All posts by cybernet

RFID tablet medical tablet

RFID Tablet Technologies Solving Problems in the Hospital

A hospital is an unpredictable environment. One moment hallways are calm and clear; the next, staff are bustling to get a patient into the emergency room. Errors are not uncommon. Thankfully, technology has evolved over time to address a lot of the problems we’ve seen in the past arising from miniscule errors. RFID is one of the technologies incorporated into the daily use of hospital tech that has been exceptionally beneficial for many reasons. Here are some problems hospitals commonly face that can be solved using a medical tablet with RFID technology.

Asset Tracking Using an RFID Tablet

A recent news report detailed a VA hospital was missing over 1 million worth of hospital equipment over the course of several years due to various reasons—improper and erroneous tracking, theft, or misplacement. Clearly, the costs add up quickly over time. Radiology departments are no stranger to loss either. They’re usually inundated with lots of equipment, both large and small. It’s easy to misplace a lead marker for protection against high radiation levels because they’re such tiny devices. Just one lead marker costs approximately 20 dollars, and if they’re constantly misplaced the cost can add up quick.  Missing equipment, such as radiation markers, can be outfitted with RFID tags, and hospital staff can locate each tagged object using a medical tablet with RFID. It helps to prevent misplacement and theft. The technology pays for itself.

RFID Tablets Aren’t Just for Tracking Equipment

We understand that the hospital is one of the last places anyone wants to have an extended stay, and so some patients—especially the elderly and mentally unhealthy—may be inclined to wander or hide. There was a recent case in South Africa of a patient hiding in the ceiling of a hospital and staff wasn’t able to locate the patient for 13 days.  Some sources online cite over a hundred babies were abducted from nurseries between the 1960s and today. RFID tablet technology can track where people are moving via tagged wristbands so, in the unlikely but very real situation of missing people or abductions, they can be located. RFID tablets protect lives. Misplacing a 30 thousand dollar surgical drill is one asset loss, but it doesn’t hold a candle to missing people.

Equipment Status Can be Tracked Too

Online studies point to numerous cases where unsterilized or improperly sterilized instruments transferred infections to surgical patients. Hospital infections can easily transfer if an instrument isn’t sterilized improperly—or at all. Medical staff can use an RFID tablet to implement new processes of ensuring instruments used in surgery are free of infection. Even linens can be tracked. Before they’re secured onto a bed, sheets with laundry tags can be scanned using a medical tablet with RFID to check their sterilization status. Infections drop, patients are healthier.


RFID Equals Improved Data Security

RFID technology doesn’t simply have to be about tracking equipment and inventory. Patient records must be kept secure. More and more hospitals are switching to some form or two factor authentication to sign into medical computers and tablets. Imprivata SSO is the standard that most hospitals used, and an RFID tablet that is already Imprivata certified means that your patients medical records are safe from data theft. Even in the event of the physical theft of a tablet, it would be impossible to access EMR software without the RFID card necessary to login. This not only keeps your patient records safe, but also insulates a hospital from any potential lawsuits that might happen as the result of a data breach.

RFID goes beyond just saving a hospital money from replacing missing equipment—it protects the lives of the patients and medical staff in a myriad of ways. Ensure your hospital has the proper technology to track all inventory, assets, and patients. Contact us here today to see how you can drive down costs from unnecessary spending and costly accidents in your hospital.


Understanding the Move to Mobile and HIPAA

Five years after the Internet went live to an unsuspecting public – one that had no idea how much it would need cat videos, online shopping and binge-watching –  the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was born in 1996. Fast forward more than 20 years and we’ve seen the birth of the smartphone, tablet and smartwatch; the rise of social media; the emergence of cloud-based hosting and data storage; and now the Internet of Things (IoT).

Translation? Healthcare information exchange can occur – and must be protected – in more ways than those early HIPAA architects ever dreamed of. The following details what HIPAA does specify, where it’s lacking, and some of the technologies and solutions that can help you stay protected.

A Brief History of HIPAA

HIPAA established the first set of national guidelines for healthcare data maintenance and exchange. Over the next 10+ years, HIPAA expanded to include the enactment of the Privacy, Security and Enforcement rules, which set standards for personal health information (PHI) protection, disclosure, and access. These rules also outlined the compliance infrastructure that healthcare providers, health plans, and clearinghouses should have in place to protect data, monitor HIPAA adherence, and report breaches.

What HIPAA Has to Say About Mobile

HIPAA Journal provides an excellent summary of what HIPAA does and does not mandate when it comes to mobile devices. For instance, HIPAA requires multi-layered user-authentication controls for the access, storage, and transmission of electronic patient health information (ePHI). It further requires protections against data alteration and destruction through the implementation of monitoring controls. Here are a few specific focal areas and technologies for HIPAA compliance:

  • Data tracking – Consider digital watermarking
  • Information access – Certify all devices, block the transmission/download of ePHI where necessary and segregate work/personal data on individually owned devices
  • Password and public wi-fi security – Create policies that specify requirements and mandate VPN for remote access
  • App control – Limit usage to those with certified security controls and ensure security updates occur.
  • Device scanning and maintenance – Install anti-virus software, perform regular scans, and ensure automated security updates.
  • Data erasure – Implement technologies that allow for remote data deletion.

