All posts by cybernet

fanless medical computer and medical grade all in one computer

3 Ways to Automate Tedious Paper Processes in Hospitals

Nurses and doctors often voice the desire to go paperless. A recent report from International Data Corporation shows that about 40 percent of healthcare institutions have implemented paper reduction processes to operate a little greener. Although these efforts have improved a hospital’s environmental footprint, the costs of paper, ink, and daily printing are still skyrocketing. Who would have thought behind all the sophisticated medical procedures that paper processes are still expensive? Well, we’re here to provide some methods of solving perpetual paper problems that hospitals face consistently. The answers lie in technology.

Anesthesiology Enhanced with a Fanless Medical Computer

An anesthesia record is simply an account of drugs administered, procedures followed, and patient responses. Documenting it requires frequent sampling of data to ensure the patient is subdued during surgery. We’re sure millions of anesthesia administrations happen annually—one anesthesia paper record for every administration can add up over time. Plus, If you’ve ever seen an anesthesiology record for a patient, it’s almost like reading a difficult foreign language backwards. We trust in an anesthesiologist to read their own handwriting—as the rest of us may not be able to—but when transcribing it from the page to the screen as the common practice is today, that’s never a perfect two-step process. It’s basically doing double work, recording the results on paper and then entering that into the computer. Not only that, but the monitoring process is time-intensive and takes too much attention away from the patient. Wouldn’t it be nice to just track anesthesia with a computer directly? Ah, but there’s one problem. Regular computers aren’t allowed in an operating room during anesthesiology administration for surgery. That requires a dust-free environment to protect the patient, so an EMR system with fans wouldn’t do—unless you’re using a fanless medical computer.

The dual advantage of these computers is they protect the patient and they also streamline data sampling during anesthesiology administration, removing the paper process altogether. We’ve heard of use cases how some anesthesiologists were highly relieved that the process for data sampling was instant and didn’t need transcription—their computer did all the work and it saved them time. Not only does this save time, but it also allows the anesthesiologist to focus more on the patient, rather than on data entry. Suddenly, the tedious and error-prone process of paper data sampling turns into a process handled solely by the anesthesiology application. Imagine a stack of paper one million sheets high, one for every anesthesia operation done annually in a hospital and suddenly the savings are clear. 

Interoperability Still a Concern

Three surveys released in 2015 performed by researchers from the Office of the National Coordinator point to improved interoperability among hospital data systems. However, transmitting records from one EHR system to another was the least “improved-upon” function—clearly, efforts in improving interoperability have been made, but there’s still room to grow. So naturally, nurses and physicians resort to printing out records. Consider that printing out records consistently could lead to a drain on time and money—we shudder at how much ink still costs today. But the fact remains that there are still paper-heavy processes because of systems that don’t play nice with each other.

Large EMR systems, like Epic or Cerner, eliminate interoperability issues by bringing multiple applications and processes under one software. But in order for these complex software systems to work properly, you need a medical grade all in one computer that is compliant with their requirements. The high interoperability features of these software packages generally operate seamlessly, but it takes a computer powerful enough to run them. It’s not realistic to remove paper processes entirely—sometimes jotting down a note doesn’t really need a computer system—but we’re sure you can see a reduction in administrative costs from using the right kind of system coupled with high-interoperability software.

Registration Woes End with a Medical Grade Tablet

Paperwork—a dreaded life requirement that everyone faces at some point. It’s reported from some sources that patient registration on paper costs healthcare 45 billion dollars annually. Admissions packets average around 14 sheets of paper—multiply that per new patient, per day, and suddenly that price makes a lot of sense. Millions of hospital registrations happen annually, and with each paper-based registration, errors can be introduced and set procedures can lengthen registration time, and costs continue to climb. 

To specifically reduce administrative costs (and save the environment), patients and medical staff can all benefit from using a medical grade tablet so the process of entering patient information and storage is immediate. Attack one of the higher expenses in healthcare by using a tablet for administrative uses, reducing paper usage, curtailing ink usage, and even ensuring fewer errors with proper registration software. Plus, the medical grade tablet’s easy-to-clean screen and antimicrobial housing keep germs at bay inside of hospitals and doctors’ offices. Unfortunately, that doesn’t take the work part out of paperwork, but we’re sure some folks like taking the good over the bad. 

The way to a paperless future lies within technology; by using the right kind of medical grade all in one computer, your institution can see less of an investment in paper, ink, and costly printer repairs while also ensuring patients get the best available healthcare. In short, go green and save some green. Contact us to learn more.

