Tag Archives: medical grade tablets

RFID tablet medical tablet

RFID Tablet Technologies Solving Problems in the Hospital

A hospital is an unpredictable environment. One moment hallways are calm and clear; the next, staff are bustling to get a patient into the emergency room. Errors are not uncommon. Thankfully, technology has evolved over time to address a lot of the problems we’ve seen in the past arising from miniscule errors. RFID is one of the technologies incorporated into the daily use of hospital tech that has been exceptionally beneficial for many reasons. Here are some problems hospitals commonly face that can be solved using a medical tablet with RFID technology.

Asset Tracking Using an RFID Tablet

A recent news report detailed a VA hospital was missing over 1 million worth of hospital equipment over the course of several years due to various reasons—improper and erroneous tracking, theft, or misplacement. Clearly, the costs add up quickly over time. Radiology departments are no stranger to loss either. They’re usually inundated with lots of equipment, both large and small. It’s easy to misplace a lead marker for protection against high radiation levels because they’re such tiny devices. Just one lead marker costs approximately 20 dollars, and if they’re constantly misplaced the cost can add up quick.  Missing equipment, such as radiation markers, can be outfitted with RFID tags, and hospital staff can locate each tagged object using a medical tablet with RFID. It helps to prevent misplacement and theft. The technology pays for itself.

RFID Tablets Aren’t Just for Tracking Equipment

We understand that the hospital is one of the last places anyone wants to have an extended stay, and so some patients—especially the elderly and mentally unhealthy—may be inclined to wander or hide. There was a recent case in South Africa of a patient hiding in the ceiling of a hospital and staff wasn’t able to locate the patient for 13 days.  Some sources online cite over a hundred babies were abducted from nurseries between the 1960s and today. RFID tablet technology can track where people are moving via tagged wristbands so, in the unlikely but very real situation of missing people or abductions, they can be located. RFID tablets protect lives. Misplacing a 30 thousand dollar surgical drill is one asset loss, but it doesn’t hold a candle to missing people.

Equipment Status Can be Tracked Too

Online studies point to numerous cases where unsterilized or improperly sterilized instruments transferred infections to surgical patients. Hospital infections can easily transfer if an instrument isn’t sterilized improperly—or at all. Medical staff can use an RFID tablet to implement new processes of ensuring instruments used in surgery are free of infection. Even linens can be tracked. Before they’re secured onto a bed, sheets with laundry tags can be scanned using a medical tablet with RFID to check their sterilization status. Infections drop, patients are healthier.


RFID Equals Improved Data Security

RFID technology doesn’t simply have to be about tracking equipment and inventory. Patient records must be kept secure. More and more hospitals are switching to some form or two factor authentication to sign into medical computers and tablets. Imprivata SSO is the standard that most hospitals used, and an RFID tablet that is already Imprivata certified means that your patients medical records are safe from data theft. Even in the event of the physical theft of a tablet, it would be impossible to access EMR software without the RFID card necessary to login. This not only keeps your patient records safe, but also insulates a hospital from any potential lawsuits that might happen as the result of a data breach.

RFID goes beyond just saving a hospital money from replacing missing equipment—it protects the lives of the patients and medical staff in a myriad of ways. Ensure your hospital has the proper technology to track all inventory, assets, and patients. Contact us here today to see how you can drive down costs from unnecessary spending and costly accidents in your hospital.

Computer on wheels or medical computer

Mishaps in Hospitals from Inadequate Hardware Problems

Technology is great. We can stick to 8 hour work days while increasing productivity and then go home to families or plan out our next self-driven project. Granted that’s what technology is supposed to help us do, but sometimes bumps in the road of problem A to solution B can be tech-central. Technology can fail, unfortunately. Thankfully, the time invested to restore tech to working order is a sacrifice hospitals are willing to accept to bring better and less erroneous healthcare to patients. However, when older and inadequate tech is more of a burden, it’s time to consider scrapping what used to work ten years ago with something that can reduce tech-related stress and hangups that drain more time than necessary to get the job done.

Spotty WiFi with Computers on Wheels

It’s a constant problem for the 21st century in hospitals everywhere—spotty wireless communications in every corner of the hospital building. Call up a nurse’s desk to ask what issues they’re facing with technology and inconsistent WiFi will be mentioned. Chalk it up to weakened signals from aging hardware and insufficient components. It’s not feasible to remove that problem for good, but it’s possible to pinpoint key factors in technology—mostly residing in a hospital’s medical computers—that can be improved so WiFi isn’t a problem of which patient room you’re in or where you’re standing. Here’s WiFi woes and ways to restore the fidelity in the “Fi.”

Take a hypothetical case—a nurse using a cloud-based EMR system on a cheap laptop finds that in patient room 105 the WiFi doesn’t kick in, and so entering information relies on memory, written notes, or a silly, cumbersome workaround. That’s not ideal for a hospital, especially when “zero” can be a dangerous entry for a patient refill or a different metric. If the IT department has ensured that the wireless infrastructure is the highest standard on the market, then the culprit lies within the laptop. The wireless card inside of the machine doesn’t communicate well with the wireless routers in the hospital.

If that’s the reason for the signal drop, it’s time for IT to consider upgrading their computing efforts to medical computers with Intel-certified wireless cards instead of laptops that power cheap alternatives. An Intel dual-band wireless AC card is the current standard for wireless technology in a hospital. Not only more secure, these cards have the know-how to switch between wireless routers on the fly without signal loss. Computers on wheels are often pushed through several hospital wings and floors, jumping from one wireless router to the next. Intel wireless cards are secure and stable enough to swap from router to router seamlessly. It’s a hardware standard that computers on wheels and medical devices need to operate optimally. Besides, less stress on the end-user is always a positive thing.