Text Me, Maybe

The healthcare industry is now using text marketing automation tools, social media, chatbots, and SMS marketing tools for everything from appointment reminders to wellness engagement. Opt-out functionality is a must. And while message encryption is critical, HIPAA does not technically require it for data at rest. For data in motion, however, the Security Rule advises encryption for the transmission of ePHI, particularly over SMS networks.

One thing that’s not allowed? Texting patient orders. In December 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) clarified that while providers may text patient information to one another, it must be via a secure platform and cannot include the texting of patient orders. Its position reinforces not only HIPAA but its own Conditions of Participation (CoPs) and Conditions for Coverage (CfCs) agreements.

Hey, You! Get on to My Cloud

HIPAA also allows cloud-based storage. The OCR issued guidance in 2016 outlining requirements for the cloud service providers (CSPs) that medical practices must inevitably turn to for secure system implementation. Google Drive is just one of those cloud-based options. HIPAA Journal reports that the company’s Business Associate Agreements (BAAs) address the HIPAA Security, Privacy, and Breach Notification Rules, allowing for the use of Google Drive and subcomponents such as Google Forms, which providers can use to gather and share information.

Left to Your Own Devices

There are four letters that might make anyone operating in the HIPAA spaces cringe: BYOD. It stands for Bring Your Own Device and marks a growing trend in some sectors for employees to use their own technology in the workplace. Adoption is currently higher in other countries than the U.S., but with personal mobile and the IoT entering healthcare in big ways, it’s time to at least start thinking about it. While HIPAA doesn’t speak specifically to these areas, the existing Security Rule is a good place to start and can help you create policies in such areas as:

  • Patient and guest data access
  • Network and software security
  • Email, web and medical device
  • Workflow and information logging

Compliance: Broader than HIPAA, More Important Than Ever

Because there is much that HIPAA doesn’t specify, any organization protecting healthcare data should be aware of what other agencies are advising, including:

  • Mobile security – The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE) issued 2015 guidance addressing standards for company-owned and BYOD mobile devices.
  • App development – The Office of Civil Rights (OCR), the agency responsible for HIPAA enforcement, has created a portal for app developers that addresses components of the Privacy and Security Rules, along with BAA guidance. Meanwhile, ACT | The App Association, has called on the OCR to get more specific as technology grows by leaps and bounds.
  • Connecting the dots – The OCR has mapped the HIPAA Security Rule and NIST Cybersecurity Frameworks, which it acknowledges is more granular when it comes to outlining administrative, physical, and technical safeguards.

As healthcare innovation continues to move at lightning speed, those in the industry will remain continually challenged by the dual needs to keep up with technology while protecting patient data. Advancements shouldn’t be limited by lagging regulations, which puts healthcare providers, executives and manufacturers in a position to drive compliant solutions where federally defined standards are lacking.

Laura Beerman is a writer for TechnologyAdvice. Her insights have appeared in RevCycleIntelligence, Becker’s, InformationWeek and other outlets. She has spoken nationally on population health, long-term care, and been interviewed by The Wall Street Journal for her accountable care predictions. She resides in Nashville with her Canadian husband and American kittens. You can find her on LinkedIn.


surgical monitor and medical computer system

3 Screen Technologies in Hospitals that Can Alleviate Problems

Not all screens are created equal, and that can be easily said for technology in a hospital. Screen tech should vary depending on the purpose the screen in question serves. Some monitors are used in surgical procedures, others are used heavily with EMR software, and some are even used by patients. If you don’t have the proper screen for your work in the hospital, it can affect staff workplace effectiveness and even patient satisfaction. If insufficient screen technology is a pain point for your medical facility, we’ve got the lowdown on what kind of hardware is best for what hospital positions.

Surgeons Need a Surgical Monitor

Medical error is found to be the third leading cause of death in the US; that statistic translates to about 250 thousand deaths annually according to Johns Hopkins. This statistic doesn’t delve into the specific reasons why an error occurs outside of human nature, but the best approach we can have is assuming this prevalent problem can be mitigated from all angles. One of the methods we can employ to safeguard against medical error is ensuring the proper technology is applied to the right medical procedure. Surgery, for example. Surgeons need excellent vision. If a surgeon begins an invasive procedure like an endoscopy, it’s important they’re able to see the imagery they’re receiving from the surgical camera clearly. Surgeons require technology beyond what’s available in stores that gives them instant feedback from their surgical cameras with high-quality imagery.

An all-in-one computer with a surgical monitor can reveal minute details of a patient’s condition for the most accurate diagnoses. The combined higher resolution, stronger brightness measurements, and unmatched clarity give medical practitioners the edge in identifying illnesses and hard-to-see symptoms so signs of a disease are clearer to see. Surgical monitors on all-in-one computers are key to proper diagnoses and effective operations. What you might find in a store doesn’t compare to the technical advantage you’ll find with a surgical monitor. With this technology, we can reduce medical error and misdiagnosis.

PCAP Technology on an All-in-One Computer

EMR software has grown in complexity since its inception. It’s also become more user-friendly by incorporating touch-screens and large interfaces to navigate the functions embedded within the software. However, the wrong touch screen technology can be a little for end users. Some touch screens lack clarity and features for medical professionals to use, so it’s best to employ what’s called projected capacitive technology.

A medical computer system using a projected capacitive (PCAP) touch screen is ideal for common use in a hospital because of the clearer display. It’s easier on the eyes because of the built-in technology and is more responsive than older touch screen tech. It allows for multiple-touch input so medical staff can fully manipulate imagery by zooming and rotating. This kind of technology is also more durable so it lasts longer than other touch screens.

