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4 Ways Telehealth Is Improving Patient Care

Telehealth is the practice of using medical grade computers and medical tablets to provide health care remotely. Telehealth practices put doctors in closer contact with distant patients, save time and energy with instant communication, and improve point-of-care services with accurate and detailed information. As our world becomes more and more connected, such practices will assume increasingly larger roles in the medical industry.

The practice of telehealth requires specific medical computers set up for such duties. When used properly, they can improve patient care in a number of ways, which is the ultimate goal for any medical organization. Four of the most prominent means are discussed below.

Time is a Factor in Wound Care

Immediate trauma usually requires immediate treatment, especially when it comes to physical injury and wounds. Getting to the emergency room can take up a great deal time, however, and yet the physician won’t be able to perform a diagnosis until the patient arrives on-site. That can lead to issues with dressing and care of the wound, and in some cases can even make the injury worse.

Telehealth practices provide a valuable advantage here. Using a tablet PC, the EMT can take a picture of the wound and send it to the hospital while the patient is en route. That allows the physicians to perform a preliminary diagnosis – including determining the cause of the wound, the extent of the damage, and any further danger to the patient, if any – without having to wait until the patient reaches them. That, in turn, allows them to recommend proper dressing and initial care for the wound, which can help stabilize the injury and minimize the damage. It also allows them to prep X-ray machines if broken bones are a factor and clear similar devices for immediate use when the patient arrives: further reducing the time required to treat the injury.

Rural Services Can Extend Their Reach

Not every patient can readily reach a care facility. People in rural areas, for instance, may be many miles from a proper hospital, while shut-ins and patients without ready means of transportation might be physically unable to reach care even if it’s not that far away. Physicians can schedule house calls, but it takes an effort to reach a distant patient, which limits the number of people they can treat in a given day and wastes a great deal of time in transit.

According to a 2017 study from American Well, 69% of U.S. adults believe that video conferencing will provide the best overall care (as opposed to merely 26% who thought a phone call would be best, and 5% who thought an email would be best). The same study also found that patients tend to trust their primary care physicians more than doctors who they do not know.

Telehealth practices allow doctors to virtually visit these patients. The physician can perform a diagnosis, prescribe medication, consult on long-term care, and even take readings with help from the patient or a local caregiver. That cuts down on transit time and allows patients without ready access to health care to receive qualified treatment. Telehealth allows PCPs to give their distant patients genuine face time, which reduces anxiety as well as allowing the patient to remain in comfortable and familiar surroundings.

Mobile Clinics and “Street Medicine” Practices Are Much Improved

Mobile clinics are a vital service to many communities, allowing doctors to travel anywhere with advanced medical devices in tow. According to a study by The American Journal of Managed Care, there are some 2,000 mobile clinics operating in the United State, 44% of which offer primary care services. They can include anything from bloodmobiles collecting donations at schools or offices to “street medicine” services providing care for the homeless and other at-risk demographics.

Telehealth practices can improve such services by keeping the mobile clinic in touch with experts and facilities they might not have otherwise. There are only so many staff members one can place in a mobile clinic, after all, and only so many pieces of equipment that can be practically placed on the vehicle. But telehealth can connect the station back to the hospital: sending patient data for analysis, consulting medical experts who wouldn’t otherwise be accessible, and connect the team on the street to the same resources a patient would have were they to receive care in the hospital itself.

For example, consider a mobile clinic serving a homeless shelter, including a patient with a skin condition that can’t readily be identified. By the time the staff back at the hospital pinpoints the condition, the patient may be long gone and unable to be readily found. But a connection via a medical tablet PC allows the staff to instantly consult a dermatologist back at the hospital, and receive both a diagnosis and a recommendation for long-term treatment in a single session.