 

medical computer systems and medical tablets

2 Difficult Roadblocks for Medical Device Manufacturers (and How to Overcome Them)

Medical device manufacturers (MDMs) have their work cut out for them. Producing a medical device is one of the most arduous processes in the medical field; it takes meticulous design, several tests, verification, validation, retesting, proper documentation, and other steps to see a device turn from concept to fruition after years of work—not an easy one-and-done task! A lot of new medical device manufacturers may be struggling with the reins of understanding the process from A to Z, and mistakes can (and will) be made. That’s why it’s important to educate MDMs about one of the most important aspects of medical device manufacturing—ensuring that the computers used on their devices are true medical computer systems and not computers you’ll find down the street in a retail store. Here are a few reasons why MDMs should steer towards these kinds of computers.

Software Certification—Test, Test, and Re-Test

Software in the medical world is ever-improving, but it’s a heavy burden to release a new build for a medical device. The problem is it’s difficult to re-certify the software as new builds need to go through rigorous quality testing in order to be approved on hardware. This first assumes that the original software build for the original product has passed all regulations. The FDA advises that software development for all medical devices requires proper planning, verification, testing, traceability, configuration management, and other aspects in order to have a proper approach for software builds. There’s still a matter of verification and validation too; validation is a process of ensuring the proper software is being built, while verification ensures the proper software is being built correctly. This constant testing and quality assurance can take several months to years to complete just to upgrade the software to a newer fieldable build. Consumer-grade hardware typically turns obsolete by the time these processes are finished—what then?

It’s much easier for a medical device manufacturer to stick with a software build that has already been approved and match the hardware to the software. That’s why a lot of medical device manufacturers adhere to purchasing medical computers with long product life cycles. Software might be developed to run on a specific operating system or with an older aspect ratio. They might require specific ports to integrate a device into. With the ever changing landscape of the consumer computer market, a MDM’s software could become incompatible with the latest and greatest consumer tech in a short time. That’s the reasoning behind longer product life cycles—so device manufacturers aren’t trying to keep up with the ever-changing consumer market. Medical computers typically have a much longer life cycle than their consumer counterparts, making them ideal for MDMs.

Patient Safety Comes First

Imagine being in the middle of a procedure like an endoscopy, or laying in an MRI machine and a surge of electricity shorts out the machine. These types of events are exactly what the FDA is trying to prevent when they are certifying new devices for near patient use. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) is an organization that certifies the safety and performance of medical electrical equipment. Commonly known as EN60601-1 (in Europe) or UL60601-1 (in The United States), MDMs are required to meet these certifications in order to be approved for near patient use. Seeing how no commercial grade computers meet these standards, MDMs are faced with two choices. One option would be to purchase isolation transformers, figure how to integrate those with their computers, and then integrate that with their device, get the device tested, at which point, there is still no guarantee that all the pieces would pass certification. The other option is to purchase a medical grade computer that is already IEC60601-1 certified.

It is important, however, for an MDM to make sure that the hardware partner they are working with is actually 60601-1 certified. This is the only true measure of a medical grade computer. With a medical grade computer, there is less design work that needs to be done and testing is often less expensive and time consuming.

Just these two hardware aspects of medical computer systems hopefully give a glimpse into the lengthy, thought-provoking process that medical device manufacturers endure to market products to hospitals and clinics. Without the right hardware, the process of developing a medical device can turn costlier, longer, and present more roadblocks for MDMs in the future. The best idea when in the development stage is to find the right medical computer system customized with all the necessary features needed to run the device without problems. In a nutshell, struggle less with the right computer. Contact us to learn more.

 

medical tablets and fanless computers

3 of the Most Common Patient Complaints and Ways to Reduce Them

Patient satisfaction isn’t an easy task to handle within a hospital; people are already in places they don’t want to be, and the smallest gesture in improving a stay can travel miles for a patient’s well-being. It’s up to staff to perform those small gestures and take advantage of them for the betterment of people. Not taking advantage of those small details could result in patient complaints. Patients file complaints on a consistent basis, and rightfully so; sometimes small mistakes, unrefined processes, and archaic procedures just result in a bad experience. There are several reasons why a complaint might arise, and all of them should serve as examples on how to improve—lest the hospital suffers bad return rates, scathing online reviews—you get the idea. Here are some common patient complaints and what can be done to reduce their frequency greatly.

Let’s Communicate, Not Procrastinate!

Insufficient communication is a constant for complaints. It might be the case that a nurse forgot to notify next of kin if a patient’s medical conditions change, or maybe there isn’t enough social activity to ease someone’s mental health while they’re bedridden. Regardless, communication problems often rank within the top five for any hospital, but there are some ways to improve communication between patient and practitioner, or even among medical staff.

