Tag Archives: medical computers

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.

Regaining Privacy In The Heat of A Hack

Privacy breaches are so frequent in healthcare, the sector has been cited as the most targeted by numerous studies. As the health IT continues to evolve, and facilities adopt more connected devices and integrate them into the existing system alongside legacy equipment often plagued by the lack of protection mechanisms, healthcare becomes the preferred target for many criminal entities.

According to industry sources, medical records of more than 155 million Americans have been exposed in nearly 1,500 data breaches over the last six years.

A data breach in healthcare is also quite expensive. According to Ponemon 2016 Cost of Data Breach report, the average cost per stolen health record is $355, which is twice the average cost of a stolen record in other industries. Another important finding of the report is the data breach detection time. The longer a breach remains undetected, the longer it takes to contain it and the more costly it becomes to resolve. On average, a breach detected in less than 100 days costs companies $3.23 million. Breaches detected past the 100-day period amount to an average of $4.38 million.

In 2016, 48% of all breaches involved a malicious attack, while 27% involved various IT and business process glitches and failure, 25% were caused by employee or contractor negligence.

The factors that were found contributing to the increase in the cost of a data breach are:

  • extensive or poorly thought-through migration of data to the cloud
  • a rush to notify
  • lost and stolen devices

Among the factors that reduce the cost of data breaches, according to Ponemon, are:

  • onboard incident response team (reduces the cost per health record stolen by $16)
  • encryption
  • employee training
  • participation in industry threat sharing initiatives
  • business continuity management

While the industry is mainly focused on data breach prevention, the strategies to mitigate privacy breaches are sometimes neglected. When a hack occurs, work in the medical space continues, so methods are necessary for regaining privacy in order to continue operations and patient care.

Recommendations

Data encryption. Under current HIPAA and HITECH regulations, patient medical records and other confidential electronic data must be encrypted, or protected by alternative yet equal means of protection. Therefore, medical computers and mobile devices must support full disk encryption.

Data must be encrypted at rest and in transit. Internal chats, email, telemedicine and video conferencing are also channels funneling private patient data, as well as databases and EHR systems, IoT devices and legacy equipment with integrated medical computers. The intermediary and the enabler between a hospital’s software and hardware is the medical computer or tablet. It is of paramount importance for the devices used throughout the facility to support encryption.

Access controls. Wireless networks must be configured to allow visitors access the Internet without compromising the hospital’s internal network and limit their access. Do not neglect the problem of employee left or fired access not terminated (ELOFANT). When an employee leaves, his/her password and access must be terminated, their physical devices turned in unless they were BYOD. Active users must be scaled to have access privileges only to the information they need to do their job. A system where all employees have the same access privileges is no longer viable for healthcare. Your administrator must have a detailed log of user activity – who accesses what data, when, from which device and what they do with it. Such reports might be overwhelming, but their value for data detection and mitigation is high, especially when it comes to liabilities.

Timely software patches. Cloud computing alleviates some of the data protection pressure, but the physical devices must have the current software updates and patches installed. Wired devices, wireless, desktop computers and data centers need to be up-to-date with the latest version of software, backed by firewalls, antivirus and antimalware.

Advanced authentication. Users stick to weak passwords and often neglect two-factor authentication, leaving devices that contain confidential data in public areas, where they can be lost, stolen, or accessed by unauthorized individuals. Advanced authentication methods such as biometric readers, RFID, CAC or smart card readers alongside embedded privacy filter have brought undeniable advantages to end users and healthcare facilities:

  • They make authorization easier for the end user. Users no longer have to memorize complex passwords and can focus on the direct task at hand – providing help.
  • They allow for the medical computer/tablet to be used by patients for infotainment or left in public areas of the hospital without compromising the confidential data because it is locked to the authorized users only.
  • They protect the sensitive data in the event of a device loss or theft.
  • Medical professionals like single sign-on (SSO) systems that allow them to sign in to all of their applications fast, while ITs appreciate SSO because it allows them to change the passwords, or PINs, on the back end if need be, and it integrates well with two-step authentication. Biometric or smart card readers provide a fast and secure second layer of protection to SSO.

Assume stronger oversight of your equipment vendors. Demand accountability. Choose the vendors that commit to the same levels of compliance as the healthcare providers, and prioritize cybersecurity. Look for HIPAA and Imprivata SSO compliance in your medical computers, tablets, and software.

Consider cyber insurance policies and stay in the know of the legal issues, regulations and liabilities under HIPAA, HITECH, and other pertinent legal obligations.

Document your data loss prevention and mitigation efforts because when the data breach occurs, you will be asked to prove your facility has been compliant with the current regulations. Documenting your cybersecurity efforts properly will help you clear your organization of liabilities in the event of a data breach.

