Tag Archives: medical computers

Understanding the Unique Requirements for Medical Computers in a Hospital Setting

Hospitals gather a large population of infected individuals in one place, so it’s difficult to keep nosocomial infections from happening. That requires different standards for hospital operation and use of equipment. One of the largest reasons for hospital beds and rooms filling up is the invisible agent—microbes and bacteria that pass on unwanted viruses and pathogens that can quickly affect a small population. Since medical computers and devices operate with patient care in mind, careful consideration of a device’s build, materials, controlling software, and other factors must pass FDA regulations and meet necessary standards. Plus, medical care is not just a “part time” task. Hospitals operate on a round-the-clock schedule—a health-related disaster can strike at a moment’s notice, especially within an intensive care unit. These specific reasons why medical computers and devices are unique to the hospital environment are examined in detail here.

Medical Computers Need Antimicrobial Housings

Medical grade computers are built with either an antimicrobial coating sprayed onto the device post production or include an antimicrobial resin mixed into the plastic housing during manufacturing. But what exactly does that mean? Antimicrobial is an umbrella term that describes a range of abilities that disinfect and ward off growth of microorganisms, often times originating from bacterial, fungal, viral, or parasitical natures. The benefit of these medical computer builds is that even with passing microbes from surface to surface, the plastic housing of these medical computers discourages microbe growth. After multiple uses from several medical professionals, a computer built with antimicrobial plastics can still help prevent the spread of germs without constant disinfection. Recent news reports detail there was a bacterial outbreak at a nationally renowned hospital that infected ten patients, thankfully none of which were fatal. The patients were infants. An online report that detailed research into an Army ICU revealed MRSA bacteria living on keyboards, a problem that could have been alleviated with antimicrobial materials. It’s clear to see why medical computers require antimicrobial housing.

Medical Grade Computers Need to Meet Standards

One might ask what kind of regulations hardware and software might need for a hospital. A lot of consumer off-the-shelf products, both hardware and software, aren’t safe for patient and medical use. Consider what the implications could be using buggy software on a medical device! For that reason there are several rules, regulations, and standards for medical devices, some set by the International Electrotechnical Commission. One of the most accepted standards is the 60601-1 electrical and radiation standard, addressing verification, design methodology, risk / safety assessment for patients and staff, and other factors. It’s not possible to determine the total number of test cases for final revisions of hardware, which is why this standard is in place. Every revision this standard goes through brings significant changes to how medical grade computers and other devices must be built, often times focusing on the medical device’s operational distance to the patient. There are three distance classifications for the standard: B, BF, and CF. Type B operates near the patient, BF makes contact with the patient, and CF makes contact with a patient’s heart. Any medical device, whether in close vicinity or making contact with the patient, must meet the standards for safety. The FDA ensures medical grade computers and devices pass these standards for the safety of patients and the professionals that use them under the 510(k) regulation, requiring that manufacturers demonstrate their product is safe. There are a number of manufacturers that claim to have medical grade products, but haven’t actually been independently tested. Be sure to do your homework before any major hardware deployment.

Hospitals Need to Operate 24/7

Hospitals need to operate on a 24/7 timeline. Fortunately, the medical grade computers in question can operate with those time demands. It’s not just a matter of having a computer that’s always on—it’s a question of the computer’s internal components and if they’re intended to be on 24/7. For instance, many medical computers have an emergency back-up battery installed in order to remain functional during a power outage. Imagine if the power went out, all medical computers shut down, and all that patient data was lost! Even though most hospitals are equipped with backup generators, the seconds between a power outage and the generators coming online could result in massive data loss. Medical computers with hot swappable batteries eliminate the need to be reliant on an AC power source completely. These computers are powered by removable batteries and can provide up to 16 hours of run time before you need to exchange the batteries.

Medical grade computers cannot operate in the same manner that consumer-grade computers do; the implications of losing data, hardware malfunction, overheating, spread of germs, and other factors are far too great to sacrifice for patients. Plus, computers with moving parts are more likely to malfunction, especially under 24/7 operation.

One Must Consider the Application as Well

Even within a hospital, different departments have different needs. Operating rooms, labs, and ICU units are often sterile environments. In these environments,  a fanless medical computer would be required. To achieve fanless operation without overheating, these computers need to be built with specialized components that commercial grade manufacturers aren’t willing to invest in. The fanless operation prevents to spread of dust and germs through the air, which could be a major contamination concern in these high specialized areas.

In a perfect world, we’d be able to stop all nosocomial infections. For the world we live in, it’s important to use the right tools for hospital use to avoid spreading infection, keep patients safe, and operate at a moment’s notice without a high risk of failure. The published studies show that these are factors required by all hospitals to operate in the best manner possible.

medical grade PCs

Extending the Life of Medical Equipment with Medical Grade PCs

The IT challenges and needs for a healthcare facility are far different than those of a traditional enterprise. Mobility, EMR compatibility, 24/7 operability as well as the need to mitigate the transfer of germs and disease must all be factored in. But even within the healthcare space, needs can vary tremendously. Consider the differences between a hospital in a large metropolitan area vs. a hospital in a rural area. In a lot of rural areas, medical facilities don’t have the luxury of large budgets or the ability to upgrade medical equipment as regularly as a larger hospital in a more densely populated area might have. Extending the life of that machinery in a cost efficient manner is vital for these types of facilities in order to provide the very best in patient care without breaking the bank.

A customer of ours recently reached out to us to let us know how they have managed to extend the life of their mobile x-ray units by integrating a medical grade computer. Their solution turned out to be a stroke of genius, and allowed their facility to move from the analog age into the digital age.

