All posts by cybernet

How Medical Computers can Help Combat the Opioid Crisis

Prescription opioids have been in the news quite a bit lately. Congress just recently passed sweeping legislation, commonly known as the SUPPORT bill, to help combat the opioid epidemic that has been on the rise the past several years. According to studies done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 115 people per day are dying from opioid abuse. Overdoses have been on a steady rise throughout the country the past several years.

The legislation provides funding for non-opioid painkiller research, funding for addiction treatment programs, as well as reforms for how prescriptions are given and tracked. While these measure are widely praised by medical experts, as well as both political parties as a great step in the right direction, there are still several present day challenges that need to be overcome.

Imprivata and DigiCert Lead the Charge in Electronic Prescription Technology

Because opioid painkillers are considered a controlled substance, physicians traditionally haven’t been allowed to prescribe these medications electronically unless they met certain federal guidelines. Unfortunately, paper prescriptions can be doctored and patients often engaged in “doctor shopping” to fill multiple prescriptions for the same medication. This exacerbated the opioid crisis.

In 2010 the DEA passed the Electronic Prescribing for Controlled Substances (EPCS) guidelines, which has been a game changer. Any practitioner that met EPCS guidelines could electronically prescribe opioid painkillers. What this does is help secure prescriptions, as they go directly from the doctor to the pharmacy. It also creates an audit trail of who is prescribing these medications, as well creating an audit trail for patient behavior making it more difficult for addicts to doctor shop trying to get multiple prescriptions for the same ailments.

One of the key guidelines for a healthcare practitioner to become EPCS compliant is to have two factor authentication set up in their EHR or prescription system. That’s where Imprivata and DigiCert have stepped in. Imprivata is a healthcare-focused security firm that specializes in single sign on technology for healthcare facilities. DigiCert is an SSL certificate authority. The two companies have teamed up to create an automated identity proofing process called Imprivata Confirmed ID, that makes compliance with the FDA’s EPCS program much easier to attain.

Unfortunately, Healthcare Facilities are Lagging Behind

Following the passage of EPCS, pharmacies were quick to adopt best practices in order to be compliant. According to a survey conducted by Tableau in October of 2018, 95% of commercial pharmacies nationwide are EPCS enabled. By comparison, only 30% of prescribers nationwide are EPCS enabled. This massive gap is slowing down efforts to combat the opioid epidemic.

Thankfully things are changing for the better. Currently 13 states have passed laws to mandate EPCS compliance. In addition, the SUPPORT bill mandates EPCS compliance for all Medicare Part D prescriptions by 2021. This should help close the gap between prescribers and pharmacies.

How Can Healthcare Facilities and Doctor’s Offices Gain Compliance?

Two factor authentication is the key to EPCS. Medical grade computers and medical grade tablets with integrated RFID readers, barcode scanners and smart card readers are already set up to be Imprivata certified, which is a major advantage over commercial grade computers that don’t offer these features. Because these units are already Imprivata compliant, falling in line with the Confirm ID process should be much easier. The two factor authentication ensures that only the prescribing physician can log into an approved EMR application and send an opioid prescription to a pharmacy. Without this, compliance with EPCS is impossible.

At Cybernet, all of our medical grade computers and tablets are engineered to have optional two-factor authentication features integrated directly into the device. We only use Imprivata certified components, ensuring a smooth transition to an EPCS enabled solution. For more questions, you can contact us here.

Bringing Medicine to the Field with Mobile Technology

There can be no doubt that mobile technology has completely changed the way we interact with the world. It has also had a major impact on nearly every industry from agriculture to e-commerce. The healthcare industry is no exception. There are a number of ways that medical grade tablets are changing the way healthcare can be administered and improve patient outcome.

Until not that long ago, patients had to travel to healthcare facilities in order to receive care, but those days, where the patient was required to go to the doctor, are over. Here are just a few ways in which mobile technology is bringing medical care into “the field” and is saving lives.

Telehealth is Changing the Game

The concept of home healthcare is nothing new. Homecare nurses have been around for decades. But for a long time, their job involved following a set routing that included excessive paperwork and double entry upon returning to their office. None of which alleviated the fact that if the patient needed to see a doctor, they still needed to go into an office.

Medical tablets have changed all of that. Homecare providers can easily take vital signs and enter them directly into the tablet. Thanks to WiFi and LTE connectivity, that patient data can be uploaded into an ERM system in real time, eliminating hours of paperwork and reducing the risk of human error when transcribing data. Most importantly, telehealth consultations with physicians can happen remotely. Doctors can teleconference with a patient, examine them through the webcam and even change treatment plans on the fly with a homecare provider right there to help answer questions.

Rugged Medical Tablets to Treat the Homeless

Homeless and displaced populations are at the greatest risk to fall through the cracks when it comes to healthcare. It can be extremely difficult for these individuals to make it to free clinics for treatment, and it is almost impossible for them to keep track of their own medical records.

Rugged medical tablets can make a massive impact on these people’s lives. First off, the rugged nature of the devices allows them to be brought into the streets and other areas that might cause severe damage to a regular mobile device. Accidental drops on pavement or inclement weather could destroy a regular tablet, but wouldn’t slow down a rugged medical tablet.