Enforce a better communication and cooperation between your CEO, CIO, IT department, compliance and risk assessment officers on data privacy. From selecting a medical device vendor to documenting the data protection policy and data breach response plan, the crucial departments of your facility must work in conjunction.

Engage personnel in cybersecurity, increase user awareness, enforce training. C-suite buy-in is critical to cybersecurity of any organization, and health care providers are no exception. Without the support and enforcement on the C-suite level, the end user will not change the attitude or quit poor data management habits.

Conduct audits, as required by meaningful use outlined by Medicare & Medicaid, to discover vulnerabilities and develop action plans.

Develop a breach response plan that includes reporting obligations and entities, media response plan, user notification plan, and other system-wide protocols.

Work on raising patient awareness, encourage personal device encryption, strong passwords, two-factor authentication, and recommend your patients to restrain from accessing their health records when using public Wi-Fi. Your stance on cybersecurity will help your organization preserve a good reputation and maintain patients’ trust.

Conclusion

Encryption and advanced authentication are two most urgent techniques organizations need to deploy to prevent and mitigate cyber attacks. Username/password method no longer provides adequate security; it is also a barrier to fast access to data and applications for medical professionals. Advanced authentication that relies on SSO and two-factor authentication via a smart card or biometric reader provide not only security but also a jolt of energy for organizations deploying them. An actionable breach response plan and properly documented actions will help organizations minimize the cost of a data breach and avoid liabilities. A joint effort of key decision-makers, legal, financial and IT, help organizations not only screen their vendors appropriately, but also instill a culture of compliance and strong data protection, and broadcast a positive image of a provider that has a strong grip over their patients’ privacy.

Cybernet has an extensive line of medical grade all in one PCs and medical tablets with advanced security features.

How Aging Medical Technology Can Be Upgraded Or Integrated Into A New System

Value now plays a big role in health care more than ever and impacts the healthcare system, shifting payment models to value-based purchasing and pay per performance reimbursements. While budgets do not increase, regulatory pressure does alongside expenses and patient numbers. The urge to digitize pushes health care providers to seek affordable solutions that help them lower unit costs, operate more efficiently, and raise their quality levels along with increasing patient satisfaction. Providers are actively looking for ways to optimize the value of their limited resources.

Deploying cost-effective technology results in effective and efficient health care. Prolonging the life of the aging and legacy equipment plays an important role in this transition to a digitized health care. Nearly 5,000 types of medical devices are in use in health care facilities around the world. Reusable electronic medical devices last for 5-15 years, with 8-10 years being the most common lifecycle.

As new systems require wireless connectivity and system-wide interoperability, some legacy equipment that does not have these features may become obsolete before a provider is financially ready to replace it with a newer model. Some organizations are finding innovative solutions to upgrade an existing and aging piece of equipment or integrate it into the new, digital and connected hospital system.

Let’s look at how two organizations are tackling the challenge of upgrading or integrating aging medical equipment into a new system to help cut costs while still improving equipment and allowing them to offer top-of-the-line care at a fraction of the cost.

Peterson Regional Medical Center

Peterson Regional Medical Center (PRMC) needed to upgrade their medication dispensing system with a digital solution. Previously manual, their medication dispensing system was set for an upgrade to make it into a modern, automated system that is also easy to use for the nurses and affordable for the facility. PRMC had powered medical carts with PCs attached in their acute rehab department. However, those units did not perform well given the new medical dispensing software PRMC acquired and the overall scope of medical applications needed more resources than the old PCs could avail.

PRMC considered several options, including the laptops that were discarded due to the limited budget, issues with mounting, safety considerations, and ultimately, the lack of all the benefits of a powerful PC required by resource-hungry medical applications.

The hospital committee opted for an All-in-One PC instead, Cybernet’s iOne-GX31. 17” and 19” touchscreen, wireless, with modest power requirements, this ergonomic solution fit perfectly on the existing Humanscale medical carts. After a rigorous testing and positive feedback from nurses, PRMC ordered 35 units, complete with free disk imaging.

The carts were also supplied with wireless barcode scanners. The nurses found the new system easy to use and efficient. Dispensing medications now comes down to a simple automated process. The nurses now have computerized pharmacy authorizations available on the all-in-one PC on the cart that transports all the medications from room to room. The nurse scans a patient’s armband to view the authorized medications and dosages. Next, the nurse scans the medication to receive the dosage and medication authorization.

The nurses reported highly positive outcomes. They were able to complete extended medication rounds without recharging the carts because the iOne-GX31 is power-efficient and does not consume as much as the old PC they had previously mounted on Humanscale. The accuracy of medication dispense increased, and patients are receiving their medications on time, in the accurate dosage, at all times.

Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center gave a second life to their 8-year old Dräger MDS III Anesthesia Workstations by replacing the obsolete and too expensive to maintain computers with CyberMed H22. The aging computers experienced glitches during procedures, which threatened patient safety and reduced accuracy in EMR documentation and billing. Since anesthesiologists rely on computers to monitor patient vitals and keep accurate documentation during procedures, an upgrade became unavoidable. The old computers were past their warranty term, so the maintenance and repairs became too expensive. Long downtime and slow workflow affected the entire system.

In the modular workstations, the anesthesia machines have longer life cycles than the PCs, so the IT department wanted to extend their use by replacing the PCs. They needed a high-quality, EN60601-1 certified medical PC that can be configured to work with the anesthesia unit and be safe and antimicrobial, perfect for near-patient use in operating rooms.

The CyberMed H22 models were configured with the existing Dräger anesthesia machines and deployed in operating rooms throughout VCUMC, saving them the cost of replacing the failing legacy computers. The affordable and robust medical computers restored the workflow and quality of care.

Also, an all-in-one workstation simplifies the configuration of the anesthesia cart because there are fewer pieces of equipment, and less wire clutter.

The Key To Integrating Aging Equipment Into A New System Successfully

A medical computer has to offer extensive compatibility, upgradability, and safety features to be apt for the task, though.

Compatibility. When integrating aging equipment into a new system, it is crucial for the new system to come with the legacy ports necessary to connect the older equipment and allow the machine-to-machine communication between the old and the new devices.

Upgradability. When cutting costs is a vital imperative, it is important to deploy technology with affordable upgrade options. For example, medical all-in-one computers often serve dual purposes when they come integrated with RFID reader, CAC or smart card reader, fingerprint ID reader or a barcode scanner.  This way, a medical grade computer becomes the connecting link between the aging legacy equipment and the new systems relying on RFID technology that is often part of the infotainment systems.

Safety. With nosocomial infections being a serious liability risk for hospitals, the media and increasingly aware patients scrutinize cases when medical equipment is the source of spread of pathogens. In ICUs, ORs, and other near-patient environments, medical technology must be safe. Therefore, it must be antimicrobial, i.e. coated with an antimicrobial agent that eliminates pathogens in between the disinfection rounds. The casing for such devices must also be sturdy and waterproof to withstand proper disinfection procedures.

Seamless integration. There are many cases when medical computers can help hospitals connect the large variety of disconnected systems that do not “speak the same language” and bring diverse readings from sensors, monitors, pumps, and newer IoT devices. Whether it be physical devices measuring patient readings, or software that transmits that data to a patient record, an integrated medical computer helps medical professionals bring the readings, analysis and recommendations in one place, refining the care they provide.

As providers integrate new technology, one of the biggest problems is how to stay within the budget and offer top-of-the-line care at the same time. Giving a second life to aging equipment with the help of the new technology helps hospitals postpone the acquisition of new equipment for several years. That way, healthcare facilities can maintain aging equipment functional, and replace it only when it is feasible.

Integrating Computers That Serve Dual Purposes Into The Medical Space

Health IT is improving patient health, data collection and safety, care quality and efficiency, but most importantly it is helping providers restrain rising costs. Through the implementation of technology that serves dual, or often times multiple, purposes, healthcare providers are introducing new IT solutions and cutting unnecessary spending. With the advent of specialized, medical grade computers, hospitals are finding ways to address both the doctors and nurses’ efficiency and productivity issues and patient satisfaction, which is directly tied into the provider’s rewards under the Affordable Care Act.

Hospitals recognize the value of a dual purpose computer integrated into the hospital rooms. Health IT, according to a RAND research, could account for $77 billion efficiency savings per year, when implemented fully.

Doctors and Nurses

Medical computers at the patient bedside are used by doctors, nurses and patients alike, and provide an unprecedented level of connectivity and efficiency to all.

EHR implementation is urged by the government, and providers adopting it seek ways to make their EHR systems mobile and accessible in real time. When doctors are able to submit the details of admission and all episodes of care at the patient bedside, no details are left behind or forgotten.

Fully-functional EHRs supply care providers with patient data, enable physicians to enter patient care orders and help make evidence-based clinical decisions. With a medical computer running an EHR system installed in near-patient environments, doctors and nurses no longer have to rush back to the office to enter the details of care, or seek a shared computer in the hallway. The immediate availability of EHR helps medical professionals reduce duplicate entries and test orders.

Computerized physician order entry (CPOE) and HELP systems enable physicians to order laboratory tests and prescription drugs digitally, without leaving a patient room. CPOE eliminates errors associated with handwritten prescriptions that are often illegible. The system checks prescription orders for accuracy and flags any that appear inadequate, effectively reducing preventable medication errors by 55%, according to a study.