Hospitals Don’t Shut Down—Neither Should the Hardware

Twenty thousand hours. That’s how long a standard hard drive disk lasts per average metrics and regular use. It may seem like a lot, but that’s just over two years if you do the math. Medical computers operate at near 24/7 runtimes. If there’s a hard drive failure in two years, that’s not a very strong lifespan for a computer to store data. The last mishap a nurse or physician wants is for the digital rug to be pulled out beneath them with a hard drive failure while they’re busy entering patient data into a medical computer. The drive can’t be sent off to data rescue because it would violate HIPAA laws. So, what to do?

Thankfully, technology has improved hard disk storage so there aren’t moving parts to break—solid state drives have a longer lifespan than regular platter hard drives, but that doesn’t rule the smarter tech out of defect or an eventual kaput. A medical grade computer with a military-grade solid state hard drive will push that two-year average life cycle to beyond five years. If the looming storage failure is still a concern for staff—which can happen at any given moment—then a backup drive coupled with the original solid state can serve as a proper safety net. IT can clone the surviving drive and restore the medical computer to optimal working status. Besides, a computer cycle for a hospital should be five years to stay with EMR software development. Having a hard drive that’s graded to last beyond a purchase cycle is ideal.

Shoddy Medical Computer Touch Screens

Touch screens are breeding grounds for germs and bacteria. Introduce the dirt and grease from five separate individuals’ hands onto a touch-screen interface and an infection may reside somewhere in the fingerprint jungle. They’re not always the easiest to clean either—spray disinfectant directly on a medical monitor and the internal components could suffer from adverse effects from the disinfectant (broken pixels, unresponsive touch controls, or an immediate transformation into a paperweight) running into the crevices of the monitor. Some insufficient touch screen tech needs constant calibration to ensure what’s touched is the intended function. Pressing “Close” should never result in “Administer Medicine”—we shudder at that thought. But there’s still tech problems galore in working with touch screens that don’t measure up to what hospitals need.

The kind of tech needed in a hospital is what’s called 5-Wire Resistive technology. Avoiding too much tech-talk, it’s a more durable technology than capacitive because it holds up to scratches and cosmetic imperfections, it’s easier to work with since it doesn’t require skin contact, it’s cheaper to manufacture, and it lasts longer than the newer capacitive technology. Couple these features on a medical computer and bye-bye tech problems.

It isn’t intuitive to think of hard drives, touch screen technology or wireless cards when you’re talking about patient care. But in today’s HIT world, technology is one of the driving factors in providing the absolute best user experience for healthcare practitioners so they can focus on taking care of patients. For more information on how a computer designed specifically with healthcare in mind is different than a commercial grade computer you can contact us today to learn more about our medical computers.

patient engagement and medical tablets

3 Problems Hospitals Face that Can Be Reduced with Medical Computers

There are hiccups in workflow and patient care caused by universal problems in hospitals, but thankfully they can be shrunk. Before the communication age revolutionized how we do work, mistakes were abundant and costly. Fortunately for us now, productivity is higher and manual methods of patient care have been automated enough so error is nearly eliminated—for hospitals that stay current with technological trends, that is. Sometimes hospitals can get left behind by not advancing their technology to what’s available in the 21st century. Here are some problems tech-slow hospitals still face.

The Medical Tablet to Solve Medication Problems

There are a myriad of medication problems that aren’t as apparent with face value—improper medicine choice, prescription errors (yes, illegibility), improper medication strength, improper labeling, it’s an exhaustive list. These errors are classified as either knowledge, rule, action, or memory-based errors. These errors, all related to human interaction, occur when distractions are frequent or staff is overworked. We could go into detail about every possible example of an error and the simple reasons behind them, but the simple fact is that they occur and there are methods of reducing their frequency.

Remove the human error out of medication handling by using a medical computer or tablet with barcode scanner. You can identify a patient by their medical wristband by scanning it and then feeding that information into a medical device. A medical tablet can consult a database of medications upon scanning the patient wristband barcode, identify the correct medication, access previous healthcare records, pull previous dosage requirements, send information to a printer for proper labeling, dispense and bottle the medication, and then print the correct label, removing human error out of the mix. It’s a completely automated ailment-to-solution process for patients.

Constant Communication is a Must

According to The Joint Commission, communication problems lead to 70 percent of patient care delays. So how do we improve communication to see that percentage shrink? It’s not like all medical staff are available to take an impromptu meeting, and it’s certainly not ethical to pull out a cell phone in the middle of conversation with a patient to answer a text. Highly effective, constant communication is a must, especially after a nurse meets with a patient to discuss whatever pressing topic is on their minds—if a patient requests changes in medication, doctors should be notified immediately.

Nurses and medical staff can ensure constant communication as a group or on an individual basis with medical tablets. Some (if not all) EHR systems utilize texting software to instantly update all connected individuals of matters in the hospital. Using a touch-screen keyboard and their EHR software, they can text individuals as a group or just a single person for immediate information sending. A medical tablet is a better choice over other electronic devices because if any patient information is shared via a text, the information is kept secure and protected on the medical tablet. Plus, the proper medical tablets are durable enough to withstand shock and accidental damage in the case of a staff member with butterfingers.

Giving Power to the Patients

Decades ago, patients relied solely on nurses and staff to cater to each bedside request—and the staff wasn’t always available at the press of a button. Imagine you’re a nurse and three patients press the call button at the same time. There’s a conundrum of time and priority.

