Tag Archives: medical tablet

How Medical Tablets with RFID Scanners Can Save Hospitals Money

How Medical Tablets with RFID Scanners Can Save Hospitals Money

The state of the healthcare industry is ever-changing, and medical providers need to focus both their time and their resources on ways to improve the quality of care for their patients as well as managing their company budget. Medical tablets with RFID scanners not only can streamline asset tracking but also help organizations cut back on costs in other areas.

Statistics show that 10 to 20% of mobile hospital assets are either lost or stolen and that the average cost per missing item is nearly $3,000. Also, 40% of hospital pharmacy funds are spent on “rush” orders, and these could very easily be prevented with better asset tracking.  What’s worse is that whopping three-quarters of the total time spent on hospital maintenance, as well as one-third of that of hospital nurses, is often wasted on searching for supplies. This essentially takes away from the quality of care given to hospital patients. One of the greatest challenges many hospitals and other medical facilities face is helping their already overextended workers spend less of their time on activities other than patient care.

Medical tablets with RFID technology offer hospitals a much better way to maximize their overall efficiency and reduce their amount of waste. Medical tablets with embedded RFID scanner give the users the ability to both track and manage all of their mobile assets and their patients. Medical grade tablets enable RFID data capture that does not require line of sight, thus allowing users to capture multiple tags in a single pass without having to move any equipment. It is also an ideal option for medication and supply storage areas requiring consistent monitoring, as it reads literally hundreds of tags each second, making for quick, easy and convenient monitoring of inventory.

Additionally, scanning and analyzing patient rooms, medical procedure areas, stock rooms, hospital labs, and numerous other areas with RFID-enabled medical grade tablet can be completed in just a few short seconds. There are a variety of ways hospitals can implement and utilize medical tablets with RFID technology in an effort to save their business a lot of money.

Here are a few of them…

Asset Tracking

Medical grade tablets with RFID scanners can be utilized for detecting and timestamping the movements of critical hospital assets in order to locate them quickly whenever they’re needed. This reduces both lost and theft of hospital equipment and supplies, thus improving overall productivity and quality of patient care. The collected data can then be used for managing equipment flow processes as well as for resource planning purposes.

Inventory Control

Medical tablet PCs with RFID technology can also be utilized for providing continuous automated inventory monitoring, and it can alert hospital personnel whenever minimum levels have been reached, as well as when the amount of stock is nearing expiration. This ensures the availability of medical products and treatments, thus preventing unnecessary and potentially costly rush orders from occurring.

Injection Safety

One of the most tangible manifestations of medical equipment management, wherein RFID scanning promises a sea change, is injection safety. The process is simple but effective – RFID tags are incorporated within patient wristbands, making all prescription data available to a care provider through a medical tablet. This information also connects to the hospital’s injection drug inventory and dispensing records, enabling a watertight monitoring system for better injection safety. This technology was successfully adopted by Tokyo based Sanraku Hospital, in collaboration with BayNexus.

Radiology Department

Radiology equipment undergoes frequent quality checks by means of government inspections. Medical tablets with RFID scanning make this process more efficient. An effort by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center illustrates this. RFID tags were sewn into X-ray protection vests in order to locate them quickly during an inspection. RFID has also been instrumental in managing the contrast media vials inventory of a Florida hospital’s Radiology Department. Contrast media is commonly injected into patients undergoing MRIs; however, it is highly toxic for patients with compromised kidney function. Contrast media vials thus need to be regularly, meticulously and accurately monitored, a task that is greatly simplified when RFID technology comes embedded in medical grade tablets used by the personnel.

Healthcare IT Asset Management

Locating and protecting hospital devices that may contain private, sensitive and protected information or other data can be conveniently and efficiently carried out with the use of medical tablets with RFID scanners, thus maintaining compliance with HIPAA data security laws.

Patient Tracking

Should any incident of the type occur, RFID-enabled medical tablets aid in the prevention of medical mistakes and errors due to patient misidentification – and also alert first responders and other personnel nearby. Additionally, RFID badges provide patient relatives and other visitors with secure, temporary ID access that can be easily scanned by the staff using medical tablets.