Once in the field, healthcare practitioners can easily sign up and register homeless populations for government aid programs. Their records can be recalled at later dates from the tablet. Ailments, treatments and even medication information can all be stored in EMR software accessible from the tablet to provide consistent ongoing treatment for an entire population of people that might otherwise be forgotten.

Medical Tablets Bridge the Gap Between EMTs and the ER

There is no question that EMTs do an incredible job of administering critical care to patients in route to a hospital. Whether it be a gunshot wound, allergic reaction, or something like a heart attack, the work that these individuals do is essential to achieving positive outcomes. Once an ambulance arrives on scene, it is the EMTs that provide nurses and doctors with the information they need to continue treatment. In some cases, this transition can literally mean the difference between life and death.

Medical grade tablets in an ambulance, connected to an Emergency Room intake, can easily be used to transmit vital signs and other readings to a hospital in real time. EMTs can take pictures or videos of wounds and injuries for doctors to evaluate while the patient is still on the way to the hospital. This allows for ERs to be better prepared for when the patient arrives and helps to smooth out the transition from ambulance to ER, improving patient outcomes.

Mobile Technology can Impact Preventative Medicine

Mobile health clinics and blood banks have become more and more prevalent over the years, and medical tablets go a long way toward making these facilities more efficient. Preventative medicine is designed to keep small problems from becoming large problems. Unfortunately, a number of people don’t seek out medical care for minor issues for a number of different reasons. Multiple studies have proven that mobile health clinics (MHCs) have much higher instances of people agreeing to health screenings over brick and mortar clinics. The same goes for patients reaching out to receive pre-natal care. Even something as simple as a flu shot can help improve the overall health in a community.

We also see a much higher need for blood after natural disasters and other tragic events. Mobile blood banks can go out into the community before these things happen and collect donations to bolster supplies and prevent shortages in times of need.

All of these things can be easily facilitated with medical tablets. A medical tablet with a barcode scanner can help keep blood donations organized by blood type. Donation information can be scanned and stored in the tablet removing all risk of human error. Patients can be quickly registered at MHCs and insurance information can easily be recorded using a medical tablet. Eliminating paper processes helps to ensure the speed and efficiency of these mobile clinics, making it more likely that people will return in the future.

There are countless ways that technology is changing how healthcare is administered. Cybernet is at the forefront of innovation with our medical grade computers and tablets. For more information on how we can help you create a custom solution for your unique needs you can contact us here.

Breaking Down the ROI of Medical Computers

It can be difficult for an IT department in any industry to convince a CFO to write a bigger check for computer hardware. The fact remains that medical grade computers are going to be more expensive than a commercial grade computer. But it is also important to understand that IT hardware is, at a minimum, a 5-year investment. So when you are planning your IT budget, you need to look at it from a long-term view rather than a short-term expense.

In this blog, we are going to provide you with some ammunition to take with you to your next budget meeting to help you understand the true ROI of medical grade computers.

Understanding MTBF: All Computers are Not Created Equally

MTBF, or Mean Time Between Failure, is a measure of how long a piece of equipment will typically last. A desktop computer has a lifespan of 3-5 years in a “typical” office environment. A hospital is anything but typical, however. In an office, a computer might be running for 8-10 hours at a time 5 days per week, before being shut down for the rest of the day. A hospital is 24/7, 365. That’s like driving your car home from work, then parking it on a giant treadmill, and leaving it in gear overnight while you sleep. The engine is going to wear down a lot quicker in that scenario. When you consider a 24/7 work cycle, that 3-5 year estimate ends up being closer to 1-2 years before you need to replace your hardware.

A fanless medical computer is made with industrial grade components that are specifically designed for 24/7 use. And because of the fanless design, there are fewer moving parts, meaning fewer points of failure. Keeping out dust is another way to extend the life of a computer. Eliminating the fan goes a long way towards accomplishing that, but an IP65 rating is also important. IP65 is an international standard that measures a devices protection against dust and water intrusion. Not only does this keep out dust, but considering how often hospital equipment needs to be cleaned and disinfected, keeping out liquids will also extend the life of your computer.

Spending half as much on a commercial grade computer today really isn’t a cost savings if you have to replace those computers 2 or 3 times over the course of 5 years instead of simply investing in a medical grade computer that won’t need to be replaced.

Eliminating 3rd Party Dongles

Hospitals and healthcare facilities have needs that go far beyond processing power and memory. HIPAA and other regulations are a constant concern for HIT managers. Two-factor authentication is quickly becoming the standard in hospitals across the country, and some states require it by law. If you invest in commercial grade computers, that means 3rd party attachments. You can find RFID and fingerprint readers for fairly cheap, but they may not be Imprivata certified – which is the standard two-factor authentication software. They also are easy to lose and break, and they take up valuable port space that could be used to integrate the computer with other devices.

Look for medical computers that have integrated RFID and biometric readers built in. More importantly, look for medical computers that are Imprivata certified. This will help you stay compliant with HIPAA data privacy concerns. It also completely eliminates the need to invest in 3rd part attachments. That might mean removing hundreds of devices out of circulation that would otherwise fall under the purview of your IT team to maintain, saving a lot of time and money.