When patient engagement technology took off, it empowered the bedridden by giving them access to a food menu at whim, entertainment with a selection of movies, and an opportunity to stay in contact with whomever they wanted via teleconference. It’s trends in patient engagement that enhance a person’s independence by controlling more by the bedside to make their stay a little brighter. Nurses are called to the bedside less frequently so patient care can be their sole focus.

Addressing technological problems in “slow” hospitals is vital to overall success—that being sending patients home happy and in better health—and the technical solutions mentioned above are prime for seeing those problems go away. In the 21st century, hospitals need better technology to ensure fewer errors and empower patients. Don’t be left in the dust while other hospitals are miles ahead. Take a look at what we have to offer to modernize your healthcare facility and contact us today to see how we can help you improve the overall patient experience in your facility.





hot swappable battery on a workstation with wheels

Safety Awareness in Hospitals with Workstations on Wheels

Sometimes the smallest details of safety awareness in hospitals can prevent disaster. Fires can start in the blink of an eye. Tripping hazards may not be as apparent until someone unfortunately falls victim to a few dangling wires. It’s important to be aware of what could turn into a problem before the problem arises. There’s the obvious hazards like spills that need to be cleaned immediately, or frayed wires of a hospital appliance that need to be replaced. Those with a keen eye and a constant awareness of safety can spot hidden hazards, however.

Medical Cart Batteries Have Caught Fire

Recently, the FDA announced a lot of medical cart batteries have been malfunctioning, catching fire, or exploding in hospitals. The FDA received several complaints about these hazards in a 6-month timespan. They’re batteries used in crash carts, point of care medical devices, and medication dispensing carts as well. Many sources online reveal that battery fires in medical carts are very difficult to extinguish—they require burial to put out the flames! The batteries in question were certified and met all safety guidelines, begging the question of what’s causing malfunctions. It’s likely the case that the capacity and age of the battery are the culprit factors, so being aware of the capacity and how old a battery pack may be are strong methods of avoiding a possible explosion. If a medical cart and its huge battery are reaching senior status, it’s time to upgrade for the sake of efficiency and safety.

One way to overcome this safety hazard is to purchase a non-powered medical cart and pair it with a computer that has hot swappable batteries. There are a number of benefits to this type of solution. In addition to mitigating the fire hazard risk, non-powered carts are lighter weight and more maneuverable making life easier for nurses and other end users. Also, batteries can be taken out and replaced with backups while the computer is still running, allowing for 24/7 operability without the need to plug a cart into an outlet to charge. Because the batteries are regularly being swapped out of the computer to recharge, if there’s any sign of battery corrosion, battery expansion, or just a failure to hold a charge, the battery can be properly disposed of and replaced with a spare. Plus, the hot swappable battery is smaller than those found in medical carts. Since the medical cart computer relies on three batteries of lower capacity to operate properly, they aren’t drained as often and are less susceptible to overheating, explosions, fires, or other battery hazards.

Clean Up Clutter with a Workstation on Wheels

A common hazard listed by Department of Health and Human Services in their safety document is something we’re all capable of creating: clutter. Computers are often notorious hubs of clutter, especially when coupled with several peripherals like printers, barcode scanners and cords connecting a monitor to a computer.  Cable sleeving is a viable prevention strategy to defuse hazards, but a better solution is to minimize on cabling as much as possible.

Enter the best solution for reducing cable clutter: an all-in-one medical computer. It’s easier to reduce cable clutter if your medical computer system has fewer cables! Some units can be equiped with integrated fingerprint scanners and RFID readers, eliminating the need for 3rd party peripherals, thus eliminating even more cord clutter. Plus, with these sorts of computers they can be VESA-mounted into a workstation on wheels—the system’s few cables can be routed through cable management panels so they’re out of sight, out of mind, and off the floor. If you couple them with a wireless keyboard and mouse or use a touch-screen keyboard (very common on all-in-one medical cart computers), you’ve basically enhanced the safety of the workstation on wheels.

Protect Against the Unseen Hazard

The increase in computer usage for hospitals has been fantastic for productivity and other reasons, but research has shown a rise in VRE, MRSA, and PSAE, three common bacteria that are transferred easily through keyboard and computer contact. Infections from these bacteria are the least apparent hazards in comparison to battery fires and loose wires,  so it’s important to be aware of all that is commonly touched.

However, the solution to these bacteria problems can go a step further. Medical computers that are rated to be water and dust resistant (also known as IP65) can be disinfected freely and often by spraying directly on their touch screens. Also, if your keyboard is IP68-rated you can actually submerse it in water and spray on it directly to disinfect it heavily since keyboards see a lot of interaction from several individuals. In addition, medical grade computers will also often have an antimicrobial housing to further prevent the spread of bacteria and germs.

Keeping safety awareness in the back of your mind is ideal in any situation, but especially in a hospital where certain computer hazards can arise either from aged medical cart batteries, unkempt wires from poorly-installed computers, or bacteria that can infect several people. If you would like to find out more information about how medical grade computers are safer for your patients you can contact Cybernet here.

patient engagement technology and medical tablets

EHR and it’s Evolution into CHR: A Critical Look at Cutting-Edge Technology in Healthcare

Epic CEO, Judy Faulker, recently expressed her view how Electronic Health Records are evolving into Comprehensive Health Records—a term that evaluates more than just a specific window of sampling an individual’s health from doctor visits. CHR is a term that may be invented as the new EHR, incorporating more data and analysis of a patient that stems from their in-clinic or hospital visits and their time outside of a medical facility too. Foraging into a new technology frontier that implies a near-constant evaluation of a person’s well-being may sound like an answer that physicians have been looking for, but anyone who is ever a patient (all of us) could be under the scrutiny of patient tracking technology that could be always on, always tracking. Yes, the benefit is physicians can understand the entire gamut of a patient’s health by seeing comprehensive snapshots of activity from day to day, but do the costs outweigh the benefits? Are we already in the pathway of the “Big Data” steamroller? Let’s take a critical look.