Infection Control

Taking patient tracking a step further, medical tablets with RFID scanners enable hospital staff to keep tabs on people coming into contact with patients with contagious diseases. Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital has set up a monitoring team especially for the purpose of evaluating RFID tracked data for possible infection screening.

There are many other ways in which RFID scanning helps prevent nosocomial infections. For instance, a RFID enabled wristband for hospital staff, developed by startup IntelligentM, is designed to ensure that hand-washing standards are met by means of a simple vibrating alert.

Additionally, medical tablets with RFID are completely antimicrobial including the casing and the touchscreen. IP65 sealed bezels allow them to withstand disinfection with liquid solutions, so hospitals can ensure the devices used by staff and the patients are sterile.

In conclusion, medical tablets with RFID technology can help hospitals and other healthcare facilities save money and improve their security, efficiency and overall quality of patient care. RFID-enabled medical tablets lower costs, simplify deployment and maximize company ROI.

doctor-1228627_1280

Prevent Physician Burnout with Health IT That Lifts The Burden

EHR can help providers. A lot has been said about how exactly EHR can help everyone in the health care. However, when providers implement EHR the physician productivity and patient satisfaction suddenly drop. The factor often unaccounted for is how the new technology blends with the end users, and the time it takes for the new technology to prove its ROI. We are several years into implementing the EHR systems across the country, but the numerous surveys continue ringing the alarm on the physician burnout that is at an all-times high. EHR and increased computerization are among the top 3 causes of burnout, as reported by the physicians.

HIT Paradox

The study funded by the American Medical Association (AMA) shows how physicians are overloaded with bureaucratic and clerical work that is not related directly to patient care:

For every hour physicians provide direct clinical face time to patients, nearly 2 additional hours is spent on EHR. Outside office hours, physicians spend another 1 to 2 hours of personal time each night doing additional computer and other clerical work,” according to Annals of Internal Medicine. “During the office day, physicians spent 27% of their total time on direct clinical face time with patients and 49.2% of their time on (electronic health records) and desk work.”

According to the 2016 Medscape Lifestyle report, the burnout among US physicians “has reached a critical level.” The severity of the burnout was measured on the scale of 1 (lowest) to 7 (severe). Most specialties rated the severity of their burnout at 3.85 – 4.74.

The top 3 causes of burnout (again, on the scale of 1 to 7) are:

  • Too many bureaucratic tasks – 4.84
  • Spending too many hours at work – 4.14
  • Increasing computerization – 4.02

A Mayo Clinic NEJM Catalyst Insights Council survey polled clinical leaders and executives on the same issue. 96% of respondents agree that physician burnout is a serious or moderate problem, which remains largely unaddressed inside the organizations. As the top reasons to address the problem, the respondents cite decreased quality of care (63%), the effect on the attitude of the rest of the team (38%), and physician suicide (8%).

Here, again, the top causes of physician burnout are:

  • Increased clerical burden due to the use of EHR – 62%
  • Increased productivity requirements/expectation – 51%

Ironically, EHR is the reason the productivity expectations increased. The use of EHR is reported to disrupt the established workflow, forcing the physicians to “carry their workload into off-hours, or “pajama time.”

Why You Should Care

  • The burnout causes errors and poses a direct threat to the lives and well-being of both physicians and patients. Most likely, the surveys do not reflect the full picture because they are based on volunteer respondents’ answers. What about those who refused to participate? They are likely to avoid the subject of burnout because a) it can raise questions regarding their ability to deliver at their workplace; b) fear of being stigmatized (as any mental issue tends to lead to stigma).
  • The staff engagement in any new strategy a provider is deploying to cut costs or ensure compliance is fruitless without the physicians’ buy-in.
  • The physician burnout is a symptom of the loss of enthusiasm for work, emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, sense of low personal accomplishment, feelings of cynicism, a decreased level of compassion and involvement with patients and staff.
  • The domino effect of the physician burnout can and does have a devastating effect on health care. According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics’ Real Sector Growth, health care has a -0.6% decline in productivity every year.
  • Physicians with a high level of burnout choose part-time practice, early retirement or leaving for other industries (pharma, insurance) as a way out. With the medical staff shortage on the one hand and the growing population on the other, providers can not afford to lose clinical talent.