Mobility Matters in Medical Grade Computing

Our customer employed mobile x-ray units in rural areas that needed medical grade computers for control. Consumer-grade computers wouldn’t have fit the bill—carrying around a heavily-wired computer and monitor would have been insufficient and cumbersome for medical staff, so they used medical-grade PCs with hot swappable battery functionality.  With a full 16 hours of uptime running on batteries, the staff didn’t need to connect to AC power while using their mobile x-ray medical devices with the medical grade computers. Plus, there’s no downtime with computers featuring hot swappable battery technology ensuring constant healthcare. Internet connectivity is also a concern. In rural areas, internet accessibility isn’t the best which calls for a different type of wireless capability. Many mobile computers are equipped with 3 and 4G wireless technology, so even in the most distant of places medical staff can send patient data to the hospital for review if need be.

Using Surgical Grade Monitors to Enter the Digital Age

Our customer was able to connect the surgical grade monitors to the mobile x-ray devices and get an instant x-ray result on the medical computer’s touch screen. Older technologies required large film emulsion plates that took hours to process within a dark room—that obviously isn’t a mobile solution. With an instant x-ray, our customer was able to zoom in on the patient’s affected area in question and diagnose patients. Instead of having to travel several miles to a distant hospital, wait for an x-ray, process the film, and then have a doctor review the x-rays, it’s done instantly on site so the hospital doesn’t need to purchase expensive and bulky film slates for x-rays. When patient mobility is reduced, it’s up to the medical staff to transport what’s needed in the most crucial times of patient healthcare. Our provided solution fit the needs for our customer and their patients.

Medical Devices in Healthcare IT Aren’t Cheap

Our customer needed a medical grade computer that interfaced with the mobile x-ray machines without a significant price tag. Older medical devices use a serial RS-232 port, which is a legacy port not often found on consumer-grade computers. The option to upgrade to a newer set of x-ray machines wasn’t available with average prices for them ranging well over 100 thousand. In acquiring the medical grade computers, they saved crucial business funds to focus on traveling to patients with hampered mobility.

Medical Computers That Also Meet Certifications

The medical grade computers our customer used weren’t just capable of interfacing with x-ray machines for medical staff use. The computers they purchased had a full spectrum of patient safety in mind, starting with an antimicrobial plastic that inhibited the spread and growth of microorganisms. These mobile computers with the hot swappable battery function were fanless and used internal solid state drives to prevent spreading dust and germs. They also met FDA standards for patient safety with a 60601-1 certification to protect patients from electrical and radiation-related hazards.

Online sources report that 80 rural hospitals have seen closures since 2010 and approximately 600 are suffering financially, numbers likely because patients and hospitals lack mobility. These computers helped the lives of people and kept hospital doors open. There are reasons beyond mobility, however, that prompted our customer to purchase these computers—they’re medically certified for hospital and patient room use. Consumer-grade PCs don’t measure up to the standard that these computers meet! Our customer was satisfied with their purchase of these computers with the hot swappable battery function, the instant x-ray feedback, and the medical certifications to protect patients.

 

EHR Compatibility

A Few Problems Medical Professionals Face with EHR Compatibility

Per the Health IT Dashboard, 87 percent of hospitals in the United States started utilizing EHR software in 2015, a massive jump in a ten-year timespan from 25 percent in 2005. It’s clear use of EHR software has become the majority standard in a decade. Medical professionals stick by this method of health IT and information monitoring because it reduces error, streamlines processes, and ensures patient satisfaction. However, that doesn’t suggest the EHR software universe is snag-free. As with any software, problems can arise when a new EHR software product is released into a medical environment with a competing software product, and many sources note that a collective of medical professionals are raising concerns about one of the most pressing aspects of EHR software: interoperability. This aspect of EHR does not address the capability or functionality of the software itself, but rather data transfer between systems that run on medical monitors. It comes down to what’s called the CCD, or continuing care document.

In EHR Compatibility, the CCD is What Matters Most

The CCD, per Wikipedia, is an “XML-based markup standard intended to specify the encoding, structure, and semantics of a patient summary clinical document for exchange.” A compromised development by ASTM International and Health Level Seven International’s Clinical Document Architecure, it is encoded by EHR software as it contains a substantial amount of data including medications, allergies, problems, lab results, and patient chart data. This document is widely shared among medical computers and EHR devices. While not a complete medical record, the CCD includes just the most crucial information for effective medical care. It should be viewable via any standard web browser, but some voices lament that’s not always the case with a lot of EHR software, which leads to one of the most prevalent problems in healthcare IT…

EHR Compatibility Can be Terrible Because of Proprietary Formatting

Much like proprietary audio files or specific Apple chargers vs. Android phone chargers, not every EHR software product exports a CCD that will be read by another. At first glance, it may seem that transferring EHR between systems is just a file transfer, but how does that file transfer take place? If medical professionals bring their own devices, there are HIPAA security concerns—putting a patient’s data on a USB flash drive certainly isn’t secure. If one EHR system is web-based and another isn’t, how does an individual transfer the files? Does a physician-hosted EHR system function with a remotely hosted system or a cloud-based system? EHR compatibility problems can arise within hospitals—not just on a hospital to hospital transfer—if their IT departments decide on conflicting software environments, further causing connectivity problems. It’s a tough call between remaining secure, transferring the information from one medical monitor to another, and finding the quickest way to do so without compromising the data. Sometimes medical professionals have to print EHR documents and transcribe them to another platform, introducing human error and lengthening a typically automated process. EHR has been a wide success because of the Meaningful Use program and the HITECH Act, but medical staff still spend time bothering with menial tasks getting information from A to B. Health care companies are encouraging EHR software developers to start using open format file types instead of proprietary. There’s still a lot of room to improve, unfortunately.