Medical staff can achieve higher patient satisfaction ratings by using a medical cart computer or a mounted medical computer in the patient’s room to demonstrate how a patient’s illness is affecting them. Plus, it’s likely the case throughout the hustle and bustle of daily hospital operations that communication isn’t the best between nurses and doctors. Medical tablets keep communication at a constant rate so there’s no information falling through the cracks. Nurses can receive updates with patient orders directly to a tablet while doing rounds, or can video conference with an attending physician in a remote location. All parties can stay up to date, minute by minute, so the focus can remain on getting the patient the care they need and send them away, healthier than before.

In addition to the importance of communicating test results and other pertinent medical information with patients, it is equally important for the mental well being of a patient to be able to communicate with loved ones. A medical computer mounted on a patient table can have the dual purpose of allowing a patient to video conference with family members, check social media accounts, and mitigate any feelings of isolation while admitted.

Patients Need Better Sleep

Another common complaint is a difficulty in getting a good night’s sleep. Hospitals operate on a 24/7 cycle, so ambient noise won’t be avoidable. However, there are ways to reduce noise in a patient’s room. A lot of hospitals are mounting computers in each patient room, but this presents a lot of challenges to a patient. With these devices running 24/7 components heat up and need to be cooled. The last thing a tired patient needs is for a computer fan to go off next to their bed in the middle of the night. A fanless medical computer is best for in-room devices. Why?

Computers with fans can often reach noisy levels! A computer with a fanless design provides cleaner, quieter environment to help a patient get a better night’s sleep. Fanless computers are also safer, as they don’t blow dust, germs, and other microbes through the air, which could lead to nosocomial infections.

Hurry Up and Wait to Feel Better

We all know the story—calling up to make an appointment, leaving a message, waiting for a phone call, answering a call and waiting on hold for the nurse for scheduling, getting transferred to another physician—hurry up and wait is a constant struggle for outpatients. We’ve all done it ourselves, so why would you want your patients to endure that? Would you prefer your patients to wait longer to feel better? We wouldn’t either, but waiting is a common complaint that a strong percentage of patients mark down on complaint sheets.

With the advent of telehealth, patients can access their hospital scheduling department through a web portal and send off their symptoms within a few minutes. Doctors are notified via a medical tablet that a new request for appointment is in, and then can receive symptoms, previous medical conditions, current medications, and likely diagnoses—all within a fraction of time from the “old ways.” The patient can get an earlier appointment scheduled, get into the office, see the doctor, review diagnosis and facts, and then have their prescription signed for at the point of care. And in some cases, a diagnosis or course of treatment can be prescribed without the patient ever even needing to go to the office. You’ve just saved your operations hours and reduced the wait time for your patient significantly, all because every process was handled electronically through a medical tablet. That’s technology working for you and your patients.

When addressing problems with better technology, suddenly we turn a hospital experience from a terrible necessity into something positive. The last place anyone desires to be is on a stretcher or hospital bed, but through the use of medical tablets and other devices, we might be able to put a spark in day-to-day struggles that people experience, whether in-patient or out. Get people feeling better again, quicker, and you’ll see fewer complaints, possibly more sparkling reviews, a higher attendance rate, and perhaps even better career satisfaction among the hospital staff. It’s said smiles are infectious, and we tend to agree. Contact us to learn more.

 

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3 Ways Medical Grade Computers Make Surgery Safer

It’s clear that surgical mistakes—however minor they may be—are still prevalent on surgical tables and still cause significant health problems. You can easily get plenty of statistics online to verify some frequencies of surgical accidents. From problems of communication and preparation, to complete blunders like operating on the wrong limb or side of a patient, surgical mistakes are costly for everyone and can cause a medical practitioner to lose their license. That’s why it’s important to operate alongside a medical computer so that mistakes are reduced, whatever the cause. Here are three common mistakes that can happen in surgery that can be reduced with the use of a medical computer.

Use a Medical Computer to Track Items

Nearly 6 thousand patients per year leave the operating room table with leftover surgical equipment still inside them; a majority of these foreign objects are sponges that can cause painful medical symptoms and result in patient death if not handled properly. Some patients leave the table with surgical instruments still inside them. For standard surgical procedures, these kinds of mistakes shouldn’t happen, but to err is human and these mistakes are still a costly problem in operating rooms.

For the betterment of surgical procedures, it’s best if surgeons use medical computers to track RFID-enabled instruments being used in patients. As an instrument, sponge, or other supply is removed and used in operation, the computer can track its use. A surgeon can then refer to it after a long procedure and ensure all equipment is accounted for appropriately before wrapping up their procedure. The medical computer is there to catch what exhausted surgeons may miss when wrapping up a procedure.