Are We Already Headed Down this Path?

Many individuals are already familiar with utilizing in-home tracking devices and food intake monitoring, so the “at home” concept of tracking health isn’t new. Wearable fitness trackers coupled with diet and exercise apps are near ubiquitous in society today. There are also several medical grade devices like blood sampling devices or blood pressure monitors to see how trackable vitals are measured outside of the doctor’s office and clinics. But now that CHR is becoming a reality for EHR corporations, there are implications to consider about how this data would be collected into a central repository. If CHR will incorporate the data from consumer-grade devices into an EMR system, how will this data transfer occur? Would EHR software developers have to build integrations for the hundreds of various fitness apps and wearables that are available on the consumer market.  Would we need to entrust app developers and wearable manufacturers with the responsibility of building those integrations? We could see EHR software developers create their own consumer apps and wearables, but that raises even more questions. Would software developers even want to enter the arena of app development and medical device manufacturing? And if they did, how do get a patient to willingly utilize something they may not want to?

CHR and Big Data: How Accurate is the Information?

A patient may be under the scrutiny of a doctor for monitoring their food intake for diabetes, and it’s likely a common thing some individuals may “cheat” on their diet—maybe someone once logged a dinner of chicken and vegetables when instead they indulged a large burger and fries. That second iced mocha of the day might get “forgotten” when it comes time to update their food log. The same propensity to “cheat” when recording time spent at the gym lifting weights, or doing yoga can creep in if we are entrusting the patient to log their own activity. So manual input data needs to be examined and taken lightly if it’s to be wrapped into CHR. Plus, there’s the question of accuracy of wearable devices—many aren’t as devices used in hospitals, clinics and doctors offices. How accurate is a pedometer? How accurate is a sleep tracking device you can purchase off the shelf? Can that be incorporated into a medical health profile? And furthermore, even if the comprehensive data is used for analysis for health, can that be considered an invasion of privacy?

Is the CHR Data Secure Enough?

With potentially thousands of different devices tracking different variables such as food intake, steps taken, heart rate, and other measurable factors, there’s a concern of how all that data might be transferred to EMR systems. Since hospitals have begun implementing BYOD practices among their staff, securing has become a massive point of concern. Medical grade computers are specifically designed with a number of privacy safeguards built into them to protect patient data. Now imagine the security risks if data is being transferred from millions of unsecured consumer devices. We’ve discussed at length in the past that patient medical records are even more valuable on the black market than an individual’s financial data. Now you have to consider millions of new vulnerabilities for hackers to try and exploit. So how would a transfer happen? Wireless transfer? Patient web portals? If CHR is to incorporate an unknown breadth of data, will HIPAA laws need to be rewritten to account for vulnerabilities that can’t be controlled by a healthcare facility or a doctor’s office?

CHR Data and the Implications of Insurance

Insurance companies evaluate a patient’s medical history gauge what their premiums should be. It’s a given that if someone smokes, healthcare is more expensive for them. If we are to enter a new era of healthcare data, can insurance companies utilize more comprehensive methods of evaluating someone’s health? If a patient claims that they run three times a week, and yet their pedometer shows no activity outside of walking, will that reflect on their bill? How far does the willingness go to track aspects of someone’s life? CHR is prepped to track not only how we treat ourselves, but our social lives too. Will all these medical and social effects on our well-being be reflected in insurance companies and their premiums? While the intent of CHR would be to compile the most comprehensive view of an individuals health, the information could very easily be used to create more “high risk” pools by insurance companies, and could even price some users out of the market completely.

These are just a handful of questions to ask as the encroaching concept of CHR starts to hit EMR companies. They’re evolving, perhaps for the better of our lives and health, but there are strong implications of privacy, accuracy, security, and unfortunately impact on wallets too. For now, EMR systems have not yet seen that evolution, and quite frankly they shouldn’t until these questions are answered. We’d love to hear your thoughts as well. Please comment below and let us know what you think about CHR.


medical computers and their role with patient engagement in telehealth

Here’s How Telehealth is Revolutionizing the Way We Practice Healthcare

Telehealth is a topic under heavy study because it’s extremely effective at reducing time and streamlining processes for medical care. It’s a complex umbrella term that addresses physician to patient interaction, how medical records are viewed and delivered, physician care and outreach, patient infotainment systems, and other important factors. One key aspect of telehealth is patient engagement technology which we are seeing improve over time with the rise of smaller, faster medical computers. Here are some ways patient engagement technology is changing telehealth and making healthcare more convenient for everyone.

Virtual Appointments are a Reality with Medical Computers

Online videoconferencing is the first telehealth innovation that comes to mind. It’s still a common practice for people to schedule appointments months in advance for an initial diagnosis and then follow-up appointments to treat or cure an ailment. If a patient needs information from a nurse, it still requires an appointment, more waiting, travel, another waiting room, etc. With the rise of telehealth, patients are able to skip waiting rooms and connect with a doctor or nurse via videoconference with a computer in nursing. If live appointments aren’t available, patients can still leave video messages and possibly show progress of a medicine’s effect. Nurses can hold “question and answer” sessions to keep patients informed and use visual aids to help patients understand their health complications. Plus, medical records can be updated on-the-fly using EMR software, streamlining the process from patient feedback to updating medical records. Growing advancements in this field have strengthened the interconnectivity of rural areas with hospitals. According to an online source published in 2012 called The Role of Telehealth in an Evolving Health Care Environment, telehealth reduces cost and increases quality of care for patients that can’t easily access the nearest hospital. A recent dermatology study showed physicians were able to increase their patient head count by approximately 270 per month with virtual appointments. Virtual appointments are a growing trend and studies reflect it!