Overcoming Break/Fix IT

In a lot of organizations, IT is viewed as a necessary evil. You need to keep hardware and software up and running to ensure productivity, but the department itself is rarely able to engage in revenue-generating activities. This is because there are literally hundreds of devices that IT is responsible to manage and maintain, and HIT staff is typically inundated with maintenance requests.

As we mentioned above, medical grade computers can eliminate the break/fix mentality that organizations place on IT departments. More reliable computers with industrial grade components are one piece of the puzzle. Eliminating 3rd party attachments is another. When you have a computer that simply works and maintains a long lifespan, it will free up a lot of time for your IT team to work on other projects that actually generate revenue.

Imagine having an IT team that has the time to speak with different departments to understand their challenges, and then devise systems designed specifically to improve those processes. Or having a team that can spend time aggregating data from different silos of information into actionable intel. You might even want to create patient portals or other ways of communicating with patients to improve outcomes. All of these activities can improve efficiency, grow the bottom line, and improve patient care. But they take time to implement. If your IT team isn’t constantly backlogged with maintenance requests, they have the time to take on these types of projects.

Reduce Expenditure on Medical Carts

Medical Carts, or workstations on wheels, are a staple in hospitals. Nurses and doctors rely on them to perform rounds and enter patient information in EMR software. Traditionally, a battery powered cart would power the computer, which allowed healthcare practitioners to go room to room with a consistent power supply. Powered carts are extremely expensive, however. Often times as much as 5x as expensive as a non-powered cart.

Medical cart computers powered by hot-swap batteries eliminate the need for a powered cart. Because the computer runs on its own battery power, and batteries can be swapped out on the fly with fresh ones, hospitals can invest in a less expensive alternative without sacrificing any functionality. In fact, even though a medical cart computer is more expensive than a thin client PC, when paired with a non-powered cart the savings can reach as much as 40% in initial savings. That doesn’t take into account additional maintenance costs associated with keeping a powered cart operational.

When it comes to IT hardware, any investment needs to be assessed over the long term. When analyzing total costs over a five year period it becomes clear that the ROI is better when investing in medical grade computers. For more information, or if you have any questions you can contact Cybernet here.

military grade computers in automotive industry

4 Ways to Maximize Your ROI Investment with Industrial Computers

The words ERP implementation might conjure nightmares for some operations managers out there. The fact is, ERP implementations are expensive and time-consuming, and in a lot of cases, they fail to produce a positive ROI. There are a lot of reasons why an ERP implementation might fail ranging from picking the wrong software to fit a company’s needs to a lack of end user buy in. Another reason is that companies don’t take the time to invest in the proper IT infrastructure needed to properly take advantage of all of the features and benefits of modern ERP software. Investing in the right industrial computers can make a big difference when it comes to producing a positive ROI.

Improve Quality Control with Integrated RFID

Modern ERP software has powerful process management and quality control modules. Companies can even build custom workflows to improve efficiency. Industrial Panel PCs with built-in RFID can help to error-proof these processes. RFID readers can be used as a secure log-in feature, ensuring that only qualified employees can log-in to a specific workstation on the production floor.

RFID can also be used to track a product has it moves along the assembly line. As the product gets to a specific station, the computer can automatically read the RFID tag and identify what specific parts need to be installed or what steps need to be completed before moving the product down the line. All of this information can be displayed on the panel PC and checked off as it’s completed. Provided those computers have WiFi or LAN connectivity, project managers can be alerted in real time when tasks have been completed, or if a product has been moved through production without something getting done. This allows QC to be an ongoing process that happens in real-time rather than something that is only caught after a unit is finished and deemed defective, saving time and money.

Take Warehouse Management to the Next Level with Industrial Tablets

Whether it be shipping and receiving, materials management, or putting together customer orders for shipment, inventory management is a massive component of any successful manufacturing or distribution business. ERP software typically comes with their own inventory management modules or can be integrated with WMS (warehouse management software) to help manage this critical component. However, it’s the tools that determine whether you are getting the most out of your investment. An industrial windows tablet equipped with an integrated barcode scanner can really unlock the potential of your software investment. The tablet itself can run your ERP or WMS software and WiFi and/or LTE connectivity keeps it connected to your servers at all times.

The integrated barcode scanner is the final piece. Because the tablet is portable, you can use it on the loading dock to scan in shipments. The barcode scanner can be used to track raw materials as they are moved from storage to the production line. You can even provide tablets to order pickers so they can bring up pick lists on the tablet screen and scan items as they are pulled off of shelves to ensure order accuracy before being shipped to customers. And because these devices are connected to your servers, inventory numbers are updated in real-time, improving efficiency and making sure that alerts are sent out when product is running low or preventing over-ordering, which takes up valuable warehouse space.

Connected HMI Panels Improve Routine Maintenance

It is inevitable that over time critical machinery is going to break down and need repair. Nothing slows down production and bleeds money like a piece of equipment breaking down and halting all work. This can all be avoided with modern ERP and the right HMI panel. HMI computers are designed to be an interface between a machine and an end user. But this interface goes far beyond simply operating a piece of equipment.