Making Patient Engagement Computers More User Friendly

Sometimes using a mouse and keyboard isn’t feasible in specific computer stations behind hospital doors. A regular computer isn’t user-friendly with a keyboard and mouse since they’re cumbersome to control in patient rooms. Ever tried using a mouse and keyboard while laying down? It’s awkward. Patients don’t always have the strength or ability to sit up and use a computer, nor is there always a place to store a keyboard and mouse.

That’s why it’s ideal for any patient engagement computer to have a touchscreen. It’s a cost-effective solution for the patient bedside, and it’s easy for both medical practitioners and patients to control the computer. Medical practitioners can still use medical gloves for input, allowing them to use the computer to do charting or check patient test results. They can even share images like x-ray results with patients bedside. For the patient, a touchscreen allows them the freedom to navigate the internet, make video calls to family or turn on a movie.


By using the proper screen technology—whether it’s on a medical computer system with a surgical monitor or a patient engagement computer—we can reduce the frequency of medical error, misdiagnosis, and discomfort for all parties in the hospital. We still have a long journey ahead of us to see these problems reduced to almost zero frequency, but by understanding the primary ways to address these problems through better technology, we’ve got a promising start. Contact us today to see how you can start reducing medical errors so your hospital or clinic improves.


medical tablet and military grade tablet

3 Ways Mobile Technology Can Help People in Emergencies

Hurricane Sandy was one of the most destructive storms to hit the United States in the past decade. It’s listed as the fourth most costly storm in terms of property damage for the US and is reported to have caused at least 147 deaths. The death toll for every natural disaster is thankfully smaller than the potential count because of excellent emergency response teams. Natural disasters are more challenging events for first responders because they require thorough preparation and risky travel—sometimes directly in the middle of disaster zones. It’s not just skill, speed, and expertise in the mind of a paramedic to save lives, it’s the technology they use too. With the right kind of equipment, first responders can help the lives of those stranded during disastrous emergencies and keep lives afflicted as low as possible.

Medical Tablet Communication Without WiFi

Communication during medical emergencies in afflicted locations must remain constant for first responders and emergency medical teams. A first responder team will rely heavily on radio communication, but it takes more sophisticated technology to inform a hospital’s ICU that they’ve found a patient amongst the debris of a damaging storm.

First responders can use a medical tablet with 4G wireless technology to take photos, relay vital signs, provide patient information, and give an approximate patient arrival time, then send off the information to a nearby hospital so in-house emergency staff can scramble to prep before the patient arrives. The same medical tablet can be used in-house to track the patient’s progress to full rehabilitation. One tool to do multiple jobs—one based in the field, another based in the hospital.

Delivering Assistance to the Hungry and Homeless

Hurricane Harvey, another more recent storm, is listed as one of the most devastating natural disasters for the US. Several thousand people were rescued from the damaging winds and heavy rainfall. Nearly 50 thousand homes were affected, leaving many people without shelter. FEMA supplied 3 million meals, several thousand blankets, and thousands of hygiene kits for survivors. With such a hefty delivery to disaster areas, how are they able to keep track of such a high count of supplies, and how can they ensure every individual is served and protected?

Such a massive inventory distribution requires sophisticated tracking to ensure all meals—and all survivors—are accounted for. By using a military grade tablet, inventory from emergency supply warehouses to afflicted disaster sites can be scanned, tracked, and then marked as delivered once the meals are on-site. Discrepancies can be located easily on each disaster site as meals are scanned upon delivery into someone’s hands. Plus, the military grade tablets can be used to connect the disabled and hard-of-hearing to sign language interpreters—something that FEMA listed on their site as recent as 2013.

Military Grade Tablets are Best in Disaster Zones

In the aftermath of a hurricane, earthquake, tornado or any other natural disaster, emergency responders can’t rely on flimsy hardware to do their jobs. The tablet market is littered with underpowered, easily breakable tablets with poor viewing angles and speaker holes that are common failure points. Air quality is bad, dust and debris are often swirling, standing water is everywhere and access to survivors in need of attention can often mean crossing rugged and rocky terrain. We’ve heard of stories where water seeps into the crevices of tablets and gets under the screen, damaging the internal components and blurring the resolution. We’re sure paramedics have dropped equipment in the past, too; you can often see the result of a dropped touchscreen device in the hands of someone unlucky. A paramedic shouldn’t need to decipher what’s on a tablet screen through a series of deep cracks in the glass.

Drops and ingress are bound to happen in disaster areas. That’s why emergency responders need military grade tablets that can resist drops, accidental damage, and water ingress; the proper type of tablet has an ingress rating of IP65 to resist direct water sprays, splashes, and to ensure dirt and dust don’t seep into the tablet innards. Settling for anything less in an emergency can cost time—and more.


If you’re searching for the best tablet for emergency situations, don’t settle for models on the consumer market; the right tablet for the job can withstand the perils of emergency disaster zones and help those afflicted like none other. Features such as 4G wireless connectivity, barcode scanners, and ingress protection ensure the tablet has full capability so you can get the job done. Contact us today to find out more.

industrial tablets and medical tablets

Understanding Tablet Battery Life: Not All Solutions are Created Equally

Mobility in the workplace is crucial to boosting productivity. Ask any construction worker or physician using a tablet how their operations have improved and they’ll easily give a laundry list of benefits—time is money in the workplace, and saving one saves the other. However, changing to a mobile workstation can also present a new set of problems that can be pain points for professionals on the go. Battery life is probably one of the most common complaints with any mobile device, whether that be for personal or commercial use. But simply choosing a commercial grade tablet that boasts the longest battery life can end up causing a host of new problems that end up costing you more in the long run. A recent report by VDC Research shows that 18 percent of consumer-grade tablets fail every year when used in the workplace—that’s just one metric a business faces when insufficient tablets are used on the job. Here are a few more pain points to consider.