Online Patient Portals are More Common

Patients in rural areas don’t always have the luxury of stopping by a clinic to get medical record printouts, so now there are online patient portals dedicated to showing medical records. Patients can even take questionnaires to narrow down a medicinal recommendation from a physician, request prescription refills, look at bill and payment history, or communicate directly with nurses in an orderly system to relay information about healthcare developments. As reported from the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, over 60 percent of hospitals let their patients view, download, and transfer their health data in 2014. It’s a real growing trend now because of technological advancements with medical computers and web-based interfaces that take the waiting process out of healthcare.

Medical Computers Have Started Remote Patient Monitoring

Patients of all types struggle with time and keeping proper records for a doctor’s evaluation. Diabetics must watch their diet and monitor their blood glucose levels to track their health records. Clinically obese individuals transfer their caloric burn rate to doctors, necessitating another appointment, more travel, and more waiting rooms. It’s the same across the board for individuals with limited lung function, insomnia, heart palpitations, dementia, and other patients with measurable results of their health problems. With the advent of telehealth, remote patient monitoring can be automated and sent to a physician almost immediately. It’s all done within the medical computer, streamlining the process of getting information to the doctors without human error introduced.  The benefits have showed in research as well. As before, the key aspect to telehealth is patient engagement, and keeping patients informed through doctors’ notes and information about their illnesses has shown increased rates of consistent medicine ingestion and other metrics. There are interactive disease management programs in the field (BeWell Mobile for instance) that let patients send their vital signs to their providers electronically with quick recommendations from their providers on what to do if their symptoms flare up. Another excellent example is called the Virtual Dental Home, a telehealth program that lets dental health professionals transfer information between each other to assist patients in remote locations.

Patient Engagement Solutions are Integrated into Hospitals

One of the most desired aspects of telehealth is connecting inpatients to their families during their (hopefully short) hospital stay. Patient infotainment systems are a standard in hospitals because hospital guests can remotely connect with anyone they desire over the internet, along with ordering food, watching movies, or calling staff when necessary. It’s part of the entire patient engagement package, ensuring patients are well-educated on their ailments so they understand their role in self-care.

These are all results of advancement in medical computer technology pushing telehealth to expand healthcare reach, cut down on waiting time, streamline communication, provide remote monitoring, increase patient engagement, connect patients remotely with doctors and family, and deliver an overall better patient care experience.



Understanding the Unique Requirements for Medical Computers in a Hospital Setting

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

Medical Computers Need Antimicrobial Housings

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

Medical Grade Computers Need to Meet Standards

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

Hospitals Need to Operate 24/7

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

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

One Must Consider the Application as Well

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

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

5 Ways To Make Your Data Unhackable

In A Digital World, No Company Is Immune

The recent WannaCry ransomware attack wrecked havoc around the globe and highlighted the problems of cyber security in many industries. No country or industry was “left behind.” State institutions, telecoms companies, health care organizations, educational institutions, oil and gas companies, manufacturing across the world seized operations. Downtime, regress to pen-and-paper operations and panic – these are the takeaways of WannaCry for the majority of affected businesses.

Several issues have come to the forefront in the aftermath of the attack:

  • the use of the long-discontinued Windows XP across organizations
  • the lax attitude to software updates and data backups
  • the lack of proper security protocols

Fortune notes that “every company is a digital company now.” Every business nowadays relies on technology and the Internet for a variety of operations. Cloud is hosting a broad range of business operations from customer service to accounting. Once a company gains a digital footprint, it has a digital landscape to protect. One is inseparable from the other. Just like you protect the safe boxes in your office, you ought to protect the digital assets of your organization.

No organization is immune to cyber attacks. Small and medium-sized businesses might think they are not the priority targets, but reality says otherwise. SMBs are among the top targets for cyber criminals because they lag in cyber security, as compared to larger organizations. Additionally, SMBs present an easy entry point for attacks targeting their bigger partners, as was the case with Target.

Why Customer Data Protection Is Important

There are many reasons, but mainly due to – 1) legal liabilities, 2) brand reputation, 3) financial damage.

In the US, EU, and Asia, there are disparate, yet increasingly strict data protection regulations. Companies dealing with customer – or patient – private data are responsible for its privacy and security. Most known data breaches end up in administrative fines, audits and even revocation or suspension of license.

Once the data breach becomes known, customers seek to indemnify the damage of having their personal data compromised. Trust is broken, loyalty is undermined.

Brand damage usually goes beyond discontent customers. Lost contracts, mergers, and compromised partnerships can be enough to push an SMB out of business and cause a significant stock drop for large companies. Combined with the expenses associated with the downtime, breach investigation, and mitigation expenses, the cost of a data breach is an average of $4 million.

Must Do’s

1. OS and Software Updates

WannaCry outbreak once again highlighted the importance of timely patches and system updates. Many state institutions and businesses worldwide were reluctant to update from the discontinued Win XP to the newer Windows versions. Despite its convenience in many aspects, there are too many risks associated with running the outdated OS.

Windows 7, 8 and 10 can be set up to receive automatic updates and security patches from Microsoft. On the contrary, if uncontrolled updates are not in line with your company policy, your admins can control the updates.

Windows tablets, medical and enterprise class, allow remote administration, including the updates and fixes. Your admins can push OS and software updates remotely, overseeing the process for the entire fleet of your devices. This eliminates the pressure on the not-so-technically-savvy end users working with these devices.