EHR Compatibility Depends on the Medical Computer

Certain medical computers, while meeting FDA standards for near-patient use, aren’t compatible with all EHR systems—some medical monitors operate on a 4:3 aspect ratio, while EHR systems may utilize a 16:9 ratio to display a full gamut of patient information. A computer with an incompatible display may reject software installation or could limit the functionality of the software. Furthermore, highly advanced EHR systems require two-factor authentication, and if a system isn’t equipped with hardware to scan authentication methods, it may likely reject installation. Compatibility isn’t just a matter of speaking with other EHR software products—it’s a matter if the medical monitor in question can even support it.

A Way Out of EHR Compatibility Concern

Epic is one of the most prominent EHR systems used in the medical industry, and there’s a strong reason for it; interoperability is a key aspect of the Epic EHR system. There have been strides to see a universal healthcare data format for EHR systems, but it’s still a goal that not every company adheres to yet, even though Epic has been a key software product in that avenue. The Sequoia Project is an organization that advocates for nationwide health information exchange, and Carequality is a project within Sequoia designed to address interoperability between all parties in a healthcare IT network—addressing policy and technical agreements for the exchange of data. As for now, EHR compatibility can be addressed by ensuring all computers running a specific EHR—whichever it may be—remain in the same local “network.” Having a unified system with similar hardware cuts down on training time and bypasses any compatibility problems. Ensuring that the computers that run the EHR software are certified for that software is a must too—purchasing a computer deployment that ultimately doesn’t work with a given EHR system is wasted money. If your corporation goes with Epic for your EHR solution, keep in mind that many of our CyberMed computers are Epic and Cerner certified.

Hopefully in the near future we’ll see a unified, open format data file shareable among all EHR systems so we can focus on patient health instead of the technology supporting it. This unified system will take effort from several roles—the government, EHR providers, payers, and patients too. Some medical professionals argue that EHR developers must have proper incentives to cater to a unified system; it is a competitive market, after all.

 

3 Ways Patient Infotainment is Improving Patient Health

Credence Research, a worldwide market research and counseling firm, reports that increasing demands across the US, UK, and other nations for patient infotainment systems have prompted large investments from hospitals, making patient infotainment one of the largest markets in the world. The last place anyone wants to visit for an extended period of time is a hospital, so we’re seeing an increase in patient infotainment solutions. Trends for this market have been on the rise, combining the entertainment software application market with medical tracking software so medical computers serve a dual purpose—informing medical staff about patient conditions, and (hopefully) improving patient conditions by taking their mind off of why they’re in a hospital to begin with. There’s more to infotainment than that, however, and it requires a little education in patient infotainment trends to understand why.

Trends in Patient Infotainment Remove the Mystery

It’s not always clear how things operate in hospitals. The standard used to be reliance on nurses for everything—changing a television channel, ordering food, adjusting the bed, and other factors that would detract from a nurse’s duties. Patient infotainment is designed to remove the guesswork and present all options to a patient while freeing up most of the menial duties originally tended to by nurses and doctors. Instead of using a call button, waiting for a nurse to arrive, and then asking for blinds to be open or shut, that process is a patient engagement wrapped into a medical computer that a patient can easily access. Fewer questions are asked, nurses and doctors have more time to address pressing needs, and patient satisfaction results are higher. This reduces workload and stress for medical staff, thus boosting morale, potentially opening the door for larger staff, reducing the patient to nurse ratio, and increasing overall hospital efficiency rates. A recent case study showed that a standard hospital in France had a total staff-to-patient care time of about eight minutes on average. Efforts to implement patient infotainment systems can increase that time. To add, patients can turn their infotainment into edutainment, learning about their ailments while awaiting their next visitation or apple pie. RomexSoft recently gave a list of five overriding goals of EHR, one of them being inclusion and engagement of patients in their own care. If patients are educated about their own ailments, they may know enough to avoid ending up in the hospital again. Infotainment systems are key in stimulating conversations between medical staff and patients, removing ignorance about medical conditions that are keeping patients from their normal lives.

Connectivity is a Phone Call Away

Perhaps the most crucial aspect of patient infotainment is the ability to reach out to friends and family. With voice-and-video applications built-in to the medical grade monitors, patients can reach out to loved ones with the touch of a few buttons to connect. This factor alone is probably the greatest patient satisfaction feature medical computers can provide in hospitals. Not only can patients talk with anyone online, the connectivity of a medical tablet gives access to music, YouTube, movies, and even games. Much of the patient recuperation process isn’t just about healing—it’s about taking care of the full needs of the patient, which includes mental stimulation and removing the feeling that a patient is “all alone.”

Patient Infotainment Still Needs to be Informative

The benefits of having a single medical grade monitor for both the patient and hospital staff are numerous. Nurses can check medical records and see instant patient biofeedback, then return the PC to patient use. Doctors can prescribe medications and then have them sent to patient rooms within minutes. With security features enabled like a CAC or RFID scanner, medical staff can access important records, hide the unimportant details for patients, and then return the PC to patient operating status. A lot of the EHR software is entirely cloud-based, so if there’s ever a PC malfunction it can be replaced quickly with minimal loss to data. Plus, EHR software updates can happen universally, avoiding EHR compatibility between PCs. Medical professionals are constantly kept at the latest version of their software, and patients get the latest entertainment values during their stay.