Modern ERP can be used to keep track of scheduled maintenance, and thanks to the internet of things, the equipment itself can send alerts to your HMI panel that it is time for a checkup. End users can see these alerts on the screen and make sure that the proper people within the organization are informed, preventing a routine process from becoming a huge expense. In the event of an accident or a failure, the HMI panel can be used to interface with machinery to more quickly diagnose the problem and minimize costs associated with fixing the wrong issue.

Reliability Matters

Manufacturing and Distribution environments can lead to a short life for computer hardware. Dust and other harmful particles can cripple internal components. Commercial grade computers are much more susceptible to breaking down due to extreme heat, cold or humidity. Constant vibrations from an active manufacturing floor can kill a computer as well. If you are constantly needing to repair and replace hardware, it becomes more difficult to get the most use out of any ERP software.

Industrial computers are specifically engineered for these types of harsh environments. Fanless designs prevent harmful particulates from getting inside the computer. An IP65 rating will prevent liquids from getting in and damaging components as well. An industrial computer will also use military grade components that are rated from extreme temperature variances and they will also carry certifications for shock and vibration protection. If you can’t rely on your computer hardware to survive your work environment it becomes impossible to maintain efficiency in processes or expenses.

There are a lot of ways that industrial computers and tablets can benefit a manufacturing or distribution business. Most people don’t consider how their software will run on these devices though. For more information on how industrial computers can help streamline processes and improve ROI, you can contact Cybernet Manufacturing today.

medical computers and computers on wheels

4 Must Have Features for Clean Environment Computer

Walk into any hospital emergency room and one might immediately worry about being exposed to germs and illnesses. It’s a very real problem, as nearly 100,000 people die of nosocomial infections (illnesses contracted while receiving care for a different issue) every year.

There are a number of areas in a hospital where the average patient never sets foot. It’s the behind the scenes areas where contamination and the spread of illness need to be eliminated completely. Operating rooms are famously sterile environments. Hospital labs, infectious disease wards, and compounding pharmacies need to be absolutely sterile as well, otherwise, patient safety is put at extreme risk.

Here are four features that every medical computer used in these environments must have to ensure a sterile environment.

The Medical Computer Should be Antimicrobial

This might seem like a no-brainer, but a lot of hospitals still use commercial grade computers throughout their facilities. But the threat of the spread of infection should make these facilities think twice when it comes to their sterile rooms. Imagine a lab tech working with a sample, entering data into their computer, and then running a lab test later that day. If bacteria can survive on the computer, it could potentially contaminate every test run until the computer has been disinfected.

Another area of concern would be in infectious disease wards where patients are quarantined. While every precaution is taken before entering the room, a healthcare practitioner could still carry something harmful into the room with them. If the computer becomes a breeding ground for harmful microbes, a healthcare worker could easily transmit that to a patient while recording vitals or checking a patient’s medical records.

Medical grade computers have antimicrobial housings to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria. But even here, not all antimicrobial computers are created equally. Some use a coating applied after the manufacturing process is complete. These coating will inevitably degrade over time. It is important to look for a medical grade computer that has the antimicrobial properties baked directly into the plastic housing to ensure that there is no degradation and patients are protected for the entire life of the computer.

You Need a Fanless Medical Computer

We have had conversations with hospital IT administrators that have admitted that their anesthesiologists have to sit outside of the operating room because their computers weren’t certified to be used in the OR. Why, you ask? Because their computers used a traditional fanned cooling system. This is a particular hazard during surgery, as fans can accumulate dust and microbes and then blow them around once activated. If the patient is on the operating table, the last thing you want is for the computer that is supposed to be keeping them safe to be the source of infection.

Fanless medical computers use lower power consumption components, fewer moving parts, and heat sinks to eliminate the need for a fan. By eliminating the fan, you eliminate the risk of harmful particulates being spread around. In addition, these units tend to have a much longer lifespan. Fans not only tend to be the first component that fails on a lot of computers, but it also is where dust can get inside and damage components. By removing the fan, you remove a major cause for hardware failure, extending the life of the computer.

The Computer Should be IP65 Rated

That unmistakable antiseptic smell that dominates your senses when you walk into a hospital is there for a good reason. Hospitals are constantly being cleaned with harsh disinfecting chemicals to try to prevent the spread of germs as best as they can. That includes equipment. How exactly do you disinfect a commercial grade computer without running the risk of damaging the unit itself? It’s tricky to say the least.

Medical computers are designed to be IP65 rated. This is an international standard that tests whether or not a device is protected from water and dust ingress. You can actually watch a video demonstrating IP65 protection here. If a computer is IP65 rated, that means cleaning staff can spray down computer equipment and clean them without any need to worry about whether or not their unit will get damaged or need repairs. This is an extremely important consideration when it comes to mitigating the risk of nosocomial infections while also protecting your hardware investment.