Remote administration is an essential part of cybersecurity. Your admins can sandbox applications, disable apps store, webcam, microphone, or access to public Wi-Fi. They can black- and whitelist applications and connections.

Only Windows OS allows for such flexibility and advanced control over corporate devices, so business tablets and medical grade tablets powered by Windows offer the high-end security capabilities.

2. Secure Authentication

Advanced authentication is possible when software and hardware capabilities work together to ensure only authorized personnel can access the contents of the device.

BYOD does not provide the level of sophistication, ease of use and flexibility necessary to protect your corporate and customer data from unauthorized access.

Business tablets and medical tablets, as much as business all-in-one computers, incorporate the native Windows authentication features with security of RFID SSO, Smart and CAC card reader, biometric scanners and fingerprint readers.

Security must be robust but easy-to-use. When security is too difficult and time-consuming, the employees “forget” to adhere. Advanced authentication is indispensable under the circumstances. It allows you to enforce stringent protection and grant your employees the ease of use.

3. Safe Wi-Fi and Data Encryption

Data encryption is crucial in any cyber security strategy. Windows business tablets and medical tablets come with several USB ports, and support encryption of data on external hard drives. This means your workers can encrypt data on USB dongles and external hard drives directly from the tablet – fast, secure, simple.

Configuring your corporate devices to avoid connecting automatically to insecure public Wi-Fi is equally important. When access to corporate Wi-Fi is impossible, your business tablets will ensure your field workers are online due to advanced connectivity options. Supporting 3G, 4G, Bluetooth, GSM, CDMA, business tablets are not locked to any telecoms provider, so you can set up your payment plans and bandwidth the way you need it – not the way your locked device dictates.

4. User Management, Access Restriction

Restricting access to personal information (of your employees, customers, and partners) is essential to data protection. Employees who have no need to know should have no access to confidential data.

Likewise, administrators must be able to see who accesses what data, when, from where and what they do with it. They must be able to monitor incoming and outgoing traffic. Windows remote management streamlines user administration – adding, removing users and privileges, setting up accounts and passwords.

Employee Left or Fired Access Not Terminated is a severe problem that often leads to compromise of corporate data. Eliminating ELOFANTs from your networks is another must-do.

Employees with privileged access must be able to use secure connections when outside of the office (VPN, end-to-end encryption, zero-knowledge cloud provider).

Of special note is, again, advanced authentication for employees traveling with corporate devices. Lost or stolen corporate laptops and personal smartphones often lead to data breaches. That is why business tablets come with advanced authentication mechanisms on the hardware and software level enforced by the remote location, lock and wipe capabilities.

5. Data Visibility and Control

According to Veritas and Vanson Bourne, 52% of corporate data is dark data. “Dark” is the data a company knows nothing about. Some of that data is business-critical, and its compromise brings liabilities. Some of it is obsolete, redundant or trivial. It means companies are spending large sums on maintaining cloud and on-premise data storage, 50% of which is clogged with the dark data.

The loss of data visibility is a grave issue:

  • 86% of ITs believe the clog of data increases the time it takes to respond to a cyber attack.
  • The average cost of storing 1PB of data per year is $5 million.
  • You spend 52% of your data storage budget on the data you know nothing about.
  • Worse yet, 41% of that budget goes to storing the data no one in your organization has touched in 3+ years.

BYOD and unregulated use of consumer applications (cloud, email, chat) contribute volumes to the problem. Employees treat corporate storage as personal, uploading terabytes of personal photos, videos, movies, and music files.

With corporate-controlled business tablets, your admins can regulate the storage, uploads, downloads, installations and file sharing, regaining visibility of your data and identifying data that can drive value.

To prevent your IT budget from becoming bloated and ineffective, you must regain visibility of and control over your data. Corporate-owned business tablets let you do that. BYOD does not.

Why Patients Want Telehealth – And How Providers Can Benefit From It

A recent study reveals how patients feel about telehealth. More than 50 million U.S. consumers are willing to switch to a provider that offers telehealth services. Notably, patients want telehealth for a broad scope of issues ranging from minor tasks like getting prescription refills to managing chronic conditions and as an alternative to late-night ER visits.

65% of consumers want their primary care physician to offer telehealth video calls, not emails, or phone calls. Notably, most patients do not wish to switch a PCP because they trust their physician, but 20% are willing to make the switch to get the service.

According to 2017 Consumer Telehealth Index [pdf], 67% of adult patients delay visits to doctors. The reasons are obvious – high costs of care and, most importantly, long time it takes to see a doctor or nurse. For most U.S. consumers living in a city, it takes 18.4 days on average from the day they make an appointment to the day they visit a doctor. Once in the office, the visit takes 120 minutes on average – 100 to get in, 20 to talk to the doctor.

Having trouble to squeeze the visit into a busy schedule, or hoping the problem would go away on its own contribute to the list of reasons Americans are reluctant to see a doctor.

The patients delay seeking care for serious health issues, not just minor ones. A third of delayed visits accounts for serious conditions that could have cost the payer and the provider significantly less had the initial visit to the doctor been timely. Late diagnosis translates into aggravated conditions and more expensive treatment.

Delayed visits for routine checks and minor issues – preventative exams, flu shots – can lead to equally serious ramifications.

Time, Location, and Cost Benefits of Telehealth

With the waiting time and the tediousness of getting a brick and mortar appointment with the doctor, consumers value the time-saving advantages of telehealth. The survey estimates that when using telehealth video conferences with their physicians, patients spend an average of 5 minutes waiting, and 8-10 minutes “seeing” the doctor.