HIT, EMR, image viewing, intranet communication and physician-provider order system – useful bedside applications are numerous. They store and transfers patient information, give timely recommendations on clinical problems, alleviate staff’s workload and reduce errors.

Patient Infotainment

Infotainment systems now have hospitals’ full attention since the Affordable Care Act makes their budgets dependent on patient satisfaction. Affordable and easy-to-deploy infotainment systems integrated into the existing hospital infrastructure without compromising hospitals’ legacy equipment make their way to patient rooms. They bridge the IoT devices, vitals monitoring systems, communication and doctors’ back-end programs.

Infotainment terminals enable patients to access entertainment and productivity apps and maintain a certain degree of productivity even during their hospital stay. Communication is vital in patient satisfaction. Not only can patients keep in touch with their family, but first and foremost they can reach the nurses and doctors in real time. This often allows nurses to provide necessary recommendations and help without having to be physically present in the room. Patients benefit from such interactions by maintaining a high level of independence, self-sufficiency, and improved awareness through timely communication with their caregivers.

Self-service attributes to patient satisfaction when patients can order meals after consulting the physician’s dietary recommendations, access online shopping, or control connected curtains, beds, and lighting.

Providers reduce preventable readmissions with the help of educational videos and slide shows that explain the necessary details a patient should be aware of after discharge. Such easily accessible, personalized educational videos and interactive programs help patients understand their conditions and alarming symptoms. Patients can revisit the information, conduct online research, and ask their physicians timely questions on side effects, allergies, etc.

Combined, these capabilities create an all-new patient experience, with an aware and engaged patient sure to give their hospital stay a high rating.

Integration

For the bedside computers to deliver their promise and serve multiple purposes, several obstacles must be overcome.

Interoperability. First, the computers must be able to speak the legacy language and be compatible with the older equipment. Many systems must be linked at the bedside to serve the doctors, so the support for legacy equipment is critical.

Connectivity. Health information exchange (HIE) allows the healthcare providers exchange clinical information across a region, community or country. Besides the HIEs, connectivity is also the wired and wireless connection options. In a perfect scenario, a medical computer installed at bedside should contain as little wiring as possible, to ensure safety and protection from electrical hazards. From this perspective, computers that come with Power-over-Ethernet capability are ergonomic and cost-effective solutions.

Hardware. Computers that serve a dual purpose at patient bedside must be powerful enough to run the resource-hungry EHR programs, yet easy-to-use for the patients. Hence, such technology calls for high-quality components, long product lifecycle, low maintenance costs and low fail rate to prove their value to healthcare facilities that can not afford to replace computers too often.

Safety. Safety certifications such as ingress protection, CDC guidelines and other must be in place for a multipurpose computer installed at the patient bedside. Moreover, with the hospital acquired infections being a serious liability and readmission risk, computers must be easy to disinfect, or better yet, antimicrobial. Plastic casing and touchscreen in regular touch devices are infested with pathogens. Consumer grade touchscreens can not withstand proper disinfection, so an antimicrobial coating on touch screens and a sturdy casing that withstands disinfection with chemical solutions are a must for bedside terminals.

Security. Since dual-purpose computers are used by multiple users, the adequate data protection is necessary. Patients are becoming increasingly cautious about data privacy while doctors and nurses can’t spend too much time on complex password-reliant authorization procedures every time they need to access patient records from a bedside computer. Yet, a data breach is a serious liability under HIPAA. Therefore, medical computers must provide solid data protection mechanisms – encryption, secure user authentication with biometric readers, RFID readers, or Smart Card readers, access restriction to sensitive data, remote location and disk wiping in case of a theft. Such stringent data protection requirements call for the integration of the advanced authentication mechanisms into the build of the computer (integrated smart card or RFID reader and biometric reader).

Such computers can not be consumer versions of mobile devices running Android or iOS. Only Windows or Linux are capable of providing the complete compatibility with the security software and remote access solutions used in healthcare. Patients must feel assured that their records are accessed only by the personnel with a legitimate need to know.

Cost. The affordability of dual-purpose health IT systems is often a deal breaker, where the cost of ownership, maintenance, and fail rate must meet the industry expectations. Medical equipment is more durable than consumer electronics. Therefore, medical computers must be at par with the other equipment to provide the durability and 24/7 uptime for years to come.

When the above requirements are met, integration of dual-purpose All-in-One computers in hospital rooms is cost-effective, while its benefits are generous. Cybernet tracks the vital needs of the healthcare industry in real time, so we build our medical computers aiming to exceed our clients’ expectations.