Technology IS The Solution When Done Right

HIMSS17 saw a number of sessions featuring success stories of providers using innovative solutions to address the physician burnout and increase productivity.

Perfecting the Mobile Solution” demoed how Palmetto Health-USC addressed the issue of physician burnout (due to the clerical/EHR documentation overload) by adopting a mobile solution. Relying on a Windows 10 medical tablet with a digitizer stylus, the provider was able to not only improve physician productivity but also alleviate the physician burnout.

Benefits of a medical tablet, as reported by Palmetto executives:

  • Improved patient-doctor communication, eye to eye contact
  • Doctors review charts before going into the room → more dedicated visit and saved 2-3 minutes per visit
  • Faster note completion and triage, ability to take history from patient in the hallway effortlessly
  • Ability to document anywhere
  • Improved workday and productivity
  • Decreased patient wait times
  • Small technology footprint
  • No negative impact on workflow
  • Reduced login times, improved security
  • Reduced eye fatigue from looking at the tablet
  • Improved efficiency with dual screen mode
  • Easy to move with or without cart
  • Easy to share and clean the device

Benefits of a medical tablet, as reported by physicians:

  • Provider satisfaction – 71%
  • Device easy to use 83%
  • Reduced time spent after work documenting 64%
  • Faster documentation 46%
  • Improved access to health records 54%
  • Improved security of patient records with reduced need to print, secure network, fingerprint access
  • Improved patient communication and education at bedside 54%
  • Improved workflow and reduced login times 64%
  • Reduced transcription costs
  • Fewer desktops needed

The factors that contributed to the successful implementation of the mobile solution at Palmetto:

  • Larger screen, digitizer stylus, support for full-size mouse and keyboard
  • Extended battery life
  • Corporate shared device (not BYOD)
  • Dragon dictation support
  • EHR-ready
  • Ability to manage/support the devices on-site
  • User-friendly interface with manageable learning curve (Win 10)
  • Support for high-quality medical imaging and X-ray image printing
  • Fast and secure logins with biometric reader/RFID SSO/Smart Card or CAC

A similar experience was reported at the HIMSS17 “Mobile Innovation and Telehealth in Emergency Care” session featuring the outcomes of Emergency Telehealth and Navigation program (ETHAN). The medical tablets running ETHAN used by the ambulance teams help the Houston Fire Department reduce the overload of the very ambulance teams and increase their productivity by 44 minutes (from 83 in regular teams), and reduce the flow of low-acuity patients to the overcrowded ERs.

If the team’s assessment of a patient is that of a low acuity, they initiate a video conference with a remote physician. The latter makes an assessment and offers alternatives to an ambulance ride to the ER. We covered it in detail here.

Conclusion

An EHR-ready Windows medical tablet with RFID SSO, fingerprint, CAC/Smart Card and barcode reader, antimicrobial casing, hot-swap batteries, rugged case, carrying handle and strips does alleviate the physician burnout caused by technology because:

  • It is easy to use – familiar Windows interface, minimum learning curve. Security is made simple requiring minimum user effort.
  • It is safe – antimicrobial casing kills the pathogens, IP65 sealed bezels enable cleaning with liquid chemical solutions for ultimate disinfection.
  • It is reliable – with durable, military-grade battery or hot-swap batteries that let you swap them without powering off the device and losing data.

Another way to reduce the negative effect of technology on physician and nurse burnout is to use maneuverable and lightweight non-powered medical carts with ergonomic medical computers with hot-swap batteries, which provide the full-shift uptime and flexible charging options. This configuration eliminates the nurses’ strain of having to charge the cart or the laptop frequently. It also reduces the cost of IT because our hot-swap batteries are durable unlike those of your regular powered medical carts that need frequent replacements.

