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BYOD Problems? Medical Tablets Are the Answer

BYOD stands for Bring Your Own Device, a policy adopted by many businesses allowing for employees to use laptops, cell phones and other personal devices for business use. For organizations without security concerns, it makes an attractive and easy way to get around existing hardware issues. BYODs can save money without reducing efficiency, while giving employees the ability to work remotely in many cases.

Those are powerful incentives. According to a recent article at HealthIT Plus, 71 percent of clinicians report at least some BYOD use at their facilities… sometimes despite policies forbidding them. Such use can come about as a simple matter of necessity, such as a doctor using her cell phone to access hospital records while filling out paperwork at home. Other times, BYOD use arises as part of a coordinated policy on behalf of the hospital, hoping for the same benefits that other businesses enjoy.

But BYOD policies run into serious issues when meeting the demands of a medical facility, and if administrators aren’t careful, it could end up creating more problems than it solves.

For organizations looking to remove BYODs from the equation, and thus solve the issues they can present, the right hardware is a must. Certified medical tablet PCs can often fulfill the same needs as BYOD devices, allowing administrative staff to cut a very thorny Gordian knot cleanly and effectively.

What kind of needs do medical tablets fulfill, and who do they solve the problems created by BYOD? Here’s a short list of some specifics.

Security Can Be Better Maintained with Tablets

Security is a significant concern with medical devices. A patient’s health records can be worth a great deal of money on the black market, even more so than credit card numbers in many cases. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, such data breaches have cost the healthcare industry over $6 billion per year. Obviously, proper security is vital to maintain electronic medical records (EMR) and other data. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) establishes rigorous standards for privacy and security, with heavy fines levied against those who can’t meet those conditions.

For example, the FDA estimates that half of the 3.4 billion mobile phone users in the world have downloaded at least one medical-based application. For medical personnel, that percentage is likely much higher.  Medical organizations can ensure that such devices are HIPAA compliant and operating safely by implementing firewalls and unified threat management software to protect the network in the event of trouble. But BYODs rarely begin their service with such levels of protection, which means they need to be added before they can be considered safe. And when you multiply that potential across an entire organization – every cell phone used by every employee – the prospects for a major security headache multiply along with it.

Medical grade tablets owned and controlled by the organization, on the other hand, can use a single security system, as well as include integrated measures like RFID scanners and biometric readers which most BYODs lack. That not only permits the kind of security protections necessary to remain HIPAA complaint, but it allows staff to access them quickly and easily. And because the devices are dedicated solely to medical work, there’s no concern about overlap from a BYOD’s personal files. It provides better security in the event they are lost or stolen, since it can be much harder to access the data.

Medical Tablets Are Better Protected Against Germs and Illnesses

Illnesses are a constant concern in hospitals and medical facilities, and without proper care being taken, nosocomial infections (infections originating in the hospital and being passed through it) and similar threats can arise very quickly. Mobile devices can easily carry germs and viruses, since medical staff handle them regularly and even carry them from patient to patient. It’s a serious problem. According to the CDC, approximately 1.7 million patients are afflicted with hospital acquired illnesses (HAI) in the U.S. every year, and of those, approximately 99,000 are fatal.

BYOD devices are particularly vulnerable to this. Since they’re intended for consumer use, they lack antimicrobial protection. They usually can’t be disinfected either, since applying liquid to them can cause them to short out and become useless. And if they are used outside the medical facility, there’s no telling what kinds of illnesses can come piggy-backing in when a well-meaning staff member brings it to work.

Medical-grade tablets provide more formal protection against germs and illnesses. Antimicrobial properties baked into their housing helps them repel biological contaminants. In addition, tablets that are IP65 certified can be disinfected with liquid cleansers without running a risk of damage to the tablet itself, which further prevents the spread of illness in a hospital setting.

IT Headaches Go Up with BYOD

Cellphones, personal tablets and consumer PCs at home can come from almost anywhere and entail dozens of different models and systems. That can be a serious handful for your IT department, which needs to keep the devices in your organization maintained and operating. Even something as comparatively mundane as an iPhone update can wreak havoc in a medical environment with BYODs. That, in turn, can waste huge amounts of time and resources as the IT staff struggles to keep numerous different devices updated and coordinated.

