself and peripherals.

Device Convergence

Converging multiple devices into one has unprecedented savings potential. All-in-one business or industrial computers and business tablets now integrate peripherals, which have been external traditionally. The customization is key, so you can choose the configuration you require. Embed barcode scanner, RFID reader, Imprivata SSO, Smart Card CAC Reader and enjoy the durability of industrial grade build.

Improve Connectivity of Remote Workers, Control Data Plans

Business tablets are not locked to any Internet or phone service provider, so you can use your current plan, and manage costs accordingly. Irrespective of whether you use GSM or CDMA, 3G or 4G, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, your field workers will be connected; your data plan – controlled.

Future-Proofing

Implement systems and devices that can grow with you. Opt for computers that offer:

a) advanced customization options to accommodate your current needs,
b) extensive upgradeability to future-proof your investment

For example, many computers and most laptops in use at healthcare organizations required replacement because they could not handle the operational load of EHR software.

If you rely on resource-hungry applications, your computers and tablets must be able to accommodate them now and in future. You must be able to add memory and expand storage.

If you rely on visually intensive applications, it makes sense to opt for 4K UHD all-in-ones instead of HDTV monitors. The image processing applications and capturing devices are capable of working with increasingly higher resolutions, so limiting that potential to already dated technology now means you will have to buy newer monitors tomorrow when everyone else is already running 4K.

Safeguard Against Liabilities

In most industries, regulations governing employee/patient safety and data security lead to significant liabilities in fines, audits, license suspension or revocation. Bad publicity adds to the cost count associated with data breaches or safety-related accidents.

On the safety front, devices that adhere to industry standards and come with corresponding certifications do the job. Be it electric, radiation safety, or antimicrobial safety, waterproof IP protection, rugged MIL-STD build, and components – depending on your environment you must choose the corresponding hardware. Consumer-grade computers and BYOD might seem like an attractive proposition, but they are not made to work 24/7. They have a high fail rate when used in resource-hungry industrial, healthcare or business environments.

Protect Your Devices and Data

On the data protection front, you can protect your physical and digital assets with advanced authentication, timely updates, patches, remote administration, and troubleshooting.

The keyword is remote. With the current shortage of skilled IT and cybersecurity pros, you need to equip them with tools and functionality that make them productive. Remote administration and maintenance of business computers and tablets reduce downtime, service costs, and pressure on the IT staff. Faster and better service translates into lower costs (and satisfied users).

Data leaks and privacy breaches are costly and damage brand reputation. Cybersecurity is considered an expensive area, but it is not if you follow best practices, and if your hardware allows it. For example, Windows-powered business tablets or all-in-one computers allow organizations to:

  • manage devices remotely – patch, update, troubleshoot, locate, wipe
  • enable advanced authentication – native Windows + RFID Imprivata SSO, Smart Card or CAC Reader, biometric reader/fingerprint scanner
  • encrypt the hard drive
  • use end-to-end data encryption
  • Windows business tablets let you encrypt data on external hard drives
  • customize hardware and OS features – disk imaging, disabling app store, webcam, or microphone
  • whitelist and blacklist apps and connections, disable access to public WiFi, deploy corporate VPN and more.

Save on Software, OS Licenses

Business tablets and all-in-one computers provide compatibility with your professional software and hardware. They run on Windows or Linux, so can accommodate the needs of any professional software, and you can use the already purchased licenses. You can order the free disk imaging and avoid time-consuming deployment, as the bloatware gets removed.

Additionally, Windows and Linux have the world’s largest pool of free, open-source software, which becomes increasingly popular among savvy business users due to frequent updates and community audits, which mean functionality and security – at no cost.

Compatibility with Legacy Hardware

On the hardware level, opt for maximum compatibility with legacy systems. Compatibility comes through the availability of serial ports you can customize, and computers’ and tablets’ ability to interface with HMI, MMI and automation processes.

Some organizations have successfully integrated their legacy equipment into modern systems with our all-in-one PCs and extended the lifecycle of the otherwise dated hardware.

Regain Data Visibility, Purge Obsolete and Control Vital Data

Recent research indicates that more than 50% of corporate data is dark data. It means organizations do not know what they store, where, if that data is protected or has value. Some of the dark data has value; some is obsolete or redundant. Yet, organizations spend substantial storage and maintenance budgets on servicing the data nobody has accessed in three years.

Regaining data visibility is important not only from the cost but also from the compliance perspective. As data protection regulations become more stringent (think GDPR), companies will face liabilities for failing to manage employee, customer and partner data properly.

Data visibility is only possible through corporate control of devices and software used by employees. BYOD does not offer feasible ways of streamlining corporate control and data visibility. Corporate-owned computers and tablets do.

Contact Cybernet today to learn more about how business grade all-in-one computers and tablets help organizations cut costs.

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5 Ways To Make Your Data Unhackable

In A Digital World, No Company Is Immune

The recent WannaCry ransomware attack wrecked havoc around the globe and highlighted the problems of cyber security in many industries. No country or industry was “left behind.” State institutions, telecoms companies, health care organizations, educational institutions, oil and gas companies, manufacturing across the world seized operations. Downtime, regress to pen-and-paper operations and panic – these are the takeaways of WannaCry for the majority of affected businesses.

Several issues have come to the forefront in the aftermath of the attack:

  • the use of the long-discontinued Windows XP across organizations
  • the lax attitude to software updates and data backups
  • the lack of proper security protocols

Fortune notes that “every company is a digital company now.” Every business nowadays relies on technology and the Internet for a variety of operations. Cloud is hosting a broad range of business operations from customer service to accounting. Once a company gains a digital footprint, it has a digital landscape to protect. One is inseparable from the other. Just like you protect the safe boxes in your office, you ought to protect the digital assets of your organization.