The CyberMed H22 medical grade all in one computer is a widely popular choice for hospitals and patient infotainment systems. It features a sealed front bezel to protect against dust and water, an anti-microbial housing to ward off infections, and is certified to be patient safe. It’s built with infotainment in mind, reducing time medical staff use to cater to a patient’s needs so they can focus on more important duties. Customize it today to fit your medical PC needs.

How Two-Factor Authentication can Improve HIT Security

How Two-Factor Authentication is a Small-Scale Standard for Protecting Information

This year is no stranger to cyber-security attacks. One need only to refer to the Equifax data leak to recall security mishaps, or the ransomware culprit “WannaCry” that holds protected information “ransom” unless victims pay to have the compromised files released. These and other attacks hit several corporations utilizing infrastructure weaknesses and security ignorance, compromising information for voters, financial records, email records, and other sensitive information, bringing higher awareness to the online community about keeping all information as safe as possible. One area that is often overlooked is personal medical records, which can be just as valuable to cyber criminals as personal financial data. That’s where Two-Factor Authentication can come into play for healthcare IT professionals. It can ensure data is just as safe at the individual user level as it is protected on a massive, corporate scale.

Problems of Single Authentication

Authentication refers to one of various methods of accessing important information, whether it’s a remembered password, a physical authentication token, a common access card, a biometric scanner storing user-specific information, or other methods. The problem with some of these methods is they’re too weak—unsophisticated passwords can be guessed by brute force, passwords can be forgotten, or worse, passwords can be stolen and then used by unauthorized individuals. Access cards can get lost, stolen, or “ripped” by devices that pull the information off of them to be reused maliciously. Cheap biometric devices may incorrectly read a person’s face or fingerprint, locking out access or providing access to the wrong individual. Compound these problems in an environment with a lot of sensitive data, and suddenly single authentication becomes the problem rather than the proper security protocol.

How Two-Factor Authentication Addresses Problems

Instead of using complex passwords that can lock users out or flee bad memory, authentication can be approved by using accurate biometric scanners and RFID identifiers integrated onto the medical grade PCs and tablets that healthcare  professionals use on a daily basis. removing human entry altogether. By removing the human element—loss and forgetfulness—medical professionals can access patient information with minimized risk to violating HIPAA laws.  Imprivata’s intelligent Single Sign-On platform removes the need to remember complex passwords and erroneous entries—this is a security protocol standard that requires certified hardware in order to authenticate successfully. Also, using a highly accurate biometric scanner is a must-have since fingerprints cannot be lost or “stolen” much like cards can. Ensuring these systems are in place and functioning properly is key for maximum possible security on patient information.

Two-Factor Authentication is a Growing Standard for Medical Computers

Seen as Two-Factor Authentication is a growing tech trend in hospitals in some states, it’s already at the forefront of security protocols for medical professionals and hospitals to use on their medical computers. Ohio is the first state to require Two-Factor Authentication for HIPAA laws. However nearly half the hospitals in the United States are using Two-Factor protocols, meaning it is quickly becoming the standard, even if it isn’t mandated by law. Corporations are using high-quality authentication protocols that require certified hardware in order to authenticate properly, such as Imprivata’s sophisticated Single Sign-On platform and CrossMatch’s high-quality biometric scanners that are Imprivata-certified. These necessary certifications are the best market-available products to ensure security.

Two-“Fact”or Authentication Facts

The Office of the National Coordination for HIT recently reported that there was a 53-percent jump in hospitals over the course of four years that started utilizing Two-Factor Authentication for their HIT needs. Christus Health, an Imprivata user, reported over 2.3 million dollars was saved using Single Sign-On technology. Crossmatch’s DigitalPersona technology has been implemented in several HIT companies, touting ease-of-use across multiple IT infrastructures. Using these technologies together is making an impact in today’s HIT world.

Solutions for Two-Factor Authentication

The good news is that every medical computer that Cybernet manufactures is customizable for Two-Factor Authentication—biometrics, CAC integration, or RFID scanning can be added for security needs. Plus, Cybernet’s computers are approved for Imprivata Single Sign-On use, so the human element has been removed for password entry. Our biometric scanners come from CrossMatch, which are high-quality readers certified to work with Imprivata—you can rest assured that a biometric reading will be accurate and that it will authenticate users with Imprivata SSO. These security protocols in place minimize information leaks and keep out unwanted individuals from accessing what they shouldn’t have access to. Visit the Cybernet website to see how we can customize our hardware to meet your unique needs.

Data Corruption in Hospitals

How to Avoid Data Corruption in Hospitals: Prevention Starts with Awareness

Technology in any industry is always subject to Murphy’s Law; if a problem can arise, it will. That’s the lay of the land in tech, and there’s no avoiding it. However, awareness of data corruption in hospitals and being prepared with the right hardware helps any facility combat whatever technological mishaps might come around the corner, whether it’s mishandling equipment, faulty machinery, cybersecurity threats, drive failure in medical grade computers, or even an individual accessing the wrong data. Patient information is on the rise for the black market and is considered more “valuable” than credit card numbers. Individuals can access past healthcare records and use patient information to order medicine—which can lead to a host of other problems. In order to minimize these problems, it starts with awareness. Beyond that, here’s what’s in place to ensure data corruption in hospitals and cybersecurity breaches are kept to a minimum.

RAID Array

Redundancy is one of the primary keys to keeping data alive, especially in a highly mobile environment where hardware can (and will be) mishandled. Granted solid state drives have been more reliable in the past because of fewer moving parts, but it’s important to have redundancy in medical grade computers regardless of drive condition or health. Dual solid state drives are a necessity to avoid data corruption in hospitals. If a drive fails, the secondary drive is available to copy to a replacement drive during downtime windows. Plus, solid state is a technology that doesn’t require defragmentation management—maintenance doesn’t have to run defragmentation software to pull computers out of commission. Using this technology keeps data throughput high, time on medical grade computer maintenance low, computer profiles slimmer, and patient records more secure.