Responding To Budget Cuts In The Healthcare Industry Through Technology That Serves A Dual Purpose

The financial climate in the US healthcare is currently termed as “an acute funding crisis.” With severe budget cuts in hospital payments, the healthcare system is under a great pressure. On the one hand, the Affordable Care Act urges facilities to adopt healthcare IT such as EMRs and increase the digitization of the workflow. Medicare & Medicaid are shifting from fee-for-service to value-based incentives rewarding cost-effective patient care and high quality. On the other hand, the budget cuts aren’t helping hospitals make the necessary investment in healthcare IT. Hospitals are seeking ways to reduce spending, comply with the regulations and provide better healthcare at the same time.

Science and technology are key enablers in finding ways of improving the quality and efficiency of care and reducing cost. The effective use of technology helps hospitals tackle the budgeting challenge with the all-in-one, multi-purpose devices. Traditional, consumer computers and laptops are giving way to medical all-in-ones while the advent of mobile technologies sees a wide adoption of medical mobile devices.

Installation

Medical all-in-one PCs are transformers of sorts, so no wonder healthcare facilities are solving the problem of space constraints through ergonomic solutions. A computer that has been designed for medical use can be mounted on a wall, on a cart, on the desktop, or at the patient bedside, in operating rooms, intensive care units. Standard VESA holes allow for the easy installation in most hospital areas in a simple, affordable manner.

Deployment

Hardware providers are looking to cater increasingly customizable solutions. Healthcare facilities can order no cost disk imaging, so their computers are shipped with their operating system of choice complete with their enterprise license. This also means the computers come with zero bloatware and the complete productivity suite already installed. It significantly reduces the strain on the overloaded hospital IT staff, reducing the time and cost of the deployment of new devices.

Integration, Interoperability

A medical all-in-one computer or tablet gets naturally integrated into the existing ecosystem of a healthcare facility, further cutting the deployment costs. For example, integration with EMR charting systems such as EPIC, eClinical, Cerner, Meditech and Nextgen, or anesthesia applications does not require additional resources.

A seamless integration also suggests the device’s compatibility with legacy hardware. Support for legacy equipment brings a unified, connected data flow to a medical computer, and when used in conjunction with cloud sync, it provides the personnel with a timely access to critical information about all episodes of care and relevant tests, conditions and reading from the legacy equipment.

Staff Training

It is one thing when decision-makers introduce new technology with the aim to cut a facility’s spending, but it is a different story when the end user on the front line has to make that device work. From that perspective, Windows-based all-in-one computers and tablets require a minimum investment of time or funds. The touchscreen technology has been in the arena for quite a while now, and healthcare workers have been using their personal devices for work during the past few years now (BYOD). Windows-based touchscreens in all-in-one computers and tablets are easy-to-use. They represent the touch-based variant of their traditional desktop computers, so the only aspect requiring additional instructions would be the use of integrated peripherals and biometric authentication.

Serving Multiple Purposes & Streamlining Workflow

Big Data

The use of data in and of itself is a great enabler of healthcare modernization through:

  • boosting medical automation
  • meaningful use of EHR
  • remote patient vitals monitoring
  • reducing errors and avoidable overuse such as duplicate tests
  • advancing telemedicine and as a result reducing readmissions and preventable admissions
  • providing connectivity and timely access to data

Security, Tracking, Automating

The technology that serves multiple purposes integrates a few more cost effective solutions:

  • integrated biometric readers/fingerprint scanners that safeguard sensitive records
  • integrated RFID reader for enhanced patient and inventory tracking
  • integrated CAC/ smart card reader for secure user authentication
  • integrated Barcode reader for a multitude of applications

While biometric readers and smart cards serve the purpose of secure user authentication, RFID and barcode technology has a significantly wider adoption in healthcare – from medication tracking to patient identification, anti-abduction and anti-elopement, counterfeit programs and much more.

Mobility, Patient Monitoring and Involvement

Medical mobile tablets push the boundaries even further. Because they are rugged, they are mounted in ambulance vehicles and used on the go by the first responders. In hospitals, they empower doctors and nurses via a meaningful use of EHR and patient vitals tracking. A medical tablet is widely used by doctors for patient tracking and EMR, and by patients for infotainment, which has proved to increase patient satisfaction significantly.

Through the use of HELP and Apache applications and an integrated barcode scanner in medical mobile tablets, doctors reduce prescription and diagnostic errors, enhance medication prescription and dispensing, as well as streamline prescription issuing.

Fail Rate, Cost of Ownership, Lifespan

The true ROI of healthcare IT is best seen in the long-term perspective, the so-called cumulative impact or “productivity paradox of IT.” Medical computers and tablets that are at par with the industry requirements have a lifespan significantly longer than that of the consumer counterparts used in healthcare.