P.S. While the AMA and other professional organizations might get busy lobbying to reduce regulations regarding clerical work, the providers and HIT vendors must work towards interoperability and ease of use of their solutions. Check out our Key Takeaways from HIMSS17 here.

eye-766166_1280

How to Succeed with Value-Based Care Using Health IT

Value-Based Reimbursements and The Times of Uncertainty

GOP leaders have recently unveiled their Affordable Care Act repeal-and-replace proposal that plans to give states more Medicaid control, cut federal Medicaid expansion and restructure how patients pay for their health insurance. The healthcare executives, on the other hand, are keen on keeping some ACA provisions intact, particularly the transition to the value-based reimbursement. So, most likely value-based care is not going anywhere even if some parts of the ACA get repealed and replaced eventually.

Whatever the outcome of the ACA repeal-and-replace is, there is one thing providers know for certain – it is not raining dollars. So doing more with less (and doing it better and faster) is a strategy for survival in the value-based care.

There are several key aspects providers can focus on to achieve positive outcomes in the value-based care – interoperability, medical automation, digitization, device convergence/integration/compatibility, and ease of use.

Interoperability

The industry has an urgent need to build interoperability into every HIT solution. HL7 Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (the FHIR standard) is being deployed by forward-thinking vendors and in in-house provider solutions.

Streamlining information exchange across platforms requires industry-wide implementation of a unified standard, and FHIR seems to have gained traction. When implementing, vendors and providers should keep in mind the resulting interfaces and data presentation should be simple.

The wealth of health data, when its fragments are consolidated from across different platforms, can be overwhelming to the detriment of the very purpose of interoperability, which is to give the physician a complete picture of the patient’s care history. Therefore, the focus on simplicity and consistency of presented data and usability of the interface is imperative for your interoperability strategy.

Medical Automation and Clinical Decision Support Tools

As is the case with industrial automation, medical automation frees up human time for the efficient patient care. Automating routine, tedious tasks within the medical field reduces human errors, cuts costs and increases the productivity of your staff.

The machine-level accuracy and reproducibility in patient monitoring, in laboratories, and pharmacies make tedious tasks of labeling, packaging, monitoring, scanning into fast, error-free routines with minimum human input. Medical automation increases positive outcomes, productivity and patient safety, decreases mortality rates and reduces costs.

An RFID-enabled medical tablet with an inbuilt barcode scanner, and equipped with medical decision support tools empowers a physician or nurse, freeing up more time to actual patient care, which is vital in value-based care. Such tool prevents drug dosage or dispensing errors, cuts down on the time-consuming research or cross-checking with different systems. Decision support programs accessible anytime, anywhere combined with the ability to scan RFID and barcodes automate the big part of the routine workflow.

It is important that all stakeholders understand medical automation is not replacing humans, but assisting them. For example, at a recent HIMSS conference, Houston Methodist Hospital held a session “Managing a Legacy Team in an EHR Transition.” Their strategy in helping the existing staff get up-to-date with the new HIT solutions is a benchmark for the industry; we suggest you read it. It consists of appointing trained team leaders to oversee the testing, deployment, troubleshooting and the transition to the new solution and keeping a close communication loop between all stakeholders. It helped the provider keep most of its medical talent, and prevent the existing staff from the otherwise inevitable anxiety of losing job to automation.

A critical point in equipping your medical staff with various automation tools is to prevent the user notification overload, which urges physicians to bypass or ignore notifications. It effectively nulls many positive outcomes of automated processes and decision support tools, so filtering and compartmentalizing notifications is a significant IT challenge for providers and vendors.

Digitization

Digitization and EHR adoption is moving forward in response to the transition to the value-based care and regulatory mandates. IT productivity paradox, however, suggests that the positive effect on physician productivity and the ROI for the providers will be tangible when all the imperfections are sorted out and users are accustomed to the digitized workflow. Technology does streamlined paperless workflows, but it takes time for the vendors to simplify the usability of their EHR systems, and embed interoperability. So that caregivers, providers, and payers can all enjoy a hassle-free data exchange.

Integration, Convergence, Compatibility

When integrating new HIT solutions into your existing infrastructure, ensure device convergence and compatibility with legacy systems. Consolidating multiple devices into one and ensuring its compatibility helps you address the cost, complexity and quality issues of the value-based care. So, screen your IT vendors and choose the solution that simplifies the integration of existing systems with the new IT solutions, so that your infrastructure is optimized and future-proofed for reliable performance in the value-based care model.