Auto-Shut Down with Hot-Swappable Batteries

Mobile environment computers can’t compromise with stationary power or faulty batteries. The wrong battery-powered tablet might shut off immediately on low power instead of auto-saving work and shutting down. A computer plugged into a wall outlet can potentially turn into a tripping hazard, especially if the machine needs to be relocated around patients. And if someone actually does trip and pull the plug out of the outlet, and unexpected system shutdown can cause data corruption in hospitals and their integrated systems, unless those systems are equipped with redundancy power systems or are battery powered “hot swap” computers. These medical grade computers are designed to run on multiple Lithium-Ion batteries that can be swapped out while the computer is still running. Alerts will notify a user when battery power is below a certain threshold and can even initiate a system shutdown before complete power loss to avoid any system corruption. Over time, the efficacy of a Lithium-Ion battery will wear down as will any rechargeable battery, and eventually must be replaced. However, having extra batteries on hand will ensure power downtime will be virtually timeless.

Cybersecurity as an Utmost in Importance

The wireless data transmissions of a hospital are constant, transferring files between several computers at high speeds. That’s why a lot of systems operate with Intel-certified WiFi and Bluetooth wireless modules so data transmissions run with more secure wireless transmissions. It’s important to have the best hardware to ensure data bouncing between mobile environment computers stays intact. As before, data transmission is never perfect, but using the best technology available to healthcare professionals ensures top encryption for wireless file transmissions. If data is ever captured for use outside the medical environment, encryption ensures that it can’t be read for any purpose, whether malicious or not.

There’s Always the Human Element

Data corruption in hospitals can happen with something we’re all prone to—accidental dropping and damage. It’s important to have data storage shock-mounted in case of these slight mishaps, but, as before, mobile environment computers often have a secondary layer of protection against accidental damage using a RAID array for storage. Even if there’s significant damage to storage on a mobile environment computer, data redundancy is ensured so loss is kept at a low rate of chance. Solid state drives have improved security benefits over older platter drives—without moving parts, drive information is less prone to loss because of better manufacturing trends. To put simply: we all drop things and that causes damage. Solid state drives break less.

The good news is that Cybernet’s medical grade computers offer all of these features. These computers are built from the ground up with several real-world aspects in mind, data corruption being one of them. Take a look at what we have to customize for your medical staff needs and put us to the test. Combining higher-quality manufacturing for solid state drives, higher encryption with Intel-certified WiFi/Bluetooth modules, and never-off, hot-swappable Lithium-Ion batteries, Cybernet’s computers are prime for the medical environment, boasting a less than 2% failure rate in real world application.

Can Your Medical Computers Run Military Genesis EHR?

MHS Genesis EHR is now a reality. After four years of planning, months of tests and delays, and a $4.3-billion contract, Department of Defense’s first electronic health records implementation is live at Fairchild Air Force Base in Washington.

Military Healthcare System (MHS) Genesis is based on commercial Cerner EHR and is a part of the DoD’s plan to update its legacy HIT infrastructure. Originally slated for roll-out in December 2016, it was delayed for a revision to ensure the system testing is complete before its prime time.

The challenge that prompted the delay was the sheer complexity of the project. Data exchange, interoperability, and integration of the new system with legacy systems across the military healthcare providers caused some doubts whether Cerner had the capacity required for the project of such magnitude. The Office of Inspector General even audited the DoD EHR update project and stated the federal organization was trying to undertake a project too big for the set timeline.

Genesis EHR

Nonetheless, the first week of the implementation is rated as a success, according to the DoD press release. Fairchild’s 92 Medical Group is the first military clinic to use MHS Genesis. It is the first single, integrated inpatient and outpatient EHR in the U.S. enabling a team approach in providing healthcare services. The Genesis EHR is collaborative and gathers all health information of a patient into a single e-PHI record. The system will have the bandwidth for 9.4 million e-PHI records for DoD beneficiaries & 205,000 MHS personnel globally. MHS Genesis will cater to:

  • 55 military medical centers and inpatient hospitals
  • 300 US Navy ships
  • 2 hospital ships
  • 373 clinics
  • 5 theater hospitals
  • 251 dental clinics
  • 3 services

According to DHA’s brochure, MHS Genesis is a game changer because:

  • all services will use a single system
  • it replaces an estimated 50 legacy systems
  • healthcare providers & patients will be able to access e-PHI anytime, from anywhere
  • it enables greater collaboration and improved healthcare delivery

To address the interoperability requirements, Cerner’s MHS Genesis allows Department of Veterans Affairs and commercial healthcare providers to access its data through Joint Legacy Viewer.

During 2018, DoD plans to deploy it at Naval Hospitals in Bremerton & Oak Harbor, & Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma. Genesis EHR system is slated for a nationwide implementation & global deployment in the U.S. medical facilities and garrisons by 2022.

Earlier this year, during a House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs hearing, the Government Accountability Office Director of IT Management Issues David A. Power said the VA should take the same approach and adopt a commercial SaaS EHR solution instead of trying to upgrade a 30-year old VistA system.

