Healthcare facilities tended to stay a little behind the curve when it came to integrated computer use in the past, especially when compared to other industries such as manufacturing. However, with the ever-growing popularity of medical computers, hospitals and clinics have found themselves in the midst of a healthcare tech renaissance.  

A Future Health Index 2019 Report commissioned by Phillips can attest to this, stating that 76% of professionals in the healthcare space regularly employ digital health records and other health IT tools in their facility. 80% even report that they’ve engaged in the digital exchange of health data with other care providers in their own facility.  

And while this wide adoption of healthcare tech can mostly be traced back to outside pressure from government regulations such as HIPAA, there’s no denying that the healthcare space and its day-to-day operations are benefiting greatly thanks to its implementation. 

So now that the healthcare industry has been catapulted into the digital age, in what ways have medical computers and medical tablets become integral to the healthcare professional?

Logging Data at Point of Care

Caring for a patient entails a lot of careful monitoring and data gathering. What symptoms is a patient dealing with? How are they responding to different medications? Does anything about their medical history hint at why they may be afflicted with a sickness or infection? This is all crucial data that needs to be recorded not only accurately, but quickly in case an immediate change in treatment is necessary.

Unfortunately, a number of healthcare professionals still have to resort to pen and paper note taking when it comes to taking in this data. Not only does this open up the possibility of inaccurate data, it eats away hours of a nurse’s work day when they’re tasked with manually logging this data into a computer. Hours that can be spent caring for a patient.

Hospitals that assimilate medical grade computers at the point of care, in a patient’s room, can immediately load this data into a patient’s electronic medical record (EMR). This eludes the inaccuracies of pen and paper note taking and also updates records in real time, allowing for instant analysis and changes in care should they be required.

Consolidating the Workspace

We’ve seen an explosive increase in the number of hospitals using medical computers outfitted onto workstations on wheels (WOWs), allowing them to be transferred into patients’ rooms as they’re needed. What has also taken place as a kind of side effect of this development is the overall simplification of the average caretaker’s workspace. 

Healthcare facilities that have begun deploying medical computers, specifically those with their own battery power, have also been able to cut down on unnecessary bulk. The most impressive example being the elimination of the battery powered cart. 

Portable computer carts can be quite the boon to hospital operations, but that boost is quickly mitigated if the cart in question is weighed down by a heavy duty battery used to power everything from the computer to its peripherals.  

Smart healthcare providers have turned to battery powered medical cart computers, cutting away the need for external batteries (and about 40-50 pounds in the process). Not only does this solve the issue of powering the computer, models with the capability to power peripherals can even eliminate the need for external power to tools like label printers, barcode scanners, and RFID readers. The right model of medical computer can even have an RFID reader integrated directly into the hardware, avoiding the need for external power altogether.

Receiving Data with a Swipe

Speaking of things like barcode scanners and RFID readers, medical computers that are customized to include these pieces of hardware can make ingesting patient data a snap. All it takes to pull up a patient’s medical record or information about a prescription is a swipe of a wristband or bottle of medication. 

Hospitals that have begun utilizing these all-in-one medical computer solutions have also taken a page out of industrial asset management. With their setup, tools and surgical equipment can be scanned into a system and marked as “soiled” when used for an operation. From there, after it has been sanitized, the same tool can be scanned once more as “clean”, ensuring all a doctor needs to do is scan the tool, observe its status, and get to work treating their patient. 

Hospital acquired infections (HAI) are the bane of any medical facility. Not only can they cost a facility millions in extended treatment costs, they jeopardize the health and safety of their patients. Fortunately, innovative use of medical grade computers such as these have seen a noted decrease in HAIs across the hospitals that employ them.

Mid-Operation Monitoring

With HAIs remaining a persistent threat, modern sanitation solutions are an absolute necessity for healthcare facilities. Nowhere else is advanced sanitation efforts necessary than in the operating room. Unfortunately, with so many tools, soiled gloves, and more involved, many overlook one of the largest potential contributors to infection and poor sanitation: the computer. 

Commercial-grade computers are almost always outfitted with a fan to cool off their internal components. This may not be an issue for the average user, but for a doctor or anesthesiologist who uses their computer to monitor patients during a procedure, that fan can push and circulate bacteria through the air, increasing the likelihood of an HAI. 

Fortunately, medical grade computers with fanless designs can and have been employed in many modern hospitals, opening the way for mid-operation monitoring and data intake without having to resort to physical note taking or running computer software outside of the operating room.

Specifically, medical computers with IP65 and 60601 certifications have seen continued success in hospitals since they’re certified safe to use around patients in an operating room and can stand up to several cleanings without losing their antimicrobial properties.

Medical Computers: Today’s Solution and Likely Tomorrow’s

Going forward, it’s very likely we’re only going to see an increase in hospitals and other healthcare facilities that make liberal use of computers. More specifically, we’ll see a hike in the number of facilities that use medical grade computers designed with their operations in mind. 

And the results are something we should all be excited to observe! More real time data management, more efficient sanitary operations, and more streamlined procedures for our healthcare professionals will only result in better care and faster recuperation. 

To learn more about how medical computers have transformed the healthcare space for the better, contact an expert at Cybernet today.