The great convenience of being able to have a video conference with a doctor from home, office or while traveling has significant cost savings for the payers. Increasingly more health plans now cover telehealth at a lower cost than a typical visit to the doctor.

Interestingly, the U.S. adults report their concerns were resolved completely in 64% of in-office visits to the doctor, and in 85% of telehealth video calls. A separate study found repeat visits for the same conditions within two weeks were lower for telehealth than for office visits.

Areas Where Consumers Want Telehealth

Emergency Rooms. 20% of Americans are willing to have a video call as an alternative to the late-night ER visits. The Houston Fire Department’s ETHAN program is a telling example of how telehealth averts low-acuity ER visits, ambulance rides, and makes the work of ambulance teams more productive and fast.

Traditionally, ER is a place with long waiting lines, and high costs, for both provider and payer. ERs, on the other hand, are highly overloaded, which does not help increase productivity or reduce staff burnout.

Telehealth is a lower cost alternative to an ER visit. Timely video calls help avert low-acuity ER visits, decreasing the pressure on the emergency care facilities, and the cost of care for the provider and the patient.

Follow-up visits. With preventable readmissions being a pressing financial concern for the providers, reducing the readmission rate is critical. 52% of patients want to use video conferences with their doctors for post-discharge follow-up visits.

Telehealth helps doctors achieve a greater level of control over the post-discharge care, give timely reminders and identify serious symptoms on time. Likewise, patients are less stressed physically during a video call than a visit to the office. Patients enjoy greater control over their treatment and are more likely to adhere to recommendations than with the office visits.

Chronic conditions. 60% of adult Americans want to have regular video conferences with their physicians to help them manage a chronic condition. Chronic conditions’ cost is high for the provider and the payer. So, telehealth solutions for such chronic conditions as diabetes and hypertension make care more accessible for the patients.

Getting a prescription refill is particularly tedious. So, most patients want their PCP to be available for a video call to get their prescription refilled. Half of female respondents are willing to have routine birth control-related visits via video calls.

79% of respondents who care for an elderly relative would like to be able to participate in the video conferences with the doctor. They expressed the need to be more informed and involved in the treatment. The group conferences doctor-patient-caregiver have a great potential to improve outcomes.

What This Means for Providers

One of the key takeaways from HIMSS17 was the urgent need for a patient-centric approach. As patients get more choices, they will inevitably switch to providers and care plans that offer more for less money. Telehealth allows patients achieve that goal – get an accessible care in a convenient format for the same or lower cost.

Doctors, on the other hand, want telehealth because it lifts the burden. ER units are more focused on acute patients, with the rest diverted via telehealth. Physicians service more patients in less time with video calls rather than office visits.

Combine that with the ability to complete EHR documentation instantly, during the video visit, sign prescriptions, view medical images, and get live updates from remote patient monitoring devices. That way, a doctor minimizes the time spent on the EHR documentation after work (2-3 hours of uncompensated time daily).

The benefits of telehealth for minimizing preventable readmissions and improving outcomes are significant. As much as in-room infotainment systems, telehealth solutions offer many user-friendly formats for educational material.

Now that providers see the wisdom in investing in telehealth, it is vital to screen solutions carefully.

Providers are responsible for electronic patient health information (ePHI) privacy and security. They need to control the flow of confidential data to and from their systems. Therefore, advanced authentication and remote administration are a must. Windows medical tablets have a biometric reader, CAC/Smart Card, and RFID Imprivata SSO. Add in the Windows native authentication mechanism, end-to-end encryption for incoming and outgoing data, and you get a compliant and secure solution.

Bring Your Own Device is not the best fit for the task. A fleet of disparate operating systems, rooted Android and jailbroken iPhone devices, poor cyber security awareness, bad browsing and downloading habits mean there is very little a provider can do to protect ePHI.

The providers need a reliable solution with minimum investment and maximum output. Windows medical tablets offer high ROI. Most programs are designed for Windows primarily, so you don’t need to cripple a desktop program to squeeze it into a mobile operating system.

Windows medical tablets have legacy ports, USB mini and regular ports, and allow encrypting data on external drives. They can run EHR. Resources of a Windows medical tablet are far superior to those of a typical BYOD device. Multitasking and viewing medical images is a breeze with Intel 5th-gen Intel processors.

Add in full-shift uptime with durable batteries, or hot-swap batteries, MIL-STD components, antimicrobial coating, barcode reader and full disk imaging, and you get a durable powerhouse that lasts for years.

Despite the seemingly low initial cost of BYOD, the total cost grows exponentially when you need to deploy mobile-dependent healthcare solutions. Only medical grade tablets are capable of powering your clinical needs, providing the security, resources, and usability required by your staff.

Creating A Streamlined System Of Work & Communication Across A Variety Of Devices

A streamlined and efficient communication provides consistently high levels of performance of the modern, mobile workforce working in the field, on the go, on the manufacturing floor, or from home. In order to guarantee a streamlined system of work and communication within an organization, your employees must be on the same page. The lack of coherence and data synchronization may affect their efficiency. Coordinated actions are only possible through applications that centralize data and distribute it across a large variety of corporate mobile and stationary devices. Organizations across industries use efficient synergies of the mobile and rugged IT solutions to streamline their communication and workflow.