Anesthesia Errors Happen All Too Often

Anesthesiologists are heavily responsible for ensuring a patient is unconscious before surgical procedures begin and remain safe throughout an operation. It’s one of the first steps in surgery that is incredibly important for the well-being of the patient during an operation. However, mistakes can easily happen even at this early stage of the operation. Anesthesia awareness is a very real result of not administering enough anesthesia, and it can cause long-term psychological damage to patients. Approximately 40 thousand Americans experience anesthesia awareness every year. Other common errors are just as scary—too much anesthesia can lead to a coma or brain injury. Unsatisfactory patient monitoring can lead to unsafe oxygen levels. Whatever the cause of the mistakes of the anesthesia, a small mishap can lead to profound negative results.

Anesthesiologists benefit from using a medical cart computer that is certified for near patient use to monitor vital signs and administer the proper dosages of anesthesia. This allows the anesthesiologist to be in the room during surgery, in what is often referred to as Computer Assisted Sedation (CAS). There is an entire field dedicated to controlling the state of the brain with anesthesia, and MRI studies have shown distinct differences in the conscious and unconscious mind and their relationship to specific parts of the brain. As practitioners use this and unravel more secrets of neurology, they can understand more about how the brain works and the proper dosages and practices of administering anesthesia. Not only would we see a proper reduction in accidents circling around administering too much or too little medicine, but using a medical computer to record patient vitals in real time would provide informatics for further research and understanding, as well as more automated processes for sedation.

Wrong Site, Wrong Procedure, Wrong Patient

It’s true that impossible-sounding mistakes have occurred beyond operating room doors. Sometimes a surgical team proceeds with the wrong procedure on the wrong patient—often referred to as WSPEs (wrong site, procedure, and patient errors) or “never events”—and any number of poor workplace practices can point to reasons why these exist. Stories of some cases are available for research online, such as when a patient with a head injury had his leg operated on in error. The doctor mistook the patient for another. It’s mistakes like these that lead to malpractice and legal matters in the future.

Surgeons and medical staff are encouraged to use guides and checklists installed onto medical grade computers in the operating room that guide surgeons with every step of a procedure—even on agreeing which patient is being operated on. Plus, surgical procedures are typically arduous processes that can take from several hours to beyond an entire day to complete. The use of computers in surgery can assist a surgeon at any moment in time and guide them through a surgical procedure, however complex it may be. New technological advancements are pushing robots into surgery now, so after operating for 20 hours the surgeon may not need to use their hand to make incisions. Efforts to reduce human involvement in surgery are growing with this new technology. Hopefully as adoption of these sophisticated technologies increases, we will see a reduction in surgical mistakes.

It’s important to understand that surgical mistakes can’t be reduced to zero; they will still happen regardless of using a medical PC or not. Reduction is our goal when it comes to any problem in the medical realm that detracts from the well-being of people, but it starts with being prepared with the right technology. Contact us to learn more.

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The Differences Between Antimicrobial Housings and Coatings

Per the CDC, Hospital-Acquired Infections (HAIs) infect one in 20 patients daily. This costs healthcare several billion dollars a year—no trifling matter. Some sources cite that UTIs and pneumonia are the top two most common HAIs, with pneumonia being the top infection that claims lives. It’s a scary thought to have one of the most infectious diseases on a surface nearby a patient going through surgery, and so every precaution must be taken to avoid patients getting infected via the unseen enemy. With such a bombardment of invisible microbes and pathogens capable of infection, it’s not possible to reduce all infections at all times. However, using what’s called an antimicrobial surface on all medical surfaces is a step in the right direction.

If you work in healthcare, you’ve likely seen some label or notifying mark on a medical cart saying the cart in use has an antimicrobial surface. It’s a no-brainer that the antimicrobial surface is a necessary feature with a medical cart computer in a hospital to reduce the spread of disease and infection. What you’re probably not aware of is that there isn’t just one method of making the plastics so they’re worthy of the antimicrobial label. There are several different materials considered antimicrobial. Silver, for example, is capable of reducing microbial activity, but we doubt that anyone would want to buy a medical computer housed in silver—that’s probably best reserved for surgical instruments. Constructing an antimicrobial surface takes a proper balance of finding the right materials for the work, the best method of creating the housing, and an option that doesn’t break the bank.

Plus, “antimicrobial” means something that discourages microbe growth in one way or another. A microbe is a general definition that fits plenty of microorganisms, but for the purposes of this blog, the definitions should be handled in a general fashion. Here are some methods of producing an antimicrobial surface for medical computers and why one should be considered over the other when in the market for new technology.