A separate GAO report notes the abandoned VA and DoD interoperability project that sought to develop a joint EHR system for the healthcare providers for active military staff and veterans cost $564 million. Both agencies decided to drop the endeavor, but while DoD opted for Cerner’s EHR, VA decided to upgrade its legacy VistA. Power calls this last decision “unwise,” as running separate systems does not lend itself gracefully to interoperability. VA’s Acting Assistant Secretary for IT & CIO of the Office of IT Rob C. Thomas, II, noted VA intended to go commercial, indeed, in response to committee’s feedback.

Providers Might Not Have The Medical Computers & Tablets Apt for The Task

The Pentagon says training the end-users for the seamless transition to Genesis EHR is one of its highest priorities. However, some officials are not sure if their computers and tablets are powerful enough to run Cerner’s EHR, according to Politico. The computer hardware at many DoD installations might not be able to handle the upgrade.

The four initial deployment hospitals in the Pacific Northwest are funded to purchase new medical computers. However, the other facilities might need the Pentagon to adjust the budgets to accommodate the acquisition of new medical computers for Genesis EHR and medical tablets sophisticated and robust enough to support Cerner solution.

MHS officials have more concerns figuring out how to deal with certain healthcare programs that are outside of its EHR. Cerner built Genesis so that it could interface with existing programs, but some applications are left behind, such as the nuclear medicine info system.

Medical Computers for Military EHR

Medical tablets and medical computers for military EHR must meet multiple requirements.

  • Powerful Cerner compliant hardware

Medical computers for Genesis EHR must be Cerner compliant and have a powerful Intel last-gen CPU, video card, and ample connectivity options. EHR is a resource-hungry application. A single EHR update can clog a weaker PC and lead to costly downtime, which is debilitating for a healthcare setting.

  • Compatible operating system

Medical computers and medical tablets for Genesis EHR must be Windows-powered. No mobile operating system can afford your handhelds the compatibility, ease of use and integration advantages of Windows-based medical tablets.

  • Support for legacy hardware

Medical environments abound in legacy hardware and applications. Medical computers for military EHR must come with serial ports and interfacing capabilities to support legacy software.

  • Superior data protection mechanisms and support for advanced authentication

Integrated CAC, Smart Card reader, a biometric scanner and RFID Imprivata SSO are hardware-enabled advanced authentication mechanisms that help organizations bring their data protection strategies up-to-date. On the software level, Windows medical computers and medical tablets for military EHR must support full disk encryption and encryption of external drives through a standard USB wire.

  • Safety for near-patient use – antimicrobial housing, electric and radiation safety certification

Hospital-acquired infections claim thousands of lives and millions in costs yearly. Therefore, medical computers for military EHR must come with antimicrobial and waterproof housing, easy to disinfect. A CDC-compliant, fanless, antimicrobial build is perfect for sterile environments.

Radiation and electric safety certifications are paramount for medical computers & tablets. Particularly for the cart-mount computers with hot-swap batteries nurses and physicians use for patient checkups, EHR update and drug dispensing. FDA issued a warning the batteries in powered medical carts may cause fires and smoke, disrupting the workflow at U.S. hospitals. When you choose a medical cart computer for a military healthcare facility, account for more than battery uptime, but also for battery safety & reliability.

  • MIL-STD Components

MIL-STD components ensure the durability of your medical computers and tablets, as well as their long lifecycle and low overall failure rates that translate into low Total Cost of Ownership. Medical tablets used in military healthcare system must be rugged to withstand the pressures of the military environments.

  • Upgradeable, customizable, easy to deploy, maintain and use

Medical computers for military EHR must feature ample customization options and ensure the computers are able to accommodate any future EHR upgrades. From this perspective, it is always better to deal with the vendor rather than a reseller and inquire into the availability of spare parts over the course of device’s entire lifecycle, extended warranties, and out-of-warranty services.

  • Ergonomics and Power Efficiency

Military healthcare facilities have to deal with space constraints more than any other healthcare organization. Submarines, ships, military bases in remote locations require medical computers that can be mounted on virtually any surface, bedside arm, medical cart or in a vehicle. Additionally, medical computers and tablets for military hospitals must come with an internal power supply or hot-swap batteries to ensure full-shift uptime, and modest power consumption.

Contact a Cybernet representative today to find out about our Cerner-compliant medical computers & tablets.

Advantages of Fanless All-in-One Computers

Technology evolves at an increasing speed. Every day brings a new change. Old concepts are redefined. Capabilities never seen before emerge. The fanless PC design and technology under its hood has changed so much since the first fanless computer appeared. Fanless all-in-one computers – even more. It is exactly the fanless all-in-one that populates industrial settings and sterile operating rooms in hospitals. There are many benefits the fanless build grants an all-in-one computer and makes it a reliable, efficient and cost-effective working horse.

Improved Shock and Vibration Resistance

Fanless all-in-one computer design eliminates one major moving component – the fan, obviously. When coupled with a Solid State Drive, the fanless all-in-one computer receives a distinct advantage – improved shock and vibration resistance. Such fanless AIO is fit for industrial settings, provided the rest of the discreet components are military-grade (MIL-STD).

Power Consumption – Low, Computing Temperatures – Cool, Processor Performance – High

Energy efficiency is another key advantage of fanless all-in-one computers. The processor in the fanless build generates significantly less heat than in conventional fan-based computers. It also boasts of an ultra-low power consumption. Yet, such processors are powerful to handle resource-hungry industrial or medical applications and guarantee high performance. These powerful chips also allow manufacturers to pre-configure systems for specific industrial or medical applications to help customers cut the deployment time and costs.

Reliability, Durability

AIOs in healthcare and industrial settings run 24/7. So there is a greater chance for the fan-based builds to experience a mechanical failure in their moving parts. Fans accumulate dust and get seized up. In industrial settings, fans can get damaged from a sudden vibration. Over time, the maintenance and repairs costs accumulate. In other cases, the downtime due to maintenance increases production and operation costs.