You Need Multiple Mounting Options

Imagine a compounding pharmacy where IV medication bags are prepared. Table space is at a premium, and a desktop tower with a monitor is going to get in the way more often than not. Even the heat that a traditional tower computer generates could adversely affect a medication if it’s too close to the work area. An anesthesia machine might need to be wheeled from one operating room to the next as needed. The computer running the anesthesia application needs to be just as mobile. Computers mounted in a patient room in an infectious disease ward would probably serve the greatest purpose if it could be pivoted back and forth on a wall mount so information and test results can easily be shared with the patient.

It is important to choose a medical grade computer that is VESA compatible to provide you with a number of mounting options. Whether that be on a mobile medical cart or a wall mount, being able to place your computer wherever you need it, without it getting in the way of workflow, will save time and money in the form of improved productivity.

Patient safety is the primary concern for any hospital or healthcare facility. That extends all the way to the IT hardware you choose. At Cybernet, we design and manufacture a complete line of medical grade computes that have been engineered to meet the specific needs of the healthcare industry. To find out more you can contact us here.

What is the Internet of Medical Things?

By now, most people are familiar with the internet of things. While these connected devices are certainly changing how we interact with the world, having a refrigerator that is connected to your video doorbell isn’t exactly life-changing. When it comes to the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), however, we are already seeing life-altering applications. The potential for growth is immense and will drastically change the way we think about healthcare.

Right now, the reality is that the healthcare industry has been slow adopt connected devices. A recent study by Frost & Sullivan found that only 60% of healthcare providers are utilizing IoMT devices, leaving a lot of room for growth and expansion. In fact, that same study found that there are roughly 4.5 billion IoMT devices that existed in 2015, but that number is expected to explode to between 20-30 billion devices by 2020.

Unlike the commercial, enterprise or industrial sectors, the healthcare sector needs to be extra careful when it comes to integrating the IoMT into everyday applications. HIPAA strictly regulates patient data safety, which is a challenge in and of itself. But more importantly, people’s lives are at stake with any new healthcare revolution.

What is an IoMT Device Anyway?

Odds are pretty high that you or a member of your family already uses one. Those fitness tracking bracelets are an example of an IoMT device. But they can go a lot farther than simply monitoring heart rate or how many steps a patient has walked. There are non-invasive devices that can track medication intake, blood glucose levels and even analyze food intake. Vital signs can be monitored and tracked 24/7 through a biometric stamp. The applications already exist, and when connected to a medical computer, can update a patient’s pertinent data in real time.

What’s even more impressive is that this data is 100% accurate. As important as trust is in the patient/doctor relationship, human nature dictates that might fudge a little about their diet or exercise. They might simply forget about missed dosages of their medication. An in-home nurse for an elderly patient can easily check up on everything using a connected medical grade tablet, which would allow them to formulate a more accurate treatment plan. Same for a doctor in a medical office, who can remotely track a patient’s progress on their medical computer and provide treatment updates through a web portal without the patient needing to come in for non-vital follow up visits.

 How Can this Change Healthcare?

Imagine in a few years when there are over 20 billion IoMT devices in regular use. Now imagine the volumes of data that those devices will produce. It is obviously too much information for humans to compile and analyze. That said, medical computers can use machine learning and advanced analytics to compile and compare data. This information can be used for predictive diagnosis or to identify patients who are at risk for future medical issues based on current behaviors or environmental factors.

Blockchain technology can allow this data to be shared anonymously, protecting patient data and allowing for even great pools of information to create even more accurate predictive models. The potential applications are virtually limitless and should improve preventative medicine, as well as help develop better patient outcomes in the event of an illness or injury.

Safety Concerns Must Be Addressed

When you begin talking about billions of connected devices transferring data, cybercrime becomes a legitimate concern. That’s a main reason why the healthcare sector has been a little slower to adopt the technology of the IoMT. As data encryption and firewall protection becomes more robust in these devices, the main threat will no longer be in the data transfer itself, but where the data resides.

 

Medical computers in hospitals are already a major target for cyber criminals. Unattended medical carts and computers in patient rooms are prime targets for physical security threats from data thieves. Often the most underestimated of cyber-attack. Commercial grade computers rarely have built-in security features necessary to protect against a physical attack. Computers looking to adopt and IoMT program should invest in medical grade computers that have built-in RFID readers, biometric fingerprint scanners and smart card readers. Two-factor authentication can ensure that only authorized users can log into an unattended device, preventing cyber theft of valuable patient data.

 

We barely scratched the surface of what the IoMT can currently do and where this technological revolution leading the healthcare industry. Inventory tracking, medical devices doing self-health checkups and providing their own maintenance alerts, and even increasing the speed with which information on new treatments and procedures is shared are a few more every day applications.

 

At Cybernet, we manufacture a full line of medical grade computers and tablets that are engineered to take link legacy equipment to emerging technologies and help healthcare practitioners focus on what’s most important – the patient. For more information, you can contact us here.

Medical Computers for Veterinarians

3 Ways Medical Computers Improve Veterinary Care

When we talk about medical grade computers, we typically think of human patients. But our four-legged friends and the veterinarians that take care of them can greatly benefit from medical grade technology as well. Whether it be treating a pet in the suburbs or livestock on the farm, veterinarians treat an incredible variety of animals with a wide range of ailments. Having the right technology can not only make their jobs easier but can ensure that animals are getting the proper treatment, resulting in better patient outcomes. Here are 3 ways that veterinarians can take advantage of medical grade computers.