The increased lifespan is possible due to the low fail rates of medical all-in-ones and tablets, less than 2%. Quality, military-grade components ensure the durability and dependable MTBF of the discreet parts. In some cases, a fanless build adds even more to the equation by eliminating moving parts and deploying a passive cooling system.

Hence, the low fail rate and long lifespan of medical all-in-ones reduce maintenance, repair and replacements costs otherwise inevitable with consumer-grade computers.

Compliance, Liabilities

HIPAA, HITECH, IDC et al. add more strain on the hospitals’ budgets – compliance and liabilities stemming from non-compliance. Data protection and prevention of nosocomial infections are high on the agenda for healthcare facilities. Failure to deploy adequate means of data protection such as encryption and proper user authentication may result in significant fines. Likewise, high rates of hospital-acquired infections account for the bigger part of hospital readmissions. Not to mention how they affect the patient satisfaction.

Medical computers and tablets now address both of these nagging issues. Data security – through integrated biometric or CAC readers, nosocomial infections – through antimicrobial housing and touchscreen.

Even though the cost of delivering quality healthcare is spiraling, the effective use of ergonomic technology that serves multiple purposes helps hospitals reduce costs in both short- and long-term perspective.

Improving The Process Of Disinfecting Technology Within A Medical Space

Bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites are the causes of Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs), and a formidable challenge to healthcare facilities. Environmental sources of these infections are difficult to eliminate; their consequences are hard to treat, and sometimes lethal.

The five types of infections account for more than 85% of HAIs:

  • Pneumonia
  • Clostridium difficile infection
  • Surgical site-related infections
  • Urinary tract infections from catheterization
  • Bloodstream infections associated with Central Line

According to CDC, about 722,000 HAIs occur in U.S. hospitals every year, with 75,000 patients dying as a result. 50% of HAIs occur outside intensive care units (ICUs).  The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control reports HAI rate as 7.1% in 2008, which translates to 4 million patients. The World Health Organization reports approximately 8.7% of patients worldwide develop an HAI. (Source)

Touch As The Means of HAIs Transmission

Hospitals abound in surfaces, which serve as a reservoir of pathogenic microbes, and play a key role in the transmission of HAIs. Pathogens persist for weeks, sometimes months, on common surfaces such as TV remotes, call buttons, medical device controls, computer touchscreens. Pathogens from these surfaces spread directly to patients by touch. Patients get infected indirectly when a healthcare worker transmits pathogens from contaminated surface onto the patient or medical equipment. In most cases, touch is the most common means of HAIs transmission.

Affordable Care Act Urges Healthcare Facilities To Combat HAIs

HAIs prolong hospital stays, result in patient readmissions, increase treatment costs, and are some of the major causes of mortality today. Under the Affordable Care Act, preventable readmissions can lead to financial penalties to hospitals. This has increased a motivation to develop new strategies to reduce HAIs.

Challenges for Disinfection of Equipment

The effective disinfection of equipment is an important element in preventing the HAIs. Memphis VA Medical Center (MVAMC) investigated the areas that present the greatest challenge for disinfection of noncritical equipment in hospitals such as patient-controlled analgesia pumps, blood pressure machines, patient beds, televisions, computers, monitors, etc. Several key concerns identified are:

  • Equipment cleaning is technically challenging and time-consuming.
  • Lack of training in cleaning complex equipment.
  • Missed surfaces during routine cleaning.
  • Insufficient contact time when applying disinfectants on surfaces.
  • Inadequate cleaning of equipment in patient rooms and hallways.

Consumer grade computers, laptops and mobile devices used in hospitals can not be cleaned with disinfecting solutions that can get inside the casing and cause equipment failure. Yet, their screens, casing, and peripherals are infested with pathogens. Hence, they are difficult to clean and are often neglected. Hospitals might not have the policy for cleaning these devices, while the cleaning procedures might not be at par with the contamination danger presented by these surfaces.

Self-Disinfecting, Antimicrobial Surfaces

“Self-disinfecting” surfaces are becoming popular in healthcare, and the adoption rates of equipment and furniture with antimicrobial coating increases. Antimicrobial surfaces, as a rule, contain heavy metals such as silver or copper and other natural materials that have innate antimicrobial properties. Both copper and silver have been used for centuries for infection control practices.

Silver-impregnated privacy curtains have been shown to reduce or delay the infestation of curtains with pathogens.

Impregnating equipment surfaces with copper has been proven to reduce bacterial contamination of surfaces and reduced HAIs, according to a study “Copper surfaces reduce the rate of HAIs in the intensive care units.” According to the International Copper Association, antimicrobial copper continuously reduces bacterial contamination. Through the effective use of antimicrobial agents in surface coating, it is possible to achieve 99.9% reduction of gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria.

Copper continues to kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi even after repeated contamination and between routine cleaning during the entire product lifecycle.