A Coating that Cleans Itself

A lot of medical grade computer manufacturers will label their hardware as antimicrobial or “self-cleaning,” but in the details of the product documentation, you’ll likely find it features an antimicrobial coating. This method to keep the computer surface clean has a huge disadvantage: it degrades over the span of several months. The coating flakes off when interacting with light, shedding off microbes as well. The constant disinfection that is required in a hospital setting will also degrade an antimicrobial coating. It’s true the product is self-cleaning, but only for the suggested timespan (likely offered in the documentation too). Plus, that doesn’t speak about the capability of inactivating microbes or discouraging growth. Another kind of coating is an application of silver nanoparticles or biocides, but much like the former, the coating wears off over time. This brings into question how effective a medical computer with a coating might be over the course of its lifespan—it could likely render the computer’s antimicrobial feature obsolete quickly.

The Antimicrobial Everlasting Housing

Medical computers with antimicrobial housings—not coatings—degrade less over time since there’s no “shedding.” There’s a superior method of producing an antimicrobial plastic for a computer: instead of using the short-term technology found with coatings that degrade over time, the best companies add an antimicrobial agent into the manufacturing process of the resin that lasts longer than a coating. The agent used not only discourages growth, it actually is highly toxic to microbes and bacteria. Instead of shedding off infections, they’re reduced on the surface of the plastic housing. It’s a more effective method of reducing microbe activity.

Beyond Coatings and Housings

For starters, the medical computers used nearby patients should be disinfected frequently. Plus, it helps to have a high ingress protection for frequent disinfections—over time, liquids can seep into the innards of equipment and shorten the expected lifetime of the computer. An IP65 rating means the front bezel is sealed against direct sprays, so the computer can be continuously cleaned without fear of shorting the internal components or wearing away anything protective. Beyond that, using hygiene toolkits and practicing constant hand hygiene are additional safety methods to ensure a reduction in HAIs. It is also important to note that a computer is rarely a stand alone device in a hospital setting. They are often mounted on medical carts or other equipment. It is important that the medical cart is antimicrobial as well, otherwise you aren’t really preventing the spread of anything.

Using the best technology with the most robust features in a hospital setting is the best way to guard your hospital or clinic against HAIs. An antimicrobial coating on a medical computer doesn’t last as long as the computer itself—it’s best to find more sophisticated technology with stronger features, particularly a computer with antimicrobial housing with agents mixed into the resin of its plastic. Contact us to learn more.

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3 Usages of Medical Tablets in a Mobile Environment

As the health landscape changes, the technology adapts to fit the needs of the people. Healthcare professionals strive to reach patients that aren’t always able to travel to healthcare centers; that’s one of the reasons why telehealth usage has grown in the past few years. As technologies adapt to smaller forms and communication capability increases, more individuals that can’t frequent hospitals or clinics are seeing the benefit of medical tablets. They’re being used in various ways to improve the lives of patients while removing the pains of commuting and increasing convenience. Here are three usages of these tech-smart devices where older, less mobile technology wouldn’t be viable to use.

Mobile Blood Banks are All the Rage

It’s true there’s a critical blood shortage in the US. The American Red Cross often calls out for blood donors since blood is often in short supply. Complex medical procedures call for large quantities of donated blood, and as these procedures increase in frequency and complexity, donated blood reserves dry up. As recent as September of 2017 it’s reported that The Red Cross is behind by roughly half of the necessary units for daily optimal operations. One of the ways The Red Cross is gathering blood is by organizing and running blood drives.

These blood drives often employ medical practitioners to travel to various sites and use medical tablets to track the blood withdrawn and then have it preserved for use later. It’s convenient for individuals willing to donate since often times mobile blood banks are at traffic-heavy events where anyone can sign up and donate blood to help patients and victims of disasters. With the extensive battery life of a medical tablet, a blood bank can be in service for several hours to collect all the donations needed.

The same technology is heavily used by emergency response teams. Patients in dangerous car wrecks or people that have fallen victim during a natural disaster can be administered blood via a medical tablet. A paramedic can test to see what blood type a patient has, locate and identify a compatible blood reserve using a tablet with barcode scanner, and then use the tablet to track the blood while they’re being prepped for hospital admittance. The time saved matters.

Combating the Opioid Crisis with Medical Tablets

Time reports that in 2016 alone, the ongoing opioid crisis claimed more than 42,000 lives. There’s been a nationwide effort to reduce opioid overdose incidents, but the problem is still prevalent. With this medical crisis on the rise, a lot of less fortunate victims that have strong addictions to painkillers and other drugs may need emergency on-the-site assistance from first responders in the event of a patient collapsing.

An emergency team can use a medical tablet to diagnose and administer proper dosages of medicine to treat drug addicts and save lives. The tablets used could be used to immediately send patient information, vital signs, condition, and other information via the 4G wireless technology in order for medical staff to prep for immediate hospitalization. When it comes to overdoses, seconds can be the difference between life and death. Any advantage that first responders can gain in that race can save lives. 

