Tag Archives: medical panel PCs

Breaking Down the ROI of Medical Computers

It can be difficult for an IT department in any industry to convince a CFO to write a bigger check for computer hardware. The fact remains that medical grade computers are going to be more expensive than a commercial grade computer. But it is also important to understand that IT hardware is, at a minimum, a 5-year investment. So when you are planning your IT budget, you need to look at it from a long-term view rather than a short-term expense.

In this blog, we are going to provide you with some ammunition to take with you to your next budget meeting to help you understand the true ROI of medical grade computers.

Understanding MTBF: All Computers are Not Created Equally

MTBF, or Mean Time Between Failure, is a measure of how long a piece of equipment will typically last. A desktop computer has a lifespan of 3-5 years in a “typical” office environment. A hospital is anything but typical, however. In an office, a computer might be running for 8-10 hours at a time 5 days per week, before being shut down for the rest of the day. A hospital is 24/7, 365. That’s like driving your car home from work, then parking it on a giant treadmill, and leaving it in gear overnight while you sleep. The engine is going to wear down a lot quicker in that scenario. When you consider a 24/7 work cycle, that 3-5 year estimate ends up being closer to 1-2 years before you need to replace your hardware.

A fanless medical computer is made with industrial grade components that are specifically designed for 24/7 use. And because of the fanless design, there are fewer moving parts, meaning fewer points of failure. Keeping out dust is another way to extend the life of a computer. Eliminating the fan goes a long way towards accomplishing that, but an IP65 rating is also important. IP65 is an international standard that measures a devices protection against dust and water intrusion. Not only does this keep out dust, but considering how often hospital equipment needs to be cleaned and disinfected, keeping out liquids will also extend the life of your computer.

Spending half as much on a commercial grade computer today really isn’t a cost savings if you have to replace those computers 2 or 3 times over the course of 5 years instead of simply investing in a medical grade computer that won’t need to be replaced.

Eliminating 3rd Party Dongles

Hospitals and healthcare facilities have needs that go far beyond processing power and memory. HIPAA and other regulations are a constant concern for HIT managers. Two-factor authentication is quickly becoming the standard in hospitals across the country, and some states require it by law. If you invest in commercial grade computers, that means 3rd party attachments. You can find RFID and fingerprint readers for fairly cheap, but they may not be Imprivata certified – which is the standard two-factor authentication software. They also are easy to lose and break, and they take up valuable port space that could be used to integrate the computer with other devices.

Look for medical computers that have integrated RFID and biometric readers built in. More importantly, look for medical computers that are Imprivata certified. This will help you stay compliant with HIPAA data privacy concerns. It also completely eliminates the need to invest in 3rd part attachments. That might mean removing hundreds of devices out of circulation that would otherwise fall under the purview of your IT team to maintain, saving a lot of time and money.

Overcoming Break/Fix IT

In a lot of organizations, IT is viewed as a necessary evil. You need to keep hardware and software up and running to ensure productivity, but the department itself is rarely able to engage in revenue-generating activities. This is because there are literally hundreds of devices that IT is responsible to manage and maintain, and HIT staff is typically inundated with maintenance requests.

As we mentioned above, medical grade computers can eliminate the break/fix mentality that organizations place on IT departments. More reliable computers with industrial grade components are one piece of the puzzle. Eliminating 3rd party attachments is another. When you have a computer that simply works and maintains a long lifespan, it will free up a lot of time for your IT team to work on other projects that actually generate revenue.

Imagine having an IT team that has the time to speak with different departments to understand their challenges, and then devise systems designed specifically to improve those processes. Or having a team that can spend time aggregating data from different silos of information into actionable intel. You might even want to create patient portals or other ways of communicating with patients to improve outcomes. All of these activities can improve efficiency, grow the bottom line, and improve patient care. But they take time to implement. If your IT team isn’t constantly backlogged with maintenance requests, they have the time to take on these types of projects.

Reduce Expenditure on Medical Carts

Medical Carts, or workstations on wheels, are a staple in hospitals. Nurses and doctors rely on them to perform rounds and enter patient information in EMR software. Traditionally, a battery powered cart would power the computer, which allowed healthcare practitioners to go room to room with a consistent power supply. Powered carts are extremely expensive, however. Often times as much as 5x as expensive as a non-powered cart.

Medical cart computers powered by hot-swap batteries eliminate the need for a powered cart. Because the computer runs on its own battery power, and batteries can be swapped out on the fly with fresh ones, hospitals can invest in a less expensive alternative without sacrificing any functionality. In fact, even though a medical cart computer is more expensive than a thin client PC, when paired with a non-powered cart the savings can reach as much as 40% in initial savings. That doesn’t take into account additional maintenance costs associated with keeping a powered cart operational.