Besides copper and silver, there is a number of other chemical compounds that are toxic to microorganisms. Some devices may be treated by attaching a polymer or polypeptide to their surface.

Healthcare Applications Call for Antimicrobial Surfaces

The antimicrobial coating, when implemented in medical grade panel PCs, tablets, computers and All-in-One PCs is quickly becoming the new norm for healthcare organizations. ICUs, surgery rooms, patient rooms and other near-patient areas call for equipment that is easy to disinfect, but also antimicrobial in its nature. Some devices now come with the antimicrobial coating in touchscreens, others come with full antimicrobial casing, as CyberMed RX.

Since mobile devices are widely used in U.S. hospitals, they easily travel from patient rooms to operating rooms,  labs, and ICUs, thus becoming the common means of transmitting HAIs. A study in Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials showed bacterial growth on 94.5% of consumer-grade mobile phones used in 14 operating rooms and ICUs. 89.5% of participants never cleaned their mobile phones. Moreover, healthcare workers are not washing their hands often enough, and the compliance rate at many hospitals is as low as 30%. Hence, consumer devices aren’t fit for use in healthcare, especially in near-patient environments.

Disinfection vs Cleaning

Disinfection of touchscreens and casing is not identical to cleaning. A device has to be disinfected after it has been cleaned. CDC defines disinfection as “the use of chemical procedure” that kills all recognized pathogens. However, the frequency of cleaning of touchscreens and tablets used in healthcare is not consistent.

Therefore, a surface that is not antimicrobial can be even more contaminating due to the inconsistent or inadequate disinfection amplified by the failure of workers to adhere to the hand washing requirements.

Antimicrobial surfaces continue killing pathogens in between the disinfection procedures, thus effectively decreasing the contamination risk.

Ingress Protection

Another issue with consumer grade electronics used in healthcare is it can not withstand proper disinfection required in hospitals. Many chemicals in disinfecting solutions have a harsh impact on the casing and touchscreens of common computers and mobile devices. For a computer or mobile device to be apt for disinfection, it should have adequate ingress protection (IP) sealing to prevent the solutions from penetrating the device or damaging its casing. IP also dictates for the casing to be sturdy enough to prevent the material deterioration from the harsh chemicals in disinfecting solutions.

Choosing The Right Device

Hospital administrators need to take into account the risk of HAIs inherent in the use of consumer-grade equipment in hospitals and look towards the medical grade computers and tablets designed for use in healthcare. Even though CDC lists mobile devices as “noncritical equipment,” studies show how non-antimicrobial surfaces are quickly infested with pathogens increasing the HAIs rates. Incorporating computers and tablets with antimicrobial coating and casing allows hospitals to harness the benefits of hi-tech mobility and infotainment without compromising patient and doctor safety.

Top 5 Advances in Medical Computers in 2015

Technology has come a long way over the past several decades, and this has led to some truly amazing advancements in the medical field. Today’s healthcare technology is certainly keeping up with “the times” as they continue to evolve. There’s a plethora of promising healthcare technologies currently being developed as we speak, with many more sure to be emerging in the near future.

Below, you will find the top 5 advances in medical computers in 2015:

1. Robotic Surgery “Flight Simulator” Training

The RPCI (Roswell Park Cancer Institute) is climbing up the surgical training ladder and becoming a leader in the industry. This is mainly due to the collaboration of creativity between the RPCI Center for Robotic Surgery and the University at Buffalo’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The performance of surgical procedures has always required several years of medical training, most of which takes place in a live medical environment, until recently that is.

Now, what sane person would voluntarily board a commercial airplane knowing that the pilot of that aircraft was training on their very first flight? Most of us think of airplane pilots as very experienced, professional fliers.  A lot of pilots initially learn to fly a plane in a realistic “simulated” environment. They actually learn to pilot a plane without ever once touching a real flight control. The medical field should treat surgery with the same approach, and should expect that “the kinks” have already been worked out.

A mechanism called RoSS (Robotic Surgery Simulator) is transforming the way surgeons perfect their skills. It allows for real-world viewing of actual surgeries, giving aspirant, practiced and/or professional surgeons opportunities to experiment in a simulated environment. It essentially gives them the tools needed to “get things right” for when they actually perform the surgeries in real life.

This tool has been around for a short while, but now, Simulated Surgical Systems is producing them.

2. Enterprise Cloud Business Software Systems

With applications like referralMD Physician Referral Management Platform In the Cloud, providers from literally every field of medical practice can reach out to build and maintain relationships with networks of referring providers without having to rely the old system of using referral pads. It gives medical providers the ability to create digital referral letters and the organization can promote themselves to literally millions of prospective patients and other medical providers who may be seeking treatment options.