Dedicated medical tablet PCs and similar portable devices simplify that issue considerably. An “in-house” system eliminates the morass of hardware and software in favor of a single model and OS. When problems arise, they can be dealt with swiftly. If updates are needed, they can be implemented across the entire network without having to make adjustments. That allows your IT personnel to do their jobs more effectively, and allows them to focus on other pressing issues instead of constantly trying to integrate a new phone or updated OS from a BYOD.

 

Cybernet Manufacturing offers an array of medically certified tablets and computers for use in a hospital setting. If you’re looking for a solution to the BYOD dilemma, contact us today.

5 Ways Hospitals Are Using Medical Computer Systems

Just a few years ago, hospitals and similar medical facilities lagged behind other industries when it came to effective use of computers. But government regulations such as HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and Medicare/Medicaid information systems established an enhanced need for proper medical computer systems, while improved technology made such systems more affordable and easier to use.

Today, hospitals all over the country are taking advantage of dedicated systems to improve response time and focus more on patients. As time goes on, a quality medical computer is only going to become more and more vital to effective care. Here’s a look at 5 key areas where modern hospitals are using such systems to maximum advantage.

EHR Software Runs Best on Compliant Medical Computers

According to the Office of the National Coordinator for health information technology (ONC), by 2016, over 98 percent of all hospitals and over 97 percent of critical access and small rural hospitals used some manner of EHR (Electronic Health Records) software, which allows health files to be shared more readily and eliminates the need for cumbersome paper records. But simply implementing such a system isn’t enough.

Hospitals need computers capable of running EHR software smoothly, as well as exhibiting features that allow staff to access the materials they need with a minimum of fuss. That includes components like display size, which allow the software to be run correctly, and single sign-on security measures to protect patient confidentiality.

It’s no small matter. A recent study from JAMA Internal Medicine found that over 44% of surveyed physicians spent excessive time filling out EMR records at home: a serious drain on energy and emotional reserves. The right medical computer allows the software to perform as intended, giving staff ready access to the information they need without causing frustration or compromising EHR security.

Medical Cart Computers Make Rounds more Efficient

Medical carts, also known as workstations on wheels, allow hospital staff to move their computer from patient to patient and location to location as needed. It can be tempting to use powered carts, which provide battery life for computers, barcode scanners and similar equipment. They also allow for automated medication distribution, which lowers the chances of administering the wrong medication. But powered carts can also be expensive, and the additional weight can make them more difficult to maneuver through hospital corridors. They might be right for some situations, but budget-minded administrators often look for more cost-sensible solutions.

Medical cart computers with hot swappable batteries can operate with non-powered carts to create an efficient workstation on wheels. Hot swappable batteries that run low on power can be switched out for fresh batteries without having to shut the machine off, providing 24/7 up-time and allowing staff to use lighter non-powered carts without being tethered to a wall outlet.

Mobile Charting with Medical Grade Tablets

Even with a lighter weight non-powered medical cart, sometimes wheeling a large device from room to room isn’t the best way for a healthcare practitioner to perform their rounds. In some cases, having a dedicated computer in every patient room isn’t a possibility for facilities with tighter budget constraints. Mobility and budget can both be two major hurdles that healthcare IT professionals must contend with.

Medical tablets provide a solution for both problems. A lot of hospitals are turning to these mobile medical devices as an alternative to medical carts. Nurses and physicians can walk into a patient room or exam room with a medical grade tablet and do their charting on the go. A medical tablet with a barcode scanner takes functionality to the next level, allowing the end user to scan patient ID bracelets, IV bags or other medication bottles to ensure that a patient is receiving the right medication.

Improving Patient Safety in Operating Rooms

Any kind of equipment that enters the operating room needs to adhere to strict requirements. For example, the operating theater needs to be free of potential contamination, such as dust which can be spread by a computer’s cooling fan. Furthermore, electromagnetic signals, radiation and similar emissions can present a hazard to the patient, which rules out the wrong type of computer. For example, an anesthesiologist with a computer that isn’t medically certified may need to sit outside the operating room to monitor the patient, or else use paper records (and increase the risk of bookkeeping mistakes accordingly).