Device convergence or consolidation means you are deploying one device to replace multiple devices or tools. For example, one medical tablet replaces a desktop computer, a smartphone, pen-and-paper kit, barcode scanner, pager, TV/smart blinds/bed remote control, and patient infotainment terminals. It consolidates a wealth of applications such as EHR, clinical decision support, vitals monitoring, intranet communications, nurse call button and more.

Convergence approach also addresses an important productivity roadblock – tech fatigue. With BYOD and legacy systems, a physician is equipped with a handful of devices generating dozens of notifications daily. Desktop PC, a BYOD smartphone, a medical cart laptop, information kiosk in the hallway or at patient bedside – nurses and physicians are overburdened with technology.

Additionally, having multiple computing devices in daily use chips away from your staff’s working time as nurses and doctors need to conduct daily maintenance routines. Disinfection, battery recharge, or data loss due to power outage – how often do your nurses charge their powered cart computers or laptops? How many patients does a nurse or physician contact per day, and how many hands are working with your medical computers? Are there disinfecting procedures in place for your computers and BYOD devices? Most importantly, can they withstand disinfection? Hospital-acquired infections do not help you increase patient satisfaction and succeed in value-based care.

Therefore, deploying IT solutions that guarantee full-shift uptime and address all these issues in a single, HIPAA compliant, EHR-enabled, antimicrobial build with a user-friendly, familiar Windows interface saves your resources and eliminates IT fatigue.

Innovation – Follow The Lead

By 2020, the healthcare sector will have generated 25,000 petabytes of digital medical data. So, expanding on-premise data storage is no longer feasible as cloud solutions provide cost, accessibility and efficiency advantages. 77% of health care organizations plan to rely on SaaS cloud storage providers to maintain a high infrastructure reliability.

The mobile telehealth pilots featured by some providers at HIMSS17 show the future of the value-based care is in the ubiquitous mobile technology. For example, Houston Fire Department decreases the flow of low-acuity 911 patients to EDs by providing such patients with a live video conference with a remote physician through the medical tablets used by emergency units. With the physician’s expert opinion and alternatives well-explained, the patient is more likely to choose a scheduled clinic appointment, or a taxi ride to the ED, instead of the most expensive (from the provider’s perspective) ambulance ride to the ED. Read our Key Takeaways from HIMSS17 here.

Likewise, Palmetto Health successfully implemented EHR and made the transition to digitization by deploying Windows 10 medical tablets with digitizer stylus. The key features that facilitated the implementation are familiar user interface, excellent performance, and compatibility with other medical equipment, large screen, and Dragon dictation support.

Conclusion

There is no one-size-fits-all HIT solution for all providers. So, knowing exactly which features of a health IT solution contribute to your value-based care system makes it easier to forge and implement a successful strategy and maintain a competitive edge. Choosing the right IT partner that understands your needs is a prerequisite for success when advancing with your value-based care.

medicaltab

Medical Tablets: Complying with HIPAA

Healthcare providers increasingly use clinical applications such as EHR, clinical decision support systems, order entry systems, radiology, laboratory and other systems. Health IT makes the medical workforce more agile, mobile and productive. Mobile devices let physicians check patient records on the go, in any location. Nonetheless, the rise of mobile technology increases the risk of data breaches. HIPAA aims to protect ePHI while still allowing hospitals to adopt new technologies & improve their efficiency and care quality.

The Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPAA), 1996, consists of HIPAA Privacy Rule & the HIPAA Security Rule. The former establishes national standards for the protection of individually identifiable health information; the latter – security standards for protecting individually identifiable health information held or transferred in electronic form. The Security Rule dwells on the technical and non-technical safeguards covered entities must implement to secure patients’ electronic protected health information (e-PHI).

Understanding HIPAA

The HIPAA Security Rule covers health plans, health care clearinghouses and health care providers that create, receive, store or transmit e-PHI, as well as their business associates. Read the Summary of the HIPAA Privacy Rule [PDF].