No organization is immune to cyber attacks. Small and medium-sized businesses might think they are not the priority targets, but reality says otherwise. SMBs are among the top targets for cyber criminals because they lag in cyber security, as compared to larger organizations. Additionally, SMBs present an easy entry point for attacks targeting their bigger partners, as was the case with Target.

Why Customer Data Protection Is Important

There are many reasons, but mainly due to – 1) legal liabilities, 2) brand reputation, 3) financial damage.

In the US, EU, and Asia, there are disparate, yet increasingly strict data protection regulations. Companies dealing with customer – or patient – private data are responsible for its privacy and security. Most known data breaches end up in administrative fines, audits and even revocation or suspension of license.

Once the data breach becomes known, customers seek to indemnify the damage of having their personal data compromised. Trust is broken, loyalty is undermined.

Brand damage usually goes beyond discontent customers. Lost contracts, mergers, and compromised partnerships can be enough to push an SMB out of business and cause a significant stock drop for large companies. Combined with the expenses associated with the downtime, breach investigation, and mitigation expenses, the cost of a data breach is an average of $4 million.

Must Do’s

1. OS and Software Updates

WannaCry outbreak once again highlighted the importance of timely patches and system updates. Many state institutions and businesses worldwide were reluctant to update from the discontinued Win XP to the newer Windows versions. Despite its convenience in many aspects, there are too many risks associated with running the outdated OS.

Windows 7, 8 and 10 can be set up to receive automatic updates and security patches from Microsoft. On the contrary, if uncontrolled updates are not in line with your company policy, your admins can control the updates.

Windows tablets, medical and enterprise class, allow remote administration, including the updates and fixes. Your admins can push OS and software updates remotely, overseeing the process for the entire fleet of your devices. This eliminates the pressure on the not-so-technically-savvy end users working with these devices.

Remote administration is an essential part of cybersecurity. Your admins can sandbox applications, disable apps store, webcam, microphone, or access to public Wi-Fi. They can black- and whitelist applications and connections.

Only Windows OS allows for such flexibility and advanced control over corporate devices, so business tablets and medical grade tablets powered by Windows offer the high-end security capabilities.

2. Secure Authentication

Advanced authentication is possible when software and hardware capabilities work together to ensure only authorized personnel can access the contents of the device.

BYOD does not provide the level of sophistication, ease of use and flexibility necessary to protect your corporate and customer data from unauthorized access.

Business tablets and medical tablets, as much as business all-in-one computers, incorporate the native Windows authentication features with security of RFID SSO, Smart and CAC card reader, biometric scanners and fingerprint readers.

Security must be robust but easy-to-use. When security is too difficult and time-consuming, the employees “forget” to adhere. Advanced authentication is indispensable under the circumstances. It allows you to enforce stringent protection and grant your employees the ease of use.

3. Safe Wi-Fi and Data Encryption

Data encryption is crucial in any cyber security strategy. Windows business tablets and medical tablets come with several USB ports, and support encryption of data on external hard drives. This means your workers can encrypt data on USB dongles and external hard drives directly from the tablet – fast, secure, simple.

Configuring your corporate devices to avoid connecting automatically to insecure public Wi-Fi is equally important. When access to corporate Wi-Fi is impossible, your business tablets will ensure your field workers are online due to advanced connectivity options. Supporting 3G, 4G, Bluetooth, GSM, CDMA, business tablets are not locked to any telecoms provider, so you can set up your payment plans and bandwidth the way you need it – not the way your locked device dictates.

4. User Management, Access Restriction

Restricting access to personal information (of your employees, customers, and partners) is essential to data protection. Employees who have no need to know should have no access to confidential data.

Likewise, administrators must be able to see who accesses what data, when, from where and what they do with it. They must be able to monitor incoming and outgoing traffic. Windows remote management streamlines user administration – adding, removing users and privileges, setting up accounts and passwords.

Employee Left or Fired Access Not Terminated is a severe problem that often leads to compromise of corporate data. Eliminating ELOFANTs from your networks is another must-do.

Employees with privileged access must be able to use secure connections when outside of the office (VPN, end-to-end encryption, zero-knowledge cloud provider).

Of special note is, again, advanced authentication for employees traveling with corporate devices. Lost or stolen corporate laptops and personal smartphones often lead to data breaches. That is why business tablets come with advanced authentication mechanisms on the hardware and software level enforced by the remote location, lock and wipe capabilities.

5. Data Visibility and Control

According to Veritas and Vanson Bourne, 52% of corporate data is dark data. “Dark” is the data a company knows nothing about. Some of that data is business-critical, and its compromise brings liabilities. Some of it is obsolete, redundant or trivial. It means companies are spending large sums on maintaining cloud and on-premise data storage, 50% of which is clogged with the dark data.

The loss of data visibility is a grave issue:

  • 86% of ITs believe the clog of data increases the time it takes to respond to a cyber attack.
  • The average cost of storing 1PB of data per year is $5 million.
  • You spend 52% of your data storage budget on the data you know nothing about.
  • Worse yet, 41% of that budget goes to storing the data no one in your organization has touched in 3+ years.

BYOD and unregulated use of consumer applications (cloud, email, chat) contribute volumes to the problem. Employees treat corporate storage as personal, uploading terabytes of personal photos, videos, movies, and music files.

With corporate-controlled business tablets, your admins can regulate the storage, uploads, downloads, installations and file sharing, regaining visibility of your data and identifying data that can drive value.

To prevent your IT budget from becoming bloated and ineffective, you must regain visibility of and control over your data. Corporate-owned business tablets let you do that. BYOD does not.