Tag Archives: medical computers

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.

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.