Medical Tablets Hit the Streets

An opioid addiction isn’t the only reason tablets might be fielded—sufferers of agoraphobia, the disabled, eldery, and homeless patients that need medical help can’t easily help their selves to nearby healthcare outlets.

Medical staff can use a medical tablet to perform telehealth operations and visit those who aren’t able to check in to clinics. Those immobile or bedridden can stay indoors and have a doctor diagnose and treat patients using the built-in wireless technology. Or, a tablet could be paired with a medical device to diagnose or examine health problems. Therapists and psychologists can hold telehealth sessions via medical tablets to consult with their patients. Scheduling, prescribing medication, and transmitting patient information can all be wrapped into a familiar platform for doctors and nurses. Telehealth capability skyrockets with using this new form of sophisticated technology.

 

Medical tablets are the new standard for mobile healthcare, simply put. The boost in communication, capability, versatility, process time reduction, human error reduction, paperwork minimization, and telehealth capability is second to none. The possibilities as this new technology develops more over time are virtually endless. Contact us to learn more.

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3 Problems in Customer Service Solvable by Technology

The tech landscape has changed for the better in business. Places as common as grocery stores, bars, pizza parlors, online ordering warehouses, you name it—the computer is there, improving the business operations on a customer-by-customer basis. The newest technological craze on the horizon to improve the customer experience for online ordering is the use of the shipping drone. Automation efforts within warehouse shipping are pushing towards eventual shipping via individual drones that drop packages off at the doorstep of customers. Interested businesses in this cutting-edge technology are quoting waiting times of less than 30 minutes from product order to delivery!

We’re far off from seeing a full implementation of such technologies across the nation, but one aspect of a business that is never overlooked and that people cherish in any setting is customer service. The full umbrella of customer service can include customer experience, product pricing, waiting times for product delivery, and other factors, but the computer is there now to facilitate lengthy and error-prone processes that can influence the overall experience. Here are three ways technology solves problems many of us are familiar with when it comes to the umbrella of customer service.

Better Lead Times, Shorter Wait Times with Industrial PCs

Lead time can be considered a part of customer service, or perhaps “a service to the customer” since it’s a factor in the overall experience. It’s not the most interesting of business-related topics, but it’s one of the most desired metrics to shrink for both businesses and customers. Simply put, if a customer waits too long for delivery of an item, it’s not likely they’ll purchase from the same outlet. It’s an aspect of customer service in the whole of the corporation that is always a pain point for customers. Who likes to wait?

Lead times have been decreasing with the use of the industrial PC. Industrial computers running ERP software can track and monitor inventory levels. They can be used to predict seasonal shifts in order volume. A manufacturer can even use an HMI panel to monitor performance and maintenance schedules of individual equipment, reducing and eliminating stoppages in production. All of which adds up to short lead times. The shorter the lead time the more likely that first time customer will become a long term client.

I Didn’t Order This…

As soon as an order has been received there is a process in place to get that order to the customer as quickly as possible. An itemized invoice is printed that is handed off to a picker, who then goes through the warehouse to find the items. They are double checked, prepared for shipping and sent. But in that paper process, mistakes happen. Humans are only human after all. Send the wrong item to a customer not only adds up in costly returns at your expense, but could also lead to lost business.

Industrial tablets can help to automate this process and improve accuracy. Invoices can be stored on the tablet. With SKUs assigned to barcodes, a picker can use a tablet’s integrated barcode scanner to check items before pulling them from inventory. You can even assign different barcodes based on clothing sizes or item colors to ensure accuracy. Pick lists can even be sorted based on the most efficient path through the warehouse, meaning more orders can be processed in the same amount of time using the same amount of resources. Again, automating processes leads to more accurate orders and faster processing times, which lead to happier customers.

The Dreaded Phone Calls

Even with automation, mistakes will happen. No business is 100% perfect. When mistakes happen, customers will call in. Even in an automated shipping warehouse there needs to be the human touch to fill in the gaps sophisticated tech might leave behind. However, it’s best to be prepared with the right kind of computer to identify what went wrong in order processing.

If a company’s employees use all in one computers for their customer service department, there’s a vast set of advantages. First, these computers are manufactured with space-saving designs in mind so even in small offices where the majority of space is reserved for products, IT departments won’t need to go to the extensive trouble of planning how all computer stations might be configured. Second, they’re perfect for recording conference and customer calls for the best customer service experiences. Paired with telecommunications software, every call can be screened, addressed, and filed away for case study purposes. Finally, any customer service rep can use the computer to see where an order is in the full spectrum of the process, from order to customer satisfaction on delivery. These all in one computers have nifty touchscreen capabilities too, so it’ll add to the overall productivity of a customer service office. Plus, with their enclosed designs and higher-grade components, they’ll last a lot longer than the average computer.