Bedside Treatment Becomes Much More Convenient

Telehealth practices aren’t limited to locations outside the hospital or care facility. Patients being treated in a given clinic may not be able to leave their beds, or can do so only with great difficulty, which complicates their treatment considerably. There is a considerable benefit to being able to bring a computer on wheels right up to the patient’s bed, not only for a specialist or primary care physician to conduct a consultation while they’re off-site, but for fast diagnoses in the middle of the night or during similar periods when a specialist might not be on hospital grounds.

Consider the case of nursing homes, for instance. Many homes offer visits from physicians for their residents, but don’t have a doctor on permanent staff. Yet residents often have limited mobility and if they require treatment after the doctor has left for the day, it might entail an ambulance trip to the hospital: wasting precious time and putting the patient under unnecessary physical strain. Telehealth practices allow the nursing staff to contact the doctor, wheel a medical cart computer right to the patient’s bedside, and get a diagnosis and treatment plan in a fraction of the time and effort it would take otherwise.

Cybernet Manufacturing offers medical tablets with the features required to smoothly integrate telehealth practices with the remainder of your operation. Contact us today to explore your options.

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.

Advancing Technology: 3 Reasons Why Your Next Medical PC Should Be Waterproof

Computers have become ubiquitous in the professional arena – and particularly in the healthcare industry. Medical grade PCs are relied upon to process EMR software and patient cases in an efficient manner. Given the demands of the hospital environment, it’s becomes imperative for administrators to purchase devices that are able to withstand the unpredictable incidents that crop up on a daily basis. The only way for you to guarantee that the device you purchase responds to the mercurial nature of the hospital environment is to purchase a waterproof medical computer

There are three reasons why these instruments are ideal as far as meeting medical needs are concerned. Let’s take a closer look at them.

Medical Grade PCs in a Sterile Environment
The nature of the hospital routine requires professionals to keep a pristine working environment at all times. Ensuring that hygiene levels are maintained at optimum levels reduces the possibility of infections and diseases from occurring. A prototypical computing device cannot withstand the frequent washes that hospital instruments go through for sanitary purposes. The CDC strongly encourages the use of liquid disinfectants for thorough cleansing of medical equipment deployed in near-patient medical settings. Waterproof computers can easily be cleaned to adhere to hospital standards without sustaining any damage to its components.

Exposure to Liquids
The hectic pace that is inherent in the medical professional’s routine means that accidents will inevitably occur. The rush to treat patients will expose the tools that a professional uses to damp, wet environments. Liquid spills are par for the course in hospitals and you cannot afford to compromise your devices in the event that this happens. A computer that shuts down in the middle of a critical operation can be disastrous for the surgeon and the entire hospital. By purchasing a waterproof, medical PC, you get to address the inevitability of accidents, using a device in damp environments, and liquid spills in one fell swoop.

Cost Efficiency and Reliability
At the end of the day, medical professionals cannot afford to have a device that gives up on them in the middle of a critical patient case. Waterproof PCs are reliable and that is exactly what doctors, nurses, and hospital staff members need to save as many lives as they can. The staying power of these devices makes them ideal for handling tasks for long stretches of time. You can expect to work on a waterproof PC for up to 11 hours on a single charge cycle. This is a great boon for nurses and doctors who are working on a single case for protracted durations daily.

Conclusion
The ability of waterproof, medical grade tablets and PC’s to adhere to the demands of a sterile environment, survive exposure to liquids, and function for long hours makes the ideal device for the hospital environments. The choice is clear. If you want to preserve your professional interests and save money, purchasing a waterproof medical PC is your best bet.

The Cybernet Advantage
Cybernet manufactures affordable, ergonomic all-in-one computers that respond to a host of requirements. Our all-in-one computers manufactured are also bundled with additional features such as antibacterial fortification for deployment in medical schools, ingress protection marking for use in mechanical engineering laboratories, internal battery provision for field experiments, and fanless design for surgical simulation environments. Learn more about how Cybernet’s all-in-one computers can help your organization combat modern-day technological challenges, and further the mission of your particular industry at www.cybernet.us.