Antimicrobial Housings Reduce the Spread of Infection

Nosocomial infections, or infections that are transmitted in a healthcare facility, are an extreme problem for healthcare facilities. The same is true in veterinary clinics. Dogs and cats can’t be taught to cover their mouths when they cough and sneeze, so veterinary clinics must do everything that they can to mitigate the risk of germs being spread from one animal to another.

One way that can be accomplished is through the use of medical grade computers. Specifically, computers that have antimicrobial properties baked directly into the housing. As vets and technicians treat an animal, they then record that information into a computer. Then they move onto the next animal, and so on. No matter how careful the staff is, germs, bacteria, and other harmful microbes can live on the surface of a commercial grade computer for days, increasing the chance of an infection spreading to other animals. Not only does an antimicrobial surface minimize that risk, but if that same medical grade pc is also IP65, it means it can be cleaned and disinfected without there being a risk of liquid getting into the computer and damaging internal components.

Telehealth Isn’t Just for Humans

Telehealth is revolutionizing the way that doctors are treating patients. Diagnosing shut-ins, consulting with specialists and even helping nurses administer proper wound care are just some of the benefits of telehealth. Telehealth is improving access to professional healthcare for millions upon millions of people.

Easy access to veterinarians isn’t so simple. It is estimated that there are over 1 million medical doctors currently practicing medicine in the United States. By contrast, there are only around 100 thousand veterinarians. Veterinarian offices typically serve a much larger area than a primary care, urgent care or hospitals do. If the “patient” is an exotic animal like a snake or a bird, there might not be a veterinarian for hundreds of miles that specializes in treating that type of animal.

Telehealth is the obvious answer. Pet owners or farmers can communicate with their vet remotely to get an immediate consultation on cuts, bites and other common injuries that animals suffer to determine if an office visit is necessary. Vets can also reach out to specialist vets to consult on exotic animal cases, helping to reduce travel time for animals that can put them under undue stress.

ID Tagging and Quarantining Livestock

You’ve probably heard about the Internet of Things (IoT) but have you heard about the Internet of Cows? It’s a tongue in cheek reference to the growing trend of farms and ranches using RFID tags to track and collect data on livestock. The use of RFID technology is revolutionizing farming, including tracking the health of the animals.

When talking about thousands of animals on one ranch, being able to use a rugged medical tablet to scan an RFID tag and bring up that specific animal’s medical history, weight, and other pertinent data. In the event of a disease outbreak, ranchers can scan the sick animal and see what trough an animal fed from, which animals have also fed from the same trough, where they sleep and a host of other information that can allow for a quick quarantine of potentially infected animals to monitor and prevent any further spread of illness.

RFID tagging is also extremely common in domestic animals. Pets are often implanted with RFID chips about the size of a grain of rice that store information like the owner’s name, address, and phone number. In the event that a lost animal turns up at a shelter or vet office, a medical tablet with built-in RFID can be used to quickly scan for an RFID chip so the owner can be immediately contacted.

There are so many ways that medical grade computers and tablets can help to improve the efficiency and safety of veterinary medicine. For more information on the types of features that Cybernet can offer contact us here.

3 Ways the Right Computer Prepares You for Disaster Recovery

It has been estimated that Hurricane Florence will cause as much as $50 billion in damage to the Carolinas. While most people think of damaged homes, cars and other property, a large percentage of those costs can be attributed to economic loss. Data loss, in particular, is extremely costly to businesses as well as lost productivity.

It doesn’t take a hurricane level storm to have a significant impact on businesses. Minor earthquakes, power outages, and other events can all pose a threat to businesses that don’t have the right IT infrastructure in place. Commercial grade computers are often the most vulnerable in these types of situations. And even if a company leverages the cloud, if individual workstations are compromised, data and productivity are lost. Here are 3 ways the right computer can help mitigate that risk.

Industrial Grade Components in Enterprise PCs

While earthquakes can be frightening while they are happening, most don’t cause major structural damage to buildings and roads that would cause a business to shut down for an extensive period of time. But even a minor earthquake can be devastating to computer equipment. If a computer is on a desk, the vibrations might be enough to cause the unit to fall to the ground, or the shaking could be enough to damage internal components like the hard drive, rendering the computer useless.

Enterprise PCs that are built with industrial components and SSD drives are immune to this type of damage from anything other than the most severe earthquakes. These devices are designed to be shock proof and drop proof. Finding an all-in-one computer that is VESA compatible means that it can be securely mounted to a wall or workstation, preventing any potential damage from a unit falling as well. When it’s time to get back to work, there’s no data loss or no need to replace or repair damaged equipment.

IP65 Protects Against Water Damage

When it comes to IT hardware, water kills. There are very few things that can turn a monitor or a tower into an expensive paperweight faster than water damage. It doesn’t take much to trigger a building’s sprinkler system. A small fire in another part of your building or an earthquake could both set off the sprinklers. A glitch in the infrastructure that controls the sprinklers or even a prankster can cause irreparable damage by setting off a false alarm.