Understanding your Processing Needs

Scour the market to locate the best rugged tablet and you’ll find a vast majority use low-powered, compact processors. They’re great for running a quick app to check sports scores and what new 5-star restaurants are in the area, but those processors aren’t built for running sophisticated business software meant to track metrics, project progress, or other important business-related numbers. The wrong tablet in the hands of a professional can be frustrating—unresponsive applications, hefty load times, the works. We hate loading bars just as much as you do.

Address that problem early. Find a rugged tablet with an i5 or i7 processor. Your complex software will operate a lot faster than any tablet with the consumer-grade processor. While a more powerful processor can drain a battery faster, hot swap technology means you can just swap depleted batteries for charged ones without having to turn off the unit. Plus, any future upgrades to your software won’t mean you’ll need a new tablet upgrade for at least a few years.

Your Environment Impacts Readability

If you’ve held a mobile device recently (and you likely have), you probably recall squinting or moving to shadowy areas just to properly read what’s on the screen. We’re sure some professionals in the past have shielded the sun or find a darker area of their working environment—a heavy annoyance if you’re working on a construction site during mid-day or you manage a mobile medical unit trying to process patients. The reason for this is that a lot of commercial grade tablets choose to sacrifice screen resolution and brightness to preserve battery life.

The best rugged tablets have a high resolution of 1920 x 1200 and a “nits” emittance of 400 brightness—one of the highest brighest ratings for tablets available today. Brighter screens and higher resolutions are much easier on the eyes. You’ll likely experience fewer headaches and fewer frustrations.

Commercial Tablets Can Get Bulky, Quickly

If a physician is using a medical tablet, they’re a step ahead in maximum efficiency. Same can be said of a warehouse worker using an industrial tablet. However, their evolving task lists might require the use of different peripherals like barcode scanners, RFID readers, biometric security devices, and other equipment to do their job efficiently. External peripherals like an RFID scanner can increase the bulk of a medical tablet. Commercial grade tablets have limited ports, which in and of itself can make it difficult to connect peripherals like barcode and RFID scanners. And if you do manage to connect all of your devices, the tablet itself becomes bulky, and you know have two or three extra devices that you have to purchase and properly maintain.

Skip the tool belt approach by finding a tablet that has all the peripherals included in the design! All three components can be wrapped into the design for a rugged tablet so you don’t need to carry around devices to plug in or store away, risking time drain or possible peripheral loss. Not to mention that plugging in external devices to a tablet is going to contribute to battery drain anyway.

Solving the Battery Issue Without Sacrificing Functionality

After working ten hours with two hours to go on an exhausting shift, flashing battery lights and notifications that your tablet needs an immediate recharge are not welcome. Work has to be postponed to restore the tablet to a full charge. We’re sure there are cases where the internal battery for an industrial tablet malfunctions, the power shuts off, work is lost, and the battery is sealed inside, impossible to remove without voiding the warranty or cracking open components. If the tablet is out of warranty (or voided), it’s usually a costly repair. Once more, time and money are lost and your business suffers.

Resolve that potential roadblock by using a tablet with swappable batteries. There’s virtually no downtime when there’s an extra set of charging batteries that can replace one at the first sign of battery drain. Extra batteries can be charged at a central location and be quickly swapped out for a drained battery in seconds without having to power off the unit. This eliminates both downtime and the need to worry about battery life completely. In theory, a tablet with hot swap batteries can run 24/7 so long as you keep the extra batteries charged and ready.

The bottom line is time and money are at risk if you only consider one thing when purchasing a tablet for your business. Think about what the needs of your business are and what the potential pitfalls might be if you settle on a budget tablet. Cybernet features both a medical grade and an industrial grade tablet that are ruggedized and have a robust component integration, powerful internal processors that beat out consumer choices, swappable batteries to increase uptime, and high-resolution screens with above average brightness. Contact us to learn how we can customize our solutions to meet your unique needs.



industrial mini PC in automated warehouse

Automating Production with Industrial PCs

The idea of “build the machine, build the empire” has been a concept since the dawn of the industrial revolution in the 18th century. Machines are largely the force behind manufacturing today for mass produced goods. Once the machine is built, the time saved in altering a manual process to automated is staggering. With the advent of automation, suddenly work time is reduced significantly and leisure time increases. Because of the industrial revolution and the process of manufacturing, a new standard of living arose for people in the manufacturing business.

We’re pretty far beyond the initial growth of the industrial revolution, but some of the concepts founded during that time period still stand. Now, the high-concept of a fully-automated manufacturing plant is attainable because of advanced AI and use of the industrial mini PC. Once the machine—the mega monolithic manufacturing plant—is built, maintaining a high productivity rate is key.