With the fanless all-in-one computer, there are no moving part associated failures. The system dissipates heat from processors and other discreet components passively. Fanless all-in-one computers offer zero maintenance cooling – cost-effective, durable and reliable.

Safety in Sterile Environments

Some applications call for sterile equipment – think pharmaceutical production, food processing, and most obvious, hospital operating rooms, intensive care units, acute and post-acute patient rooms.

The fanless all-in-one computer coupled with antimicrobial casing is ideal for such environments. The fanless build eliminates the otherwise unavoidable circulation of dust and pathogens into the sterile room.

When enforced with an IP65 ingress protection and sealed bezels, the fanless all-in-one computer can be cleaned and disinfected with liquid chemical solutions, as CDC mandates.

A dust-free design is also ideal for many industrial applications. In areas with high density of dust, grease or humidity in the air, fans get clogged up very fast. It is amazing how invisible, lightweight dust can cause major problems to the computer operation. When dust gets sucked up through the holes, it accumulates on the processors and other components, too. It can catch fire when the amount of dust reaches a critical mass. Likewise, the accumulation of excessive humidity can cause a short circuit and bring the system down.

Only fanless designs keep dust, grease, humidity and other debris large and small out of the system. No fan seizures, failures, overheating or fan maintenance.

Noise-free

The fanless all-in-one computers run silently, which proves valuable for noise-sensitive environments such as operating rooms, intensive care units (or sound recording studios). In certain cases, acute and post-acute treatment requires noise-free environments, so that the patients are not disturbed by the humming of fans in medical computers.

Compact Form Factor, Ergonomic Design

There is one catch with fans in computers – they require a lot of “dead” space in the system to function properly. A fanless all-in-one computer does not have this problem and uses the minimum space to accommodate the discreet parts, external casing, and display parts alongside numerous ports and VESA mounting brackets, or a desktop stand. Its components fit tightly and neatly in its enclosed chassis, saving space.

Location Flexibility

Fanless all-in-one computers are compact, occupy a modest space, and can be mounted on virtually any surface or moving arm. There is no need to account for airflow through the system when mounting a fanless all-in-one computer.

Fanless AIOs can be mounted in locations unsuitable for computers with fans. In certain applications, there is a need to mount a computer in an outdoor setting exposed to humidity, rain, or snow. A regular, fan-based computer can not function in such environments, but a fanless all-in-one computer handles exposure to these elements easily.

Mobility

Moreover, Cybernet has a line of medical grade fanless all-in-ones that sport a unique power output technology and hot-swap batteries. This means you can run your computer 24/7 in virtually any location, although it is ideal for non-powered medical carts. Their unique feature, though, is the power output technology that lets them power connected peripherals. It is a completely autonomous fanless all-in-one build that powers itself and its peripherals – barcode reader, printer, keyboard, and others. No more dependence on electrical outlets, UPS or bulky battery-powered carts. So fanless AIOs are also mobile, and easy to handle

Cybernet Fanless All-in-One Computers

We have a line of medical grade fanless all-in-one computers with antimicrobial coating and ingress protection perfect for disinfection with liquids. We also offer industrial fanless all-in-one PCs designed for the factory floor, warehouse, oil, and gas or mining industry.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so our computers are highly customizable and upgradeable. Contact our representatives today to get more information about our fanless all-in-one computers or request a free demo unit!

Top 10 Benefits of Medical PCs with Hot Swap Batteries [Infographic]

More and more medical and IT professionals are turning to medical computers with hot swap batteries to reduce costs and improve hampered workflow, particularly while using unpowered medical carts.

With a medical computer powered by hot swap batteries, medical staff can enjoy entire shifts without worrying about finding an outlet or running out of power.

However, not all medical computers with hot swap batteries are created equal. So what do you need to know?

This infographic sets out to answer questions about the value of medical computers with hot swap batteries, their cost effectiveness, and what to look for in hot-swap batteries to ensure their safety and reliability.

Why medical PCs with hot swap batteries are becoming popular in healthcare

How to Succeed with Value-Based Care Using Health IT

Value-Based Reimbursements and The Times of Uncertainty

GOP leaders have recently unveiled their Affordable Care Act repeal-and-replace proposal that plans to give states more Medicaid control, cut federal Medicaid expansion and restructure how patients pay for their health insurance. The healthcare executives, on the other hand, are keen on keeping some ACA provisions intact, particularly the transition to the value-based reimbursement. So, most likely value-based care is not going anywhere even if some parts of the ACA get repealed and replaced eventually.

Whatever the outcome of the ACA repeal-and-replace is, there is one thing providers know for certain – it is not raining dollars. So doing more with less (and doing it better and faster) is a strategy for survival in the value-based care.

There are several key aspects providers can focus on to achieve positive outcomes in the value-based care – interoperability, medical automation, digitization, device convergence/integration/compatibility, and ease of use.

Interoperability

The industry has an urgent need to build interoperability into every HIT solution. HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (the FHIR standard) is being deployed by forward-thinking vendors and in in-house provider solutions.

Streamlining information exchange across platforms requires industry-wide implementation of a unified standard, and FHIR seems to have gained traction. When implementing, vendors and providers should keep in mind the resulting interfaces and data presentation should be simple.

The wealth of health data, when its fragments are consolidated from across different platforms, can be overwhelming to the detriment of the very purpose of interoperability, which is to give the physician a complete picture of the patient’s care history. Therefore, the focus on simplicity and consistency of presented data and usability of the interface is imperative for your interoperability strategy.