Whether you work in a manufacturing facility or an office building, investing in an industrial panel pc or an all-in-one computer that is IP65 rated can end up saving you considerable time and money in the event your hardware gets a brief shower. IP65 is an international standard that determines whether or not a piece of equipment is resistant to water and dust ingress. The standards for the amount of water a computer must be able to withstand to achieve this rating is typically much higher than what an average sprinkler system will emit. You can watch this video on IP65 if you want more information.

The Importance of a UPS

No, we’re not talking about the guys in brown trucks. A UPS, or Uninterrupted Power Supply, is a feature not usually found in a commercial grade PC. While a lot of companies might have a UPS for their internal server, it is rare to see individual workstations connected to a central UPS. And to install one powerful enough to keep all of the workstations in a business operational in the event of a power outage can cost several thousands of dollars.

Something as benign as a car accident that damages a transformer down the block from you can take out the power to your building for several hours. When that happens, all productivity is lost, as well as any data that wasn’t saved prior to the power going out. Unless of course, you have invested in computers that have their own internal UPS. This is an important feature that an IT manager should be looking for. An internal UPS can provide power for several hours, giving employees time to save their work and shut down their systems properly. In some cases, the UPS might be enough to keep productivity going until the power is restored.

It is impossible to prevent certain events from happening. And it is likely that there will always be some negative impact on your operations when they do occur. But there are steps that a business can take to minimize their risk and exposure. One of those steps is investing in the right computers that are designed to withstand harsh environments and outside factors that might destroy a commercial-grade PC. Cybernet designs and manufactures a full line of medical grade PCs, Industrial computers, and enterprise grade computers that are built with exactly these types of scenarios in mind. For more information, you can contact us here.

Improve Interoperability with the Right Medical Computers

Every organization consists of different departments working in sync together to move forward. This is doubly true with healthcare organizations such as hospitals, which measure success in lives saved and patients healed rather than profit and loss. A given hospital’s medical-grade computers need to work in conjunction with the organization’s entire network, which can include not just other computers but legacy medical devices integral to patient care. Most administrators can tell you what a challenge that is.

Interoperability – the ability of medical PCs to work harmoniously across a network with each other – can streamline the healthcare process, make paperwork easier and ensure that timely data gets into the right hands at the right time. The kind of medical computer your organization uses can make a huge difference on that front, turning what could be a patchwork of different units and operating systems into a smoothly running whole.

Go in Stages

Most healthcare organizations are quite large and require numerous medical computers in order to function. When the time comes to replace them, it usually takes place in stages. Annual budgets don’t normally allow for more than a percentage of a given organization’s systems to be replaced at any one time, and upgrades are usually staggered to minimize the impact of a big change.

This can make interoperability very difficult, with different makes and models of medical PCs utilizing different operating systems, all trying to function as part of the same network. A recent report by Healthcare Informatics states that an average of 15 percent of all hospital computer systems run on outdated operating systems. That can cause huge interoperability problems. Outdated systems may struggle with electronic medical records (EMR), for instance, and require elaborate workarounds in order to function.

With that in mind, it makes sense to look for medical computers with a long life cycle: ideally 3-5 years. That ensures that the computers you purchase a few years ago will still operate the same way the computers you’re preparing to install this year, which enhances their interoperability and allows EMRs and other vital software to function smoothly across your entire network.  That permits your organization to upgrade computers more gradually without having to integrate different hardware and software.

Integrate at the Point of Care

Interoperability functions most effectively when it is integrated at the point of care: where doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals directly treat the patients. The ability to document the patients’ treatment as it is delivered – including vital signs, medication and overall progress of healing – can drastically reduce the frequency of errors and ensure that all of the data is accurate.

Furthermore, information integrated into the system at point-of-care allows for much faster response times, allowing specialists and other medical personnel to evaluate the quality of treatment and plan for further care. In the event of a problem – say, a drop in the patient’s blood pressure – then those plans can be altered or revised to reflect the current data.

For example, Acute Care Testing cites a report on emergency services that saw a 2.5% mortality rate for patients boarded less than two hours slowly climb to a 4.5% mortality rate for patients boarded for 12 hours or longer. Compare that information to a study by the U.S. Department of Health, which found that point-of-care treatment — properly cataloged and integrated into an existing network — provides actionable data an average of 46 minutes sooner than lab tests or other factors. Smooth integration of such data allows care to be received that much sooner and reduces the frequency of mortality rates among patients. It can quite literally save lives.

Medical PCs, particularly mobile PCs like medical cart computers, can further facilitate this by using barcode scanners and radio frequency IDs (RFID) to scan and log patient data instantly from wristband IDs, medication containers and the like. They can gather needed data with just a swipe, then log the information and allow hospital staff to act on it when time is of the essence.

Don’t Forget Legacy Devices

Legacy devices – outdated technology that still sees regular use – can be one of the biggest challenges to interoperability. Such devices may not be compatible with modern software, and yet the data they provide can be invaluable to effective care. The American Hospital Association estimates that most medical organizations can only afford to replace 10% of their legacy devices per year, meaning that methods must be found to integrate functioning devices to the larger network as a matter of simple financial necessity.