The Problems of Manual Processes and Addressing them with Industrial Mini PCs

To err is human. That’s just nature. It’s reported online that the financial cost of a manually-driven forklift accident totals about 38 thousand dollars—and that’s just for the forklift itself, not including any lost productivity while the forklift is being repaired or a worker is recovering from injury. While not every company can afford self driving forklifts, inefficiency can be tracked in even the most mundane of manual processes. These problems prompt the need to control warehouse operations by an industrial computer. The more manual processes a manufacturing plant has, the more room there is for fatigue to set in and human error to cause issues with productivity and quality. We aren’t at a place technologically where someone can just flip a switch at the beginning of the day and expect machines to run themselves until its time to go home for the evening. One thing we can do is to use human machine interface, or HMI computers, that provide a bridge between manual processes and automation. The HMI computer allows a person to monitor and make adjustments to a machine’s output while the software operates the machine itself.

Safety in the Workplace and Workers’ Compensation

Industrial mini PCs are able to take over processes that are not only time intensive but ultimately dangerous for humans to be involved with. Injury on the job spells disaster for the individual and the business. The factory floor can be a dangerous place, which is why not just anyone is qualified to work in a manufacturing setting. Automating processes that minimize direct interaction with heavy machinery with an HMI computer or industrial PC saves money and mitigates against injury, loss of productivity and costly worker’s compensation claims. Not only that, but proper industrial computers have terminal blocks that can be remote-controlled to avoid problems of accessing the computer if it’s located near hazardous materials—dust, excessive paint spray, welding machines, high temperatures, the whole gamut. By streamlining common warehouse and manufacturing plant efforts, there’s typically a reduction in injuries—thus fewer workers’ comp claims and higher productivity with lower staff absence.

Applications Beyond Computing

Automated factories can also employ industrial computers to keep an eye on factory operations. One computer can be used to control a series of checks and balances or a monitoring system to see when and where production might hit bottlenecks. Computers can schedule the most efficient production plans, decreasing lead times and improving customer satisfaction. An industrial PC can even monitor maintenance needs, meaning you can identify potential machinery breakdowns before they happen, limiting costly repairs and maintaining consistent production levels. In the event of an unexpected breakdown on the factory line, the plant can be stopped immediately minimizing damage and allowing for repairs to take place faster. Fewer labor costs, quicker problem identification, and a smoother automated warehouse. Problems solved.

Remaining Results of an Automated Warehouse

Companies have been reducing costs via employing robots to automate their manufacturing efforts. The numbers don’t lie! Another result of the automated plant is that customers are more satisfied with the manufactured products. As before, build the machine, build the empire—you’ll just need a method to control it. Would you rather have a machine equipped with laser devices being controlled by an industrial computer painting a product, or someone hand-painting the product? Automating your warehouse means a higher standard of quality to each individual product. The benefits are clear; less time, less money spent, and higher satisfaction on the customers’ end with unmatched results. To see how industrial mini PCs can help eliminate manual processes for your company you can contact us here.


Computer on wheels or medical computer

Mishaps in Hospitals from Inadequate Hardware Problems

Technology is great. We can stick to 8 hour work days while increasing productivity and then go home to families or plan out our next self-driven project. Granted that’s what technology is supposed to help us do, but sometimes bumps in the road of problem A to solution B can be tech-central. Technology can fail, unfortunately. Thankfully, the time invested to restore tech to working order is a sacrifice hospitals are willing to accept to bring better and less erroneous healthcare to patients. However, when older and inadequate tech is more of a burden, it’s time to consider scrapping what used to work ten years ago with something that can reduce tech-related stress and hangups that drain more time than necessary to get the job done.

Spotty WiFi with Computers on Wheels

It’s a constant problem for the 21st century in hospitals everywhere—spotty wireless communications in every corner of the hospital building. Call up a nurse’s desk to ask what issues they’re facing with technology and inconsistent WiFi will be mentioned. Chalk it up to weakened signals from aging hardware and insufficient components. It’s not feasible to remove that problem for good, but it’s possible to pinpoint key factors in technology—mostly residing in a hospital’s medical computers—that can be improved so WiFi isn’t a problem of which patient room you’re in or where you’re standing. Here’s WiFi woes and ways to restore the fidelity in the “Fi.”

Take a hypothetical case—a nurse using a cloud-based EMR system on a cheap laptop finds that in patient room 105 the WiFi doesn’t kick in, and so entering information relies on memory, written notes, or a silly, cumbersome workaround. That’s not ideal for a hospital, especially when “zero” can be a dangerous entry for a patient refill or a different metric. If the IT department has ensured that the wireless infrastructure is the highest standard on the market, then the culprit lies within the laptop. The wireless card inside of the machine doesn’t communicate well with the wireless routers in the hospital.

If that’s the reason for the signal drop, it’s time for IT to consider upgrading their computing efforts to medical computers with Intel-certified wireless cards instead of laptops that power cheap alternatives. An Intel dual-band wireless AC card is the current standard for wireless technology in a hospital. Not only more secure, these cards have the know-how to switch between wireless routers on the fly without signal loss. Computers on wheels are often pushed through several hospital wings and floors, jumping from one wireless router to the next. Intel wireless cards are secure and stable enough to swap from router to router seamlessly. It’s a hardware standard that computers on wheels and medical devices need to operate optimally. Besides, less stress on the end-user is always a positive thing.

Hospitals Don’t Shut Down—Neither Should the Hardware

Twenty thousand hours. That’s how long a standard hard drive disk lasts per average metrics and regular use. It may seem like a lot, but that’s just over two years if you do the math. Medical computers operate at near 24/7 runtimes. If there’s a hard drive failure in two years, that’s not a very strong lifespan for a computer to store data. The last mishap a nurse or physician wants is for the digital rug to be pulled out beneath them with a hard drive failure while they’re busy entering patient data into a medical computer. The drive can’t be sent off to data rescue because it would violate HIPAA laws. So, what to do?