They say that a customer who has had a bad experience is likely to tell 10 people about it, whereas a customer who has had a good experience is only likely to tell one or two people. Those aren’t the kind of odds worth testing. For more information on how to automate your processes you can contact us here.

medical grade computers and medical grade all in one

4 Questions to Ask When Searching for a New Medical Grade Computer

What is the difference between “healthcare grade” and “medical grade,” and what problems might arise if one is chosen over another? It seems like such a small thing. What’s in a word? A lot, when you break it down. The distinction between healthcare grade and medical grade computers is important, and here’s why: medical grade suggests a higher standard for a healthcare setting.

Computer systems that are marketed as medical grade are less problematic because they’re more feature-rich than healthcare grade. For instance, is a healthcare grade computer housed in an antimicrobial casing? Does this healthcare grade computer protect against infection, ingress, and the spread of disease? Has it been tested for radiation and electric emissions for near patient use? By the end of this blog, you will be equipped with the knowledge to know what questions you need to ask, and how to verify the validity of a vendor’s response.

The IEC60601-1 Certification – Get Tested

To be truly medical grade, a computer must meet IEC 60601-1 certification. More than just an alphanumerical string, IEC60601-1 is a necessary standard that protects the lives of patients. It details a number of separate sub-standards to protect patients from electric shock, radiation, machine interference (pinching), and other hazards. Some manufacturers may tout the expansive standard, but what they don’t reveal is their product meets only one sub-standard instead of the entire spectrum of standards within IEC60601-1. So if a corporation touts its new computer as IEC60601-1 compliant, be sure to investigate what that means.

True medical grade computers have certifications for the entire spectrum of standards for IEC60601-1 and you can easily verify the testing by asking a manufacturer for their certification. This isn’t a short document either. True 60601-1 certification documents are extensive. It’s also important to check the year of the standard—if a computer is certified for the IEC60601-1 standard that was defined several years ago, it may be best to find a product with a more recent certification.

Don’t be fooled by the term compliant vs. certified either. The most accepted definitions of these terms: compliance means the specifications of a product simply meet a standard. Certification means the product passed a set of rigorous, difficult tests and is a step above compliance, earning the tested product a certificate or label. The problem with compliance is that any corporation can self-claim their product is compliant with almost anything. Unless an independent 3rd party testing facility has verified that a computer meets all specifications it isn’t 60601-1 certified.

Fanless Designs, IP65, & Antimicrobial Technology

True medical grade computers not only meet rigorous standards but are feature-rich and better equipped to solve a wider range of problems that can arise in a hospital. Healthcare-Acquired Infections (HAIs) are still prevalent pests within hospital doors, and computers with more robust features perform better in terms of safety for everyone. Were you aware that HAIs can spread through a computer’s fan? Dust is more hazardous than we realize in hospitals and one lone dust fragment can turn infectious to any patient. Fanless medical computers are built to protect the patient (and staff!) by reducing airborne particle spread—something required for clean room operation.

Given the need for constant disinfection, IP65 ratings are also extremely important. Would you rather settle for a computer that protects from limited dust ingress and liquid sprays (IP54) or a computer that is protected against total dust ingress and more powerful liquid sprays (IP65)? Exposed bezels aren’t just breeding grounds for bacteria, but they can be ingress points for chemical disinfectants, which can lead to damage of internal components. Its important for a computer to have an IP65 rating, especially in a hospital setting, so units can be properly cleaned and disinfected.

Which brings us to antimicrobial technology. Some “healthcare edition” computers don’t even offer antimicrobial properties. The models that do aren’t all created equally. Because hospital disinfectants are so powerful, it isn’t uncommon for computers treated with an antimicrobial coating to degrade over time. In addition to cleaning a unit, these disinfectants can strip away the antimicrobial coating as well. You should look for a computer that has antimicrobial properties injected directly into the plastic molding and has been independently tested to maintain those properties over several thousand cleanings.

How Long of a Product Life Cycle?

What’s the life cycle of the computer in question? The best medical grade all in one systems on the market have a product cycle of 3 to 5 years—significantly longer than commercial-grade brand computers which average about 1.5 years. Project deployment for these systems can sometimes take years as hospital departments shed older computers and implement new ones over time. What if the purchased product isn’t available in that timespan? Will you be ready to face the potential pitfalls of mixing hardware within a computer project deployment?

