The wide range of challenges medical computers face in a modern hospital means no simple “one size fits all” solution exists. Eventually, a hospital’s computers must be customized to fit their intended roles or applications. 

However, the list of customization options is just as long as the list of ways a medical computer can be used. Therefore, understanding the different options is critical for any hospital or healthcare IT professional planning on purchasing new computers. In today’s article, we’ll look at the reasons for customizing medical computers and the options available in modern devices. 

Why Medical Computers Need to Be Customizable

With all the challenges a modern hospital faces, from treating patients to collaborating with other stakeholders, there’s simply no way a single computer model can handle all of these tasks. At the same time, customizing a medical-grade computer to the needs of a specific role can help healthcare providers deliver a better care experience and even save the hospital money. These are the most significant reasons why having a customizable computer solution is critical for healthcare groups. 

Easier Workflow Integration

Often, the greatest challenge to integrating new computers at a hospital is how difficult it can be to train providers on the new equipment. Hospitals can avoid a long, awkward transition period by customizing the computer to resemble devices their medical staff already know closely. 

Power and Battery Life Considerations

Battery-powered medical tablets are a popular choice for healthcare providers that need a mobile computing solution. However, the more powerful the PC’s components are, the more quickly they drain the batteries and require replacements. Therefore, healthcare groups must balance performance and longevity between recharges. 

EHR Compatibility

More hospitals than ever use electronic health records (EHRs) to keep track of their patients’ medical data. However, these EHRs are often designed to work on a specific monitor size and can encounter technical issues if forced to work on other sizes. For example, Epic’s EHR software, used by 78% of hospitals in the United States, is designed to work on monitors 24 inches wide and have a 1920×1080 resolution. Performance specifications are another concern; after all, if a computer can’t run the EHR software, it’s effectively useless. 

Legacy Device Compatibility

Hospitals commonly use older legacy equipment, such as anesthesia carts and X-ray machines, that are perfectly functional but no longer see widespread support. A common issue for these machines is the connection ports they use to interface with other devices, such as medical computers. If the hospital’s new computer doesn’t support these older ports, they will also have to purchase expensive replacements for legacy equipment. 

Areas of Customization

Fortunately, medical-grade computers can be customized in many ways to help match their intended use. An Original Device Manufacturer can even fulfill unusual orders or integrate their computer into another device’s design without affecting that device’s certification. 

Monitor Size

Different monitor sizes are suited for different tasks. A larger monitor is perfect for displaying information at high resolution and can be compatible with specific EHR programs (such as the aforementioned Epic). However, smaller monitors are lighter and easier to maneuver. This is a critical concern for mobile workstations aka workstation on wheels, which healthcare providers must push around throughout their shifts. 

Operating System

A computer’s operating system is the program that manages all other applications and programs on it, and is easily one of the most important aspects of a PC’s build. Different programs that healthcare providers use might not be compatible with specific operating systems, so being able to choose one that can interface with any pre-existing hardware and software is critical. 

Performance Specifications

Another consideration in a medical computer’s build is its performance specs. A PC with a more powerful CPU and RAM can fulfill more demanding tasks and run more demanding programs. However, this will come at a higher price tag and greater power consumption. A customizable medical computer solution lets a healthcare group find the right balance between performance and their budget. 

Connector Ports

Hospital equipment uses a wide range of connectors and ports, ranging from modern USB connectors to older serial and VGI ports. A hospital can continue using its pre-existing equipment by including older legacy ports in the computer’s design. This saves money that would otherwise be spent on acquiring new equipment and time spent training medical staff to use it. 

Peripherals and Add-Ons

Additional systems can greatly enhance a medical computer’s functionality and enable healthcare providers to deliver a better experience. For example, web cameras are a popular add-on that allows face-to-face communication during telehealth, enabling a more personal interaction for both the provider and patient. Barcode scanners are another productivity-enhancing add-on: by scanning a medication bottle, providers can ensure that they provide the correct medication to a patient before dispensing it. 

Customizable add-ons also help ensure the privacy and data protection of patients. Many medical computers can integrate RFID and smart card readers to prevent unauthorized access, and privacy screens to block out prying eyes. Utilizing these features helps healthcare groups maintain HIPAA compliance and ensure their patient data is not misused. 

Closing Thoughts

The greatest advantage of modern medical computers is the degree to which they can be customized to the needs of their end-user. No matter what a healthcare group’s requirements may be in terms of size, performance, or extra features, the right medical computer can be altered to fulfill each and every one of those requirements. 

If you’d like to discuss what your healthcare group needs from their customizable medical computers, contact the experts at Cybernet Manufacturing. We’d be happy to discuss how our computers can be adapted for any environment in the healthcare field. 

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