Thankfully, technology has improved hard disk storage so there aren’t moving parts to break—solid state drives have a longer lifespan than regular platter hard drives, but that doesn’t rule the smarter tech out of defect or an eventual kaput. A medical grade computer with a military-grade solid state hard drive will push that two-year average life cycle to beyond five years. If the looming storage failure is still a concern for staff—which can happen at any given moment—then a backup drive coupled with the original solid state can serve as a proper safety net. IT can clone the surviving drive and restore the medical computer to optimal working status. Besides, a computer cycle for a hospital should be five years to stay with EMR software development. Having a hard drive that’s graded to last beyond a purchase cycle is ideal.

Shoddy Medical Computer Touch Screens

Touch screens are breeding grounds for germs and bacteria. Introduce the dirt and grease from five separate individuals’ hands onto a touch-screen interface and an infection may reside somewhere in the fingerprint jungle. They’re not always the easiest to clean either—spray disinfectant directly on a medical monitor and the internal components could suffer from adverse effects from the disinfectant (broken pixels, unresponsive touch controls, or an immediate transformation into a paperweight) running into the crevices of the monitor. Some insufficient touch screen tech needs constant calibration to ensure what’s touched is the intended function. Pressing “Close” should never result in “Administer Medicine”—we shudder at that thought. But there’s still tech problems galore in working with touch screens that don’t measure up to what hospitals need.

The kind of tech needed in a hospital is what’s called 5-Wire Resistive technology. Avoiding too much tech-talk, it’s a more durable technology than capacitive because it holds up to scratches and cosmetic imperfections, it’s easier to work with since it doesn’t require skin contact, it’s cheaper to manufacture, and it lasts longer than the newer capacitive technology. Couple these features on a medical computer and bye-bye tech problems.

It isn’t intuitive to think of hard drives, touch screen technology or wireless cards when you’re talking about patient care. But in today’s HIT world, technology is one of the driving factors in providing the absolute best user experience for healthcare practitioners so they can focus on taking care of patients. For more information on how a computer designed specifically with healthcare in mind is different than a commercial grade computer you can contact us today to learn more about our medical computers.

blockchain ledger

Healthcare IT and the Impact of the Blockchain Ledger

Cryptocurrencies have been trending in the news lately because of their volatile market price, security, and popularity. Investors and money moguls alike have dumped “real” money into the cryptocurrency market, turning fiction into fortune with an intangible concept of data that holds wealth in today’s world. Believe it or not, the blockchain ledger—the decentralized network of recorded transactions for bitcoin—can actually have an application towards the HIT market. It may sound strange to apply a cryptocurrency concept to something as far related as HIT, but going into the detail of what the blockchain ledger represents and how that can apply to healthcare isn’t as far-fetched as some might initially think. Here’s why.

A bit of background: the blockchain ledger is a decentralized database that records several encrypted transactions. These transactions reside on a peer-to-peer network, sharing all data between all computers—it presents a huge advantage over a centralized database network. If the central database in a network were to fail, all the data within that network would be lost. The peer-to-peer network of transactions is a stronger data integrity model because any computer failure on the network doesn’t affect the overall integrity of the data—all “nodes” of the network serve as a full record of the blockchain ledger, making data loss or corruption nearly impossible. All nodes have neutral authority. The popularity of cryptocurrencies has skyrocketed because of how highly secure these blockchain ledgers are. It’s a data interchange concept that arose out of the 2008 stock market crash when individuals lost faith in banks that used a financial system functioning similar to a centralized database network.

So how does that fit in to healthcare? Think of the blockchain ledger as an entire ongoing record of everyone’s healthcare records, and any device that records a metric for healthcare—total mileage ran, for instance—can be considered a transaction on that blockchain that cannot be altered. A visit to the doctor could record a person’s age, weight, lifestyle habits, hereditary complications, diet, and other health factors, and then record that into the blockchain as a permanent “transaction.” It may be possible to record all health-related information from a person’s birth to any given moment in time. A physician could access the HIT blockchain and compare a patient’s entire health record with that of thousands of other patients that fit their near-exact health and lifestyle record. Misdiagnosis and improper medication could virtually disappear.

It’s not only a matter of reducing misdiagnosis or improper medication either—physicians are sometimes without the complete picture of when treating a patient. They’re only able to evaluate a patient’s health via what they can sample. For example, through phlebotomy a physician finds that a patient has a huge vitamin C deficiency and symptoms align with scurvy—the patient is diagnosed with scurvy and given vitamin C supplements. That can be recorded as a blockchain transaction and be used for further diagnosis in the future from any other physician. Every future visit to the doctor for an evaluation can improve by giving the physician a more complete snapshot of a person’s health. Patients won’t require as many evaluations. Plus, the future of healthcare may evolve into the ability to predict disease based on evaluating comprehensive trends in health. Imagine predicting cancer in people 60 years ahead and tailoring entire lifestyle habits for future at-risk cancer patients to avoid the disease. Not only that, but imagine if there’s a patient with a disease that doesn’t match with similar patient records. Perhaps this unmatched disease is something new that requires research, learning, development into new medication, and higher healthcare standards.