This also eliminates the headache of medical providers having to keep tons of paper forms in their offices for each specialist they are working with, thus eliminating gaps in care and loss of money, and decreasing the potential of medical malpractice lawsuits.

3. The General “Hospital Room” Experience

Companies like NXT Health are changing the “hospital room experience” for the better.

The goal of the NXT Patient Room 2020 from NXT Health on Vimeo is to both improve and enhance system interoperability to help eliminate technological clutter and wasteful redundancy in the rooms of many medical facilities.

This modernized hospital room design features a system that is both pre-fabricated and modular. The system also has interchangeable parts allowing the occurrence of adaptations with a minimal amount of impact on the operations of the facility. Also woven into the design are technological touch points that let the patients in the facility adjust the environmental features of the room, collaborate with their caregivers, and even connect with remote loved ones.

4. Holographic Images

Each year, over 2,000,000 people fall victim to hospital-acquired infections, and 100,000 of those people die. Treating these infections is costing nearly $20,000,000,000. A holographic input device, such as a holographic keyboard, could help reduce this high number of infections.

Being able to input data without having to physically touch devices like keyboards and mice could dramatically reduce the amount of germs and bacteria spread by improper sanitization of these types of devices. A company in Tokyo, Japan called HaptoMime has invented a technology utilizing reflective surfaces to design a “floating” virtual screen that users can still physically feel. Although this new technology is currently in its infancy, it may hold a lot of promise for the future.

Holographic imaging can also provide medical professionals with comprehensive views of procedural details.

5. Improved Blood-Test Experiences

A company called Theranos has designed a way to conduct blood tests using micro-samples of human blood that are 1/1000th of the size of a normal blood draw. This will result in a reduction of lab fee costs and an improved patient experience.

How Medical Grade Computers Are Benefitting Chiropractic Clinics

Man and machine are made to complement each other, especially when it comes to medicine. They go hand by hand, which is why professionals work with high-end equipment to produce fast, accurate data. This, in return, aids them in properly helping each individual patient.

While medical grade computers are commonly used in complex procedures like surgeries, one shouldn’t be surprised to see this same type of technology making its way into more traditional and less invasive areas of medicine, including chiropractic clinics.  While the care that chiropractors provide is rarely life-or-death, adapting technological advances are quickly changing the way that chiropractic clinics operate, as well as the care that chiropractors are able to offer to their patients.  The end result is operational efficiency AND better patient care.  It truly is a win-win scenario.

So, let’s take a look at how technology is changing how traditional chiropractic clinics operate.

Clinic Management Is Improving

Medical grade computers have been designed to power advanced, complex software solutions that make things like scheduling appointments and billing a snap. Office management is more streamlined and organized, which eliminates issues like incorrect billing to insurance companies and late payments to vendors and utility companies.

Patient Care is Getting Better and Better

While plenty of chiropractors still have filing cabinets full of paperwork, more and more are going digital. Electronic Health Records (EHR’s) are quickly becoming the norm – and before long, most experts expect them to be mandatory instead of optional. At the end of the day, EHR’s require powerful computers to securely organize patient data.

Here are just a few ways medical computers and EHR are working hand-in-hand to improve patient care:

  • Lessen the risk of data loss. Digital files are more credible than physical, paper folders since a patient’s entire medical history can be contained in a single record. Medical computers lessen the risk of losing or overlooking an important health factor that’s buried in pages of paperwork – an allergy or chronic disease, for example – which may affect a patient’s treatment.
  • Foster better diagnosis. EHRs, when coupled with other chiropractor related apps, offer faster health assessment and treatment suggestions. By using medical grade computers, chiropractors can attach electronic imagery to a patient’s file, including MRIs and X-rays, which improves efficiency while simultaneously increasing the quality of patient care.
  • Maintain precise records. Jotting down handwritten notes on medical records involves great risks. Misspellings of names and errors in transcriptions can result in significant errors that can affect a patient’s care. By using medical grade computers, there is less chance for human error since the computer corrects misspellings, which leads to more accurate notes. What’s more, medical grade tablets offer convenience on-the-go, so that practitioners can add patient notes to a file before or after treatment, which lessens the likelihood of something being forgotten.

Digital and Physical Safety Is Being Enhanced

These benefits are all compounded by the fact that medical grade computers are designed with safety in mind.  They are built so that patient records stay secure.  It’s not just what’s on the inside, however, that makes medical grade computers perfect for chiropractic clinics.  Medical grade computers, unlike normal PC’s, are fanless, which prevents dirt and debris from accumulating inside the unit. And the high resolution screens are sealed with an antimicrobial shell to prevent the spread of germs.

While medical grade computers are successfully powering hospitals, medical clinics and long-term care facilities, they are equally as suitable for places like veterinarian offices and chiropractic clinics as well.