Medical Automation and Clinical Decision Support Tools

As is the case with industrial automation, medical automation frees up human time for the efficient patient care. Automating routine, tedious tasks within the medical field reduces human errors, cuts costs and increases the productivity of your staff.

The machine-level accuracy and reproducibility in patient monitoring, in laboratories, and pharmacies make tedious tasks of labeling, packaging, monitoring, scanning into fast, error-free routines with minimum human input. Medical automation increases positive outcomes, productivity and patient safety, decreases mortality rates and reduces costs.

An RFID-enabled medical tablet with an inbuilt barcode scanner, and equipped with medical decision support tools empowers a physician or nurse, freeing up more time to actual patient care, which is vital in value-based care. Such tool prevents drug dosage or dispensing errors, cuts down on the time-consuming research or cross-checking with different systems. Decision support programs accessible anytime, anywhere combined with the ability to scan RFID and barcodes automate the big part of the routine workflow.

It is important that all stakeholders understand medical automation is not replacing humans, but assisting them. For example, at a recent HIMSS conference, Houston Methodist Hospital held a session “Managing a Legacy Team in an EHR Transition.” Their strategy in helping the existing staff get up-to-date with the new HIT solutions is a benchmark for the industry; we suggest you read it. It consists of appointing trained team leaders to oversee the testing, deployment, troubleshooting and the transition to the new solution and keeping a close communication loop between all stakeholders. It helped the provider keep most of its medical talent, and prevent the existing staff from the otherwise inevitable anxiety of losing job to automation.

A critical point in equipping your medical staff with various automation tools is to prevent the user notification overload, which urges physicians to bypass or ignore notifications. It effectively nulls many positive outcomes of automated processes and decision support tools, so filtering and compartmentalizing notifications is a significant IT challenge for providers and vendors.

Digitization

Digitization and EHR adoption is moving forward in response to the transition to the value-based care and regulatory mandates. IT productivity paradox, however, suggests that the positive effect on physician productivity and the ROI for the providers will be tangible when all the imperfections are sorted out and users are accustomed to the digitized workflow. Technology does streamlined paperless workflows, but it takes time for the vendors to simplify the usability of their EHR systems, and embed interoperability. So that caregivers, providers, and payers can all enjoy a hassle-free data exchange.

Integration, Convergence, Compatibility

When integrating new HIT solutions into your existing infrastructure, ensure device convergence and compatibility with legacy systems. Consolidating multiple devices into one and ensuring its compatibility helps you address the cost, complexity and quality issues of the value-based care. So, screen your IT vendors and choose the solution that simplifies the integration of existing systems with the new IT solutions, so that your infrastructure is optimized and future-proofed for reliable performance in the value-based care model.

Device convergence or consolidation means you are deploying one device to replace multiple devices or tools. For example, one medical tablet replaces a desktop computer, a smartphone, pen-and-paper kit, barcode scanner, pager, TV/smart blinds/bed remote control, and patient infotainment terminals. It consolidates a wealth of applications such as EHR, clinical decision support, vitals monitoring, intranet communications, nurse call button and more.

Convergence approach also addresses an important productivity roadblock – tech fatigue. With BYOD and legacy systems, a physician is equipped with a handful of devices generating dozens of notifications daily. Desktop PC, a BYOD smartphone, a medical cart laptop, information kiosk in the hallway or at patient bedside – nurses and physicians are overburdened with technology.

Additionally, having multiple computing devices in daily use chips away from your staff’s working time as nurses and doctors need to conduct daily maintenance routines. Disinfection, battery recharge, or data loss due to power outage – how often do your nurses charge their powered cart computers or laptops? How many patients does a nurse or physician contact per day, and how many hands are working with your medical computers? Are there disinfecting procedures in place for your computers and BYOD devices? Most importantly, can they withstand disinfection? Hospital-acquired infections do not help you increase patient satisfaction and succeed in value-based care.

Therefore, deploying IT solutions that guarantee full-shift uptime and address all these issues in a single, HIPAA compliant, EHR-enabled, antimicrobial build with a user-friendly, familiar Windows interface saves your resources and eliminates IT fatigue.

Innovation – Follow The Lead

By 2020, the healthcare sector will have generated 25,000 petabytes of digital medical data. So, expanding on-premise data storage is no longer feasible as cloud solutions provide cost, accessibility and efficiency advantages. 77% of health care organizations plan to rely on SaaS cloud storage providers to maintain a high infrastructure reliability.

The mobile telehealth pilots featured by some providers at HIMSS17 show the future of the value-based care is in the ubiquitous mobile technology. For example, Houston Fire Department decreases the flow of low-acuity 911 patients to EDs by providing such patients with a live video conference with a remote physician through the medical tablets used by emergency units. With the physician’s expert opinion and alternatives well-explained, the patient is more likely to choose a scheduled clinic appointment, or a taxi ride to the ED, instead of the most expensive (from the provider’s perspective) ambulance ride to the ED. Read our Key Takeaways from HIMSS17 here.

Likewise, Palmetto Health successfully implemented EHR and made the transition to digitization by deploying Windows 10 medical tablets with digitizer stylus. The key features that facilitated the implementation are familiar user interface, excellent performance, and compatibility with other medical equipment, large screen, and Dragon dictation support.

Conclusion

There is no one-size-fits-all HIT solution for all providers. So, knowing exactly which features of a health IT solution contribute to your value-based care system makes it easier to forge and implement a successful strategy and maintain a competitive edge. Choosing the right IT partner that understands your needs is a prerequisite for success when advancing with your value-based care.