HIPAA and The Blockchain Ledger Data

One of the double-edged swords of the blockchain is that it’s being used as a way to remain anonymous when trading cryptocurrencies. That’s why it’s attracted the interest of hackers and malicious individuals. In 2016, a Los Angeles hospital was the target of a complete system hijack from a hacker that demanded 17 thousand dollars in bitcoin. Several of these sudden system hijacks have happened where the culprits demanded ransom in bitcoin because of the nature of bitcoin—it’s not entirely anonymous, but by joining the bitcoin blockchain you can falsify information about yourself and “cover your tracks.”

However, if a blockchain ledger were to arise for healthcare IT, it would have to remain private and under HIPAA regulation. All “transactions” under the HIT blockchain would have to remain anonymous until a patient gives consent to a doctor to view their entire set of records. With a system of data interchange that gives patients the power to allow doctors they consult to view their records, it may be a revolutionizing method of keeping HIPAA violations at bay. At face value it seems like the best technology for healthcare, but there are a lot of potential hurdles and hangups. If a patient requests their healthcare records, how do they access them? If the HIT blockchain is the main method of keeping a comprehensive health record, how will businesses interact with that? Will that kind of information stay neutral to all parties accessing it? With the rise of an HIT blockchain, suddenly we’re stuffing a highly sensitive form of data that must be carefully handled onto a new network of data interchange. If there’s a method of avoiding the privacy regulations for blockchain integration, that would be ideal. It’s a matter of finding out what that method is. For now, a slow evolution into storing medical data onto the blockchain ledger is ideal, but there’s a jungle of rules and red tape to cut through.

Interoperability Revolution

Likely one of the strongest aspects of using the HIT blockchain is interoperability, which is still a sought-after capability when using certain EHR systems. It’s natural for EHR companies to snuff interoperability with other EHR systems in order to sell more product, but sometimes hospitals are at the whim of using the systems they’re stuck with and poor interoperability forces workarounds. That won’t be a problem with the blockchain. Complete and total interoperability is predicted to save HIT several billions of dollars with use of the Electronic Health Chain (EHC), a patient-controlled form of healthcare information that resides on the blockchain. All data gathered through any device that can integrate with the blockchain—whether it be from a pedometer, blood pressure cuff, diabetic testing machines, sleep habit readers, or any possible device that can provide data—can be incorporated within the EHC. This suggests that no matter what physician you see, they have a complete, unbroken record of a patient’s healthcare from the start of recording—perhaps from birth!—to the last transaction recorded, without squabble over conflicting software that won’t communicate.

Healthcare Future with the Blockchain

Medication development often hinges on clinical trial studies that can take several years to complete. Pharmaceutical companies rely on doctors to identify patients that fit specific profiles to contact and ask for a clinical trial study to see how a medication may affect them (hopefully in a positive way). Using the blockchain ledger, the process of a clinical trial can be reversed—patients can willingly sign up for a clinical trial and release their EHC to pharmaceutical companies, reducing research and development time significantly. Instead of pharmaceutical companies finding willing patients to undergo studies, the patients can give access of their entire medical history in the blockchain. The efforts to find a strong sample size for the study may be reduced.


By evaluating someone’s entire history of health, hereditary impacts, lifestyle choices, diet, and maybe even their genetic predispositions, physicians can reduce improper diagnoses, find new medical conditions, develop new medications, and understand more about healthcare in the future. Integrating the Internet of Things, the EHC, and total interoperability into the blockchain can push understanding of healthcare to heights never seen before. There are obvious hurdles to full integration and we won’t see full blockchain integration into healthcare at the flip of a switch, but it’s interesting to see where we could possibly take healthcare with this newfound form of data interchange. A current project in the works is called MedRec, a prototype blockchain EHR system that gives patients access to their entire healthcare history for purposes of diagnosis and research. That’s just one prototype coming out of the woodwork lately. The percentage of HIT executives integrating the blockchain into EHR systems has grown since inception, and several new networks have spawned with their own unique structures, paving the way to what might be a complete healthcare information overhaul.

military grade computers in automotive industry

Military Grade Computers and Their Role in the Automotive Industry

The automotive industry constantly adapts with new methods of manufacturing as technology improves. Using this new technology requires the use of hazardous equipment, such as furnaces and welding robots, in order to successfully manufacture an automotive body frame. The intent is to drive cost down and automate all processes possible, but that isn’t always the easiest task. It requires the right kind of computer—an industrial computer—to automate a process while remaining sturdy enough to last a long time. Here are a few ways the industrial computer plays a role in how automotive factories have altered methods of construction for the better.

Heating Processes and their Affect on Military Grade Computers

One of the more common practices in automotive build is a process called “hot stamping.” It’s a technology developed in the 1970s requiring a shaft of steel to be heated at its austenitization (hardening) point. That temperature is generally around 900 degrees Celsius. No doubt the furnace that generates this heat is somehow insulated, but a temperature like that will undoubtedly affect all metals and tolerances in an automotive factory—including metals inside of a computer. The continual heating/cooling process over time can easily take a toll on any device (especially when it relates to an automotive setting), and so naturally you’ll want something resilient against temperature changes.

The best way to avoid this constant temperature warping is to trust in a military grade computer able to withstand temperature changes. Controlled furnaces are just one device able to affect the heat dispersion in an automotive warehouse, so a computer that can function around welding, heating metals, and extremely hot temperatures is ideal.