A fanless medical computer can address those problems quickly and effectively, utilizing advanced passive cooling technology to ensure the sterility of the space. IP65 certification ensures that the system can be cleaned and disinfected without damaging the components, while UL60601-1 certification allows the system to be used in close proximity to a patient with no danger. That makes for a smoother and more efficient operating room, and an attendant improvement to the quality of care.

Increasing Patient Satisfaction and Engagement

Studies cited by the ONC stress the importance of patient engagement and how useful health IT can be in enhancing their overall satisfaction with the experience. No one wants to spend time in a hospital, and patients can easily be left feeling isolated and helpless just when they need energy and resolve. Cell phone use is often restricted – since noisy ringtones and MP3s can distract staff members from their work, and signals from the phone can disrupt important devices – which limits contact with family and friends.

Similarly, basic questions about the patient’s condition must sometimes wait all day until a doctor or nurse arrives on rounds, increasing anxiety and forcing the patient to wonder about comparatively simple questions. Depending on the circumstances, even basic functions like turning on a television may require a nurse or staff member, all of which can have a drastic effect on the patient’s emotional health and well-being.

A medical computer, however, can provide a wealth of infotainment options, often from the same computer monitors that doctors and nurses use in the patient’s room. Patients can access information about their condition: putting their mind at ease and helping them better understand the treatment process. They can also access entertainment services like Netflix, and enjoy movies and television while they recuperate. Perhaps most importantly, built-in voice and video applications let them contact friends and family: putting them in touch with those best capable of providing emotional support.

The ultimate goal of any piece of medical equipment is to help hospital staff perform their duties faster and more effectively. Cybernet produces a line of high-end medical computers designed with just such efficiency in mind. For more information on how to put such technology to work for you, contact us here.

How to Select the Right Medical Cart for Your Facility

SV31lcd-nurse_webMedical carts are the most frequently used equipment in hospitals and healthcare units. When purchasing medical carts for your facility, there are a number of things you’ll want to consider to ensure that the purchase is suitable for your medical staff, as well as patients.

Ergonomics
Clunky designs lead to awkward postures for both patients and staff members, which can cause uncomfortable, twisted, hyper-extended and flexed body positions. Look for carts that fit well into the workflow of your facility, and are free from ergonomics and design flaws. Functionality, usability, and ergonomics are equally important.

Mobility
One of the biggest challenges for medical clinics, healthcare centers, and hospitals is transporting medical supplies and sensitive equipment from one place to another. A mobile medical cart is a simple solution. From cardiac emergencies to remote anesthesia administration, carts designed with portability in mind provide medical personnel with the required tools and equipment necessary to respond to emergencies effectively.

Provisions for Adding Medical Computers
From routine check-ups to emergency heart procedures, it’s no secret that healthcare facilities are heavily dependent on medical grade computers. This dependence is only going to increase as technology advances. When purchasing the next generation of medical carts for your healthcare facility, ensure that they are designed with the flexibility to have medical computers mounted on them.

Rechargeable Batteries
Medical carts fitted with rechargeable batteries are ideal for use in demanding field operations and rescue situations. If your plan is to deploy your carts in both in-house and on-field medical settings, make sure the model you select comes fitted with rechargeable batteries so your staff members will have an uninterrupted power supply. After all, an hour of backup power might just be the key difference between precious human lives being saved or lost.

CareLink-cartPeripherals and Accessories
Most medical carts are accessorized with bins and shelves. Double check that the medical cart you purchase supports add-ons like document holders, keyboard light covers, and other items staff members regularly use.

Conformity to Medical Standards
Medical grade devices are expected to conform to certain operational and safety standards. Medical carts are no exception. For the deployment in near-patient and critical care settings, it is important that the medical cart you select conforms to international performance standards.

The Cybernet Advantage
Cybernet is the market leader in medical carts designed for EMR computing on the go. Our medical carts combine compact, light-weight design with unparalleled ergonomics, offering the ultimate in portability and ruggedness. To learn about Cybernet’s diverse range of medical and healthcare carts, visit us as at www.cybernet.us