The demand for technology in the medical field is a constant. Staff needs to operate on computers around the clock, and that requires a constant “live” time. With this expectation, hardware failure is a natural expectation especially if it’s a few years old. It might be difficult to hold on to old hardware because of user familiarity, tight budget constraints, or just because it’s “what we do here,” but there are some key reasons to eschew aged computers and tablets in favor of an upgrade to medical grade computers. Here are some strong reasons why.
Consumer Tablets Suffer Battery Life Constraints—Use a Medical Grade Tablet
It’s nice to keep patient records and work at hand when moving from room to room inside a hospital, but a lot of consumer-grade tablets suffer the whim of drained batteries—they’re devices that aren’t meant to be operated 24/7, and so the total battery life doesn’t match what a manufacturer may claim, or the manufacturer may make a claim of 10 hours of use with standard usage rates and not constant operation time. Furthermore, tablets are often sealed shut so battery removal isn’t a one-step process. That requires manufacturer involvement—shipping off the device for a few days to several weeks, depending on the severity of the problem.
The best idea for a medical professional is to use a medical grade tablet with a hot swappable battery, so in the event of a battery drain—or complete battery failure—the battery can be easily swapped out and people can go about their business unhindered by power problems. Lithium-Ion batteries are some of the most popular rechargeable batteries for medical use since they boast a long lifespan, carry a full shift’s battery life, and they can be replaced with a new hot swappable battery or multiple batteries to extend the life of the tablet so staff can focus on patient needs. Plus, medical computer systems are rated higher for their Mean Time Between Failure rating, promising a more sound investment with a lower Total Cost of Ownership over consumer-grade.
Extended Warranties—Are They Worth the Investment?
Extended warranties are hot points for retail stores. They might be viable solutions for hospitals if the CFO is purchasing units for an entire team to use, but they’re notorious for having extremely high profit margins to incentivize salespeople and management to push onto consumers. Some warranties offer accidental drop and damage protection warranties which cost even more, so it’s a question of the price per tablet, and if a consumer-grade extended warranty is even worth the money. If medical staff ends up not utilizing the warranties, it’s money out of pocket for the hospital. It’s not an argument that extended warranties are a bad idea—it’s just consumer-grade warranties may not fit the bill when there are medical computers available that can protect against workplace hazards.
There are rugged medical tablets that are built to withstand accidental drops and damage. Many of them pass physical harm tests, dropping them from a height of 5 feet or more to determine their resilience against damage. While they’re certainly not damage-proof, it’s nice to upgrade to a tablet featuring shock-mounted hardware and rugged materials so accidental damage is more of an afterthought than a concern. As before, a high MTBF rating also means these tablets are made to last far beyond a consumer-grade option, which makes them prime choices when facing upgrade time.
Security is an Ongoing Concern
Patient privacy needs to be at the forefront of any Healthcare IT person. Between HIPPA, State and Federal Regulations and even regulations mandated by certain major software providers, keeping patient medical records secure and private is a top priority. A movement towards Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in some healthcare facilities has raised a number of security issues in its own right. But even when IT departments choose to go with commercial grade tablets and mobile devices for their staff to use, security becomes a major issue.
Currently, Ohio is the only state that requires two factor authentication for medical workers to be able to log into their devices. That means in addition to a password, there is a need to use an RFID badge, a CAC card or some sort of biometric scan (fingerprint or iris) in order to be able to log onto a device. While it isn’t law in the other 49 states, recent studies suggest that more than 50% of all hospitals in the country are using two factor authentication as their standard. Commercial grade tablets simply aren’t equipped with the feature sets necessary to be Imprivata SSO certified. In order to manage two factor authentication one would need to purchase third party peripherals to attach to their devices, which creates a whole new slew of IT issues with regards to maintenance and upkeep.
Medical grade tablets come with integrated features like biometric readers, CAC readers and RFID technology. These devices are engineered to be Imrpivata SSO certified to handle two factor authentication right out of the box.
Cybernet carries a line of high-end medical tablets that are ruggedized, customizable to meet any security standards and have been engineered to withstand the demanding device strain that the healthcare industry demands. For more information on medical tablets you can visit our website or contact us here.