  1. Open communicative environment. When employees and managers obtain a greater visibility into the company’s strategy, they understand how their individual goals fit into it. This understanding motivates and energizes employees to be more productive.
  2. Connect teams, enhance collaboration. Collaboration and collective brainstorms that engage remote teams to accelerate teamwork. Leaders timely communicate business strategies, teams easily seek out expert opinion inside the organization, no unit is cut out from the company’s environment, irrespective of the location.
  3. Optimize employee schedules. Minimize canceled jobs, lost time and missed opportunities by bringing the right people at the right time on any project.
  4. Employee engagement. People love gadgets, and with intuitive, easy-to-handle gadgets your employees will complete their reporting on the go. With online performance evaluation tools, managers can assess employee skills, identify whether more training is needed, or if certain employees would be more productive in a different department.
  5. Monitor business continuity, productivity. Enterprise productivity software solutions enable managers to track progress at every stage, engage immediate reinforcement, necessary coaching, or support to keep the deadlines on track.
  6. Monitor employee progress. Timely communication enables managers to track progress, alert employees to potential shortcomings, motivate, reward and encourage them.
  7. Analyze performance. Advanced reporting, operations analysis, predictive diagnostics help companies gain a deep understanding of inner processes, market trends, customer preferences, planning and operational flaws. Performance metrics, analytical and forecast reports help managers in redesigning deficient strategies. The growing trend in harnessing the Big Data is contributing immensely to the way companies make their forecasts.
  8. Boost cybersecurity. Cybersecurity is often viewed as a burden, but proactive industries are seeing it as a business enabler. Modern technologies enable a great level of data security through the adoption of the cloud solutions, full disk encryption, end-to-end data encryption, easy-to-use advanced user authentication with a biometric reader, CAC, smart card or RFID readers, user access controls, remote wiping.

How Streamlined Communication Improves Workflow

Emergency Responders

  • Video conferencing with first responders in the field.
  • Timely teams coordination.
  • Secure patient data transmission in real time.
  • Timely reinforcement dispatch.
  • Instant status reports, evidence collecting.
  • Secure and constant access to department network.

These and many other benefits stem from the use of rugged, medical-grade tablets running EHR, messengers, and other emergency back-end enterprise solutions.

Health Care

  • Persistent connection to the department network.
  • Telehealth, videoconferencing.
  • Decreased: paperwork, duplicate tests, errors.
  • Efficient medication dispensing, prescription management.

The use of EHR, Help, task management system, secure communication apps by doctors and nurses, RFID and barcode scanners in asset management and tracking streamline hospitals workflow and eliminates tedious manual data input.

Transportation, Pickup, and Delivery

  • Increased delivery speed with route optimization.
  • Mobile devices with RFID, barcode scanners for fast package scanning, deliveries recording, signature capturing to ensure proof of delivery.
  • Live updates on route changes, traffic situation, new delivery destinations.
  • Automated processing of shipment data to speed delivery.


  • Productivity and teaching tools available on desktops as much as on tablets are effective tools for managing students and enhancing the learning process.
  • Replacing paper with technology for tests and textbooks.
  • Extensive planning programs, note taking, student engagement software.
  • Faster results processing and scoring.
  • Streamlined collaboration on assignments with to-do and teamwork apps.

Asset Management Across A Variety of Industries

  • Track and secure equipment on the move.
  • Monitor activities of high-value assets.
  • Improve inventory accuracy.
  • Reduce inventory tracking time and cost of service.
  • Optimize maintenance schedules.
  • Manage maintenance costs through time and cost tracking apps.
  • Reduce downtime.
  • Increase technician productivity.

To streamline the enterprise-wide communication, companies need to account for the following factors:

  1. Device’s ruggedness
    The majority of U.S. office workforce relies on technology for productivity, and field workforce is quickly catching up with the adoption of rugged tablets. Choosing the environment-appropriate form factor ensures your employees’ are connected at all times.
  2. IoT and legacy equipment compatibility
    To ensure your employees can access the data from relevant IoT devices and legacy equipment alike, ensure their desktop and mobile devices offer the compatibility options. Wired and wireless connectivity, legacy ports, HMI capabilities – better compatibility means more actionable data and processes that can be controlled remotely or automated.
  3. Application-device compatibility
    One of the key aspects of streamlined communication and a work in-sync is your desktop and mobile devices’ compatibility with your communication and productivity software. With the majority of desktops used across organizations being Windows-based, the mobile tablets running Windows provide the greatest compatibility levels as compared to other mobile platforms.
  4. Data security
    Increasing your employees’ access to corporate communication channels and data storage requires proper data protection and user authentication. So, accounting for the hardware-level capabilities for data protection (RFID, CAC, smart card, biometric readers, disk encryption) is necessary prior to the device purchase.
  5. Usability
    The usability affects whether your employees use their devices eagerly or only when pressed to do so. Devices must be easy to use and carry around. They can not be bulky, heavy, or require too much attention during use. Besides a compact form factor and mounting, transporting or carrying options, your devices must offer a familiar user interface to ensure minimal learning curve for the employees. Windows proves to be the optimum choice since its desktop and mobile versions offer the same user experience.
  6. Uptime
    The cloud has made it possible to sync and deliver data to employees in any location, but the remote employees don’t have access to the cloud when their devices are down. So, battery life is important. For desktop devices, internal backup battery guarantees your staff can save their work and shut down safely. Alternatively, Power over Ethernet (PoE) capability and hot-swappable batteries with a charging station ensure uptime during power outages. For rugged tablets, opt for solutions that offer extended battery life or hot-swappable batteries with a charging station.Another factor affecting uptime is devices’ failure rates. Organizations are seeing wisdom in deploying rugged tablets with low failure rates in harsh environments since downtime and replacement costs have ruled out consumer devices from the use in rugged environments.
  7. Remote access capability
    To streamline your operations, ensure data security and devices’ performance, your ITs must be able to access the corporate devices remotely, be it to manage user access, install software or OS updates, locate or wipe a lost or stolen device, or collect analytics.