When it comes to IT hardware, any investment needs to be assessed over the long term. When analyzing total costs over a five year period it becomes clear that the ROI is better when investing in medical grade computers. For more information, or if you have any questions you can contact Cybernet here.

Patient Infotainment trends

4 Features to Look for in Bedside Medical Computers

No one likes to think about a stay in the hospital, and yet it’s sometimes necessary in order to properly treat a given medical condition. According to the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project, approximately 36.5 million Americans receive hospital care every year, with an average time spent of 4.5 days apiece. Bedside care remains an important part of overall patient care at medical institutions of all varieties.

Thanks to advances in computer technology, medical grade computers can now be permanently affixed to bedside stations. That, in turn, can improve the patient’s hospital experience greatly, as well as making it easier for doctors and other care providers to do their jobs. There are several important features that a hospital administration should look for in such computers, in order to make the best use of their location at the patient’s bedside and the attendant healthcare benefits that can bring. We’ve included a list of 4 of them below.

Antimicrobial Features Are a Big Concern

Medical computers remain a contact point for germs and contagions, since they’re used by a number of different people on most days and can easily be passed on to patients. The CDC estimates that approximately 1.7 million cases of hospital acquired illnesses (HAIs) take place in the United States every year, with 99,000 fatalities among that number. Bedside workstations are of particular concern, since they are in close proximity to patients.

The best way to combat that is to use bedside medical PCs with anti-microbial coating on their surface, or antimicrobial properties baked into the resin. That helps reduce the spread of germs on the device’s surface and allows staff members to use it with less chance of passing on any contagions. In addition, computers with an IP65 rating are protected against dust and liquid intrusion. That lets your staff clean the computer with liquid disinfectant – further reducing the spread of germs – without damaging the computer itself.

Ease of Access Helps Your Staff’s Efficiency

The patient’s bedside is where doctors and nurses check on the patient: monitoring their progress, taking key readings and administering medication if needed. Logging such data can be supremely tedious, especially when a practitioner has to write down data by hand for later entry into the system. A recent study by Forbes indicates that hospital staff spend an average of 2-3 hours of uncompensated time each day filling in such data.

Bedside computers allow doctors and nurses to access the data they need immediately. That ease of access can extend to taking readings and checking the status of medication, as well as entering the patient’s data into an electronic health record. Medical PCs with biometric scanners, RFID readers, barcode scanners and the like can pull up the patient’s charts simply by wiping a bracelet or running the scanner over a barcode on the medication needed. That, in turn, permits the staff to move through their rounds quickly, while still maintaining high levels of accuracy and ensuring that medication and other treatments are applied as required.

Patient Accessibility Provides Swift Answers to Basic Questions

Beyond the hospital staff, patients themselves can take advantage of bedside medical grade computers to improve their care. Specifically, patient portals, which give patients access to at least some of their medical records – scheduled appointments, lab results, discharge summaries and recent doctor visits, among other information – enhance their understanding of their condition and the means used to treat it. According to research from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health information Technology, 52 percent of individuals under care of a health provider accessed their medical records via a patient portal. Of that number, 80% considered such information useful to their treatment.

Tethered patient portals – those directly linked to your organization’s electronic medical care systems (EMR) – can easily be made accessible from a bedside computer system. A given patient can access the pertinent data via scans from a medical bracelet, allowing them access to said data while securing other information in the network that doesn’t relate to them. Access to such records helps patients better understand the specifics of their treatment, which helps illuminate their condition and eliminate worry. Patient portals also answer basic questions 24 hours a day, without having to wait for a doctor or a nurse to arrive on their rounds.

Infotainment Improves the Patient Experience

In addition to immediate information regarding their treatment and condition, bedside computers can provide infotainment options to keep patients’ spirits up and allow them to remain in touch with loved ones. Options such as these do far more than simply alleviate patient boredom. According to studies from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a positive patient experience makes it less likely that they will make an error in their medication after being discharged, as well as reducing the chances of re-admission by as much as 50%. That can translate into lower costs incurred by the hospitals themselves, as well as more successful treatment.

Medical panel PCs at one’s bedside can accomplish a great deal on this front. With WiFi access, patients can surf the internet or watch movies and television programs via platforms such as Netflix. Applications such as Skype let them contact friends or relatives, some of whom may be quite distant or be unable to visit them otherwise. They can even order meals from the kitchen, saving the staff the time and effort of having to take down their orders. Bedside computers can be readily equipped with the components necessary for such features, including WiFi access, touchscreen technology to operate the system, a webcam for Skype and similar applications, and a proper speaker configuration.

 

Cybernet Manufacturing offers a number of medical computers to serve at patients’ bedsides. For more information, contact our team today.