Medical computers can address this by providing an access point for the legacy device. Legacy ports such as RS-232 serial ports allow you to connect the computer to the legacy device, which not only improves its functionality but can better integrate the information it delivers into the network’s larger database. Not only does that enhance the functionality of legacy devices, but it can cut down on the time required to log the data they provide: ensuring that the medical organization can maximize their utility for as long as possible.

 

Cybernet Manufacturing offers a variety of medical-grade PCs that can help you address the challenges of interoperability. Call on us today to discuss your options!

The Right Computer Can Reduce the Impact of a Food Recall

Product recalls are part and parcel of business, but they are of particular importance when it comes to food. Tainted food presents an active health risk in ways that other products don’t, and because most food is both perishable and vulnerable to toxins, a recall needs to be enacted swiftly and efficiently. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issues about 8,000 recalls on food products every year. Any company that works in the food industry needs to be prepared for that eventuality.

The right industrial computers can play a role in minimizing the impact of a food recall: ensuring that the affected product is identified and returned as swiftly as possible while minimizing the impact on other aspects of your business. Knowing what kind of features a given industrial PC should have in such circumstances – and acting on that information in anticipation of a recall instead of reacting after a recall has been ordered – can make a huge difference in how swiftly your business can recover.

Tracking and Identifying the Recalled Product

The U.S. government utilizes Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles to identify the affected food product and the source of the contamination. BIN numbers and lot numbers are a key part of this process: tracking specific parcels of food as they move from the farm to the grocery store.

Because it is the government standard, it is vital that a food manufacturer is able to present highly traceable data to minimize how much product is recalled. An industrial tablet with a barcode scanner can scan produce as it is picked from the field, assigning the date picked, the field the food came from and even the time of day the food began its journey from farm to table. RFID readers can track pallets from the warehouse to the shipping and receiving dock. And all of this data can be automatically logged into an ERP system. That level of traceability will ensure that any financial damage from a food recall is minimized.

Recording Your Process

Following a recall, the FDA conducts an audit covering all aspects of production in order to identify the cause of the recall and ensure that corrective measures have been taken. They also check to see if the cause of the recall might affect other food products, and if so, whether it should be extended to include those products. The audit will include a list of the different accounts to be audited, the details on your recall strategy, key personnel to be interviewed, and the specific methods by which the audit will be conducted. The more transparency your process has and the more reliable information you can provide the auditors, the faster the process will go and the more quickly you can move forward.

A digitally recorded process on your company’s computer network can help speed up those audits and get you back in business faster. That means copious records – dated to help establish a timeline – as well as details on the means by which the recall was undertaken. That can mean a great deal of data to sift through, as well as a consolidated record-keeping system and a means of monitoring all aspects of production. Information needs to be received from multiple sources – the course of the food, transportation, packaging facilities, and storage, among others – and yet be easily integrated and accessible with a minimum of fuss.

As a result, any industrial computer systems your operation uses should emphasize interoperability and shared data to better ensure comprehensive transparency. Enterprise resource planning software, or ERP, makes an excellent means of keeping all the needed information accessible. The software can integrate data across multiple locations, and provide superior analysis to mine actionable information from it. So instead of manually examining the data and looking for the pertinent components – a process that can waste hundreds of hours – you can use the ERP software to quickly pinpoint the key details that triggered the food recall and take appropriate action. For example, a recent case study from STIR Food used ERP software to conduct a number of mock food recalls. The software accounted for 100% of the affected product within 13 minutes of completing the task.

That, in turn, requires systems with high processing power in order to parse the data quickly. In addition, look for systems with multiple LAN connection ports that allow all of the computers in your network to interface quickly and easily on an intranet. Such efficiency can help resolve an FDA audit quickly and get your operation back up to speed.

Quality Control

Once the recall is completed, the ideal scenario is to prevent similar recalls from ever happening again. Studies show that automated processes that monitor all stages of production can spot potential problems and call for corrective measures before they become a crisis. The Internet of Things – sensor-enabled technology that can record information from any type of object – can play a huge role in this. The expansion of the IoT has increased by leaps and bounds in recent years. Business Insider projects that there will be 34 billion connected devices in the world by 2020.

The data generated by such a network can allow for automated processes at all stages of the food production chain, which in turn can aid your organization in anticipating and correcting problems before they result in a food recall. For example, IoT sensors in refrigeration trucks can monitor the temperature to ensure that it will keep any food properly chilled until it reaches its destination. Sensors can be used to monitor things like pH levels during food processing, sending alerts in the event of abnormal tests which might be the result of a contaminant in the manufacturing process.

Industrial panel PCs with human machine interface features (HMI) allow employees to receive alerts and swiftly move to halt production until a given issue can be fixed. Computer systems with such features allow the benefits of IoT to be applied more readily, and quality control to rise as a result.

 

Cybernet Manufacturing offers an array of business and industrial computers that can help expedite and prevent the impact of a food recall. Contact us today to hear more!