We’ve heard of problems arising from mixing hardware in a deployment in the past. Even small configurations—changing a video card, altering the aspect ratio of a monitor, or even reducing the number of ports on a computer—can drastically change how mobile EMR software operates for the end-user. Differences in support, operating systems, and driver conflicts can sometimes be nasty roadblocks for interoperability if your hospital has a mixed project deployment. The best practices for a hospital are to purchase an identical set of computers for their entire project timeline, and that means ensuring the product life cycle is more extensive than the competition.

 

We hope these questions serve as a basis for understanding what’s on the market and how important it is to be armed with the knowledge necessary to ask the right questions. The best computers in a hospital setting are true medical grade all in one systems because of their superior features that safeguard the lives of a hospital’s entire population, whether patient or practitioner. Contact us to learn more.

medical computer and computer on wheels

3 Methods of Reducing HAIs in Hospitals

The US Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion has seen a decline in HAIs (Healthcare-Acquired Illnesses) in the past recent years. For instance, invasive MRSA infections have seen a 36-percent reduction between 2009 and 2014 per the health.gov website. That’s the result of a combined effort of following the specific action plan available on the site. However, healthcare as a whole can always make stronger efforts to reduce HAI contraction frequency. There are many tech-related problems that still contribute to the number of HAIs (and related deaths) that can be fixed by ensuring your hospital technology meets the grade. Here’s how to combat them with the tech in your hospital.

Dust-Free is a Must

One of the contributing factors for HAIs is something we can’t see very well—dust. Dust is more dangerous than we think, but it’s important we unpack what that term means. A large percentage of dust consists of dormant, decaying, and live microscopic particles, often particles that can be hazardous to patients. A healthy individual’s immune system is capable of protecting against stray floating particles, but to hospital patients under surgery or with compromised immune systems, many precautions need to be taken. One single infected particle from the air settling inside of a patient with an open wound can turn a hospital visit into an infection that can spread to the masses.

Experts in the field stress that fanless medical computers are important for hospital use but are mandatory for surgical procedures and anesthesiology efforts. A fanless design is a proper feature on a medical computer that significantly reduces the risk of HAIs and airborne infections. A computer without a fan intake won’t liberally spread dust mites and bacteria through the air. Besides, fans are considered heavy failure points for computers. A fanless construction won’t perform the impossible by eliminating all dust, but it opens up more possibilities for medical practitioners—like running the medical computer at the bedside to record a surgical video. Regardless of the use of the medical computer, a fanless design is superior for cleanliness. It boosts device longevity too.

HAIs Go Beyond Dust Into Microbes

Fanless designs are great for clean environments, but there’s still a presence of pestilence that we aren’t able to see. We invite you to take a closer look at any surface with a high-powered microscope to see what dangers lurk on nearly every surface in a hospital. Microbes thrive on all surfaces, especially surfaces that are frequently touched thousands of times per day. A computer on wheels that nurses take room to room is no stranger to touch, so this kind of computer needs a little more oomph to protect everyone against the smallest of threats.

Every true medical computer has an antimicrobial housing with a resin mixed into the plastic to help reduce HAIs. Fanless design is a necessary feature for a clean-room environment, but an antimicrobial housing is that extra “oomph” feature that a proper medical computer should have. It discourages microbe spread and growth. HAIs can be reduced further with these integrated features you’ll find in computer on wheels.

Spray Directly on the Medical Computer

It’s easy to be in a mindset of “constant cleaning” when in a hospital. Typically there are hand sanitizer stations at every patient door and at nurse stations, so seeing disinfectant everywhere helps to remind everyone to wash up often. Even with strong efforts in keeping clean hands, infections are still possible. Computers on wheels are highly frequented by hands (especially those with touchscreens), so disinfecting the computer is a no-brainer for physicians and staff. The problem lies with the computer itself—not all of them are built to take constant sprays. One sudden flick of the wrist could send a jet of industrial disinfectant onto a capacitor, and suddenly you’ve turned a cleaning problem into an expensive IT problem. That’s why you should look for a medical grade computer with an IP65 rating.

An Ingress Protection rating of IP65 is prime for a reduction in HAIs because you can spray directly on the sealed screen without worry of damaging the components of the computer. Besides, bacteria have an affinity for hiding in the nooks and crannies of unsealed bezels, reducing the effectiveness of a direct disinfection. It’s just a superior solution to tier-1 computers found in a retail store.

 

A high frequency of Healthcare-Acquired Illnesses in a hospital or clinic puts the cleanliness standards behind doors into question. It’s important to be “clean conscious” at all times when working with people, but ensuring that all computers have these features can reduce HAI frequency and add an extra layer of protection for everyone, whether medical staff or patient. Take a stance against the microscopic culprits and arm your hospital with the best medical computers on the market today. Contact us to learn more.

 

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.