Automotive Industry Painting Procedures

Military grade computers aren’t just built to withstand high temperatures. Typical factories have time-intensive painting processes for an entire auto body that can easily take 14 hours to complete for a single body. The painting process runs through several sub-processes that wash, bake, sand, treat, clean, coat, dry, and wax the auto body. A computer with open air vents nearby wouldn’t last a week in any of those environments!

That’s why military grade computers are sealed and fanless. Ingress of any kind—whether dust, paint, soot, tiny metal shards, whatever the foreign item—can sentence the shelf-life of a computer to much shorter than it’s typical life expectancy. It’s important to get the proper computer with the proper enclosure to work around these environments, or else the automated assembly line won’t be automated until a new computer is in place.

Military Grade Computers and the Terminal Block Feature

Seeing how a car is made is the best way to learn how a car operates. Fortunately for us, a lot of dangerous processes and heat-intensive mechanics are behind glass walls where automated assembly is completed by robots. However, in order to control these metal behemoths a computer must be in close proximity—away from the people operating them. That’s why some of the industrial computer models feature terminal blocks for remote power and access. Standing behind a protective barrier, a factory worker could flip a switch and start up a military grade computer with the terminal block feature, engaging the automated assembly line without needing to risk life or limb around several robots.

DIN Mountable Computers

With the presence of potentially hundreds of electrical devices manipulating car parts, welding, spraying, cutting, heating metal, and maneuvering independently, electrical configuration must be incredibly complex. One loose ground can spell a power disaster, so it’s important all components—including the industrial computer—are grounded properly in addition to all electronic components running the factory. Installing an industrial computer on a DIN rail is a proper method to ensure the computer is grounded properly. It saves space too. A military grade computer isn’t designed to just sit on a shelf—ensure that it’s in the right place for safety and longevity.


Extreme heat resilience, enclosed environments, operation close to manufacturing, and proper electrical handling are important requirements for a military grade computer.  Choosing less expensive computers that can’t stand up to harsh environments like what you’d find in an automotive factory bring on hidden costs like repairs and replacement computers. Make sure your automated processes stay automated by selecting a military grade computer able to operate an automotive factory. Contact us for more information.


Advantages of Powered and Non-Powered Medical Carts

Any hospital or clinic will have a range of technology products to assist in patient care. Sometimes a hospital’s budget restraints can’t afford the latest in technology, so they opt for more financially viable solutions. Other times the needs of a medical staff might outweigh the potential high costs for equipment, so purchasing decisions might anchor to more sophisticated, familiar technology. The same is true for medical carts. When browsing for medical cart options, it’s important to note the positive aspects for each powered and non-powered medical cart. Here’s a look at both options in detail. We hope this serves as a guide to make a decision as to what’s right for your hospital and staff.

Advantages of Non-Powered Medical Carts

A non-powered cart meant for use as a workstation on wheels is going to be substantially cheaper than it’s powered counterpart. Battery-less carts with wheels and a few functioning devices (key lockable drawers, VESA mounts, etc.) can range in price depending on the quality of the build and the brand, but ballpark figures usually run under two thousand dollars for a strong solution. Hospitals and clinics looking to buy in bulk will definitely save in the long run when choosing a non-powered medical cart. Plus, since they have fewer components and no internal batteries, they weigh much less—reducing overall fatigue when a nurse pushes a cart around for several hours. They’re more maneuverable, have slimmer profiles, use fewer cables, receive power from the all-in-one computer installed on it, and there’s no bulky batteries—which, per the FDA, have been known to catch fire recently. They’re safer options because there’s no involving of electricity, no risk of abusing battery power, and can fit in tighter spaces. Typically, medical computers with hot swappable batteries are ideal on top of non-powered carts so you can navigate hospital hallways without worrying about wires, where they’re connected, and how long the battery life will last—especially if the mounted computer upon it has triple hot swappable batteries. A non-powered cart doesn’t need to be plugged in for a recharge. Instead, if the computer installed on it has swappable batteries, set the drained batteries aside to charge and install a freshly-charged set—they’re more stable than the battery technology in powered carts. Lastly, fewer components and functioning devices mean easier troubleshooting if a problem ever arises, meaning fewer IT requests.

Advantages of Powered Medical Carts

Powered carts have increased functionality with electronic locking drawers, built-in medication dispensers, the ability to power peripherals like barcode scanners or printers, powered height adjustment, LEDs that illuminate the keyboard and cart path, control interfaces, and other components that are better solutions for hospitals that want more mobile functionality.  Plenty of powered carts use different “modes” of operation to facilitate their intended use—”pharmacy” mode for instance on some keep all drawers unlocked so medications are easier to retrieve as someone makes their rounds to distribute to patients. Several carts have motor-powered height adjustment controls that can raise or lower the cart just by holding a button. You can select from a wider range of medical grade computers with a powered cart since a majority of the marketed computers don’t have hot swappable batteries—a necessary feature for non-powered carts. A powered cart is a more expensive option, but the functionality from the powered cart alone makes up for the difference in price.

Whichever type of cart is more fitting for your budget or hospital needs, ensure what is mounted to the cart is also sufficient for your rounds and patients. A medical cart without a proper medical grade computer could pose a potential risk when used near patients. For non-powered workstations, a medical all-in-one with hot swap batteries can help save some money while still giving you the functionality for bedside charting and other tasks. For powered carts, any medical grade computer could suffice, provided that computer meets the other requirements for use.  Neither choice is right or wrong. It just depends on the unique needs of your particular project. For more information, feel free to contact us.