Under HIPAA, covered entities must:

  • Ensure confidentiality, integrity & availability of e-PHI.
  • Identify threats to e-PHI and protect against them.
  • Protect e-PHI against disclosures or impermissible uses.
  • Ensure HIPAA compliance by the workforce.

The HIPAA Security Rule requires covered entities to perform a risk assessment to determine reasonable security measures for a particular organization. Risk assessment includes evaluation of the likelihood of a data breach, implementation of appropriate security measures, documentation of security measures, & rationalization of their choice, and continuous protection of e-PHI.

Safeguards

On the administrative, physical and technical levels, HIPAA requires for the organizations to implement certain safeguards.

Administrative

  • Security management process – identify & analyze risks to e-PHI, implement security measures for protection.
  • Appointing a security official overseeing HIPAA compliance.
  • Information access management – limit uses and disclosures of e-PHI, granting access to data only when appropriate, to authorized personnel only.
  • Providing the medical staff with data protection training, ensuring policy compliance by the workforce.

Physical

  • Limit physical access to the facility for unauthorized individuals, yet ensure authorized access is allowed.
  • Implement device security procedures, specify proper use of devices and access to them, have policies regarding device transfer, disposal or re-use.

Technical

Health care providers must implement:

  • Access control to e-PHI for authorized personnel only.
  • Audit controls of hardware, software and data access and use procedures.
  • Integrity controls to ensure e-PHI is not destroyed or altered improperly.
  • Transmission security measures that guard against unauthorized access to e-PHI in transit.

Features of Medical Tablets That Ensure HIPAA Compliance

So, when we talk about the features of the medical tablets that ensure HIPAA compliance, we are primarily concerned with the Technical Safeguards of the HIPAA Security Rule provisions.

Encryption

The HIPAA Security Series Guidelines require covered entities to “consider the use of encryption” for e-PHI in transit. Encryption for data at rest is not mandatory, but its implementation depends on the risk assessment.

End to end encryption ensures the data in transit is protected against data breaches and man-in-the-middle attacks, according to HIPAA Journal. Technology based on the end to end encryption helps providers avoid HIPAA violations.

HIPAA-compliant medical tablets are Windows or Linux-based, which enables the support of full disk encryption for data at rest, & implementation of end to end encryption programs for data in transit. Furthermore, Windows medical tablets have USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports and can encrypt data on external storage devices just like your normal desktop computers would.

One of the glaring security holes in consumer grade mobile devices is text messaging and consumer chat apps medical staff use to communicate with patients and colleagues. e-PHI details sent in a text message is a direct violation of HIPAA Security Rule. Skype, WhatsApp or Hangouts lack necessary protections for a secure data transfer, despite claims of encryption. Medical professionals must implement secure communication programs, with the end to end encryption and preferably from trusted, zero-knowledge providers.

Data Access

HIPAA requires the implementation of technical policies and procedures that allow access to PHI to authorized staff only. Medical tablets have access control mechanisms that enable advanced user authentication. Moreover, they make it easy to use, because end users tend to bypass any technical procedures they deem as difficult, time-consuming, or hampering their productivity in any other way.

Multi-factor authentication in medical tablets is ensured with RFID Imprivata Single Sign-On, biometric scanner, Smart Card or CAC reader, and Kensington lock. Multi-layered access controls reduce the risk of unauthorized data access. Medical staff can safely leave the device in hospital’s public places, such as corridors or patient rooms, and rest assured the confidential data is locked.

Data Integrity

According to HIPAA, any e-PHI data stored on a mobile device (or transmitted with its help) must be protected against unlawful tampering or destruction. Mobile devices used to store or transmit e-PHI in healthcare must have features that allow them to be audited for access to e-PHI, including attempted access instances, and other activity that could potentially affect data security.

Medical tablets can be configured to enable remote device management to give the IT admins full control over the data stored and transmitted from it. IT admins can push system and software updates and patches remotely, or troubleshoot issues without having physical access to the device. They can set up the device so that the complete log of data access and failed login attempts be documented for revision. They can wipe the device remotely, should it be lost or stolen. They can monitor network activity and spot suspiciously large volumes in upload or download to, again, suspicious servers.

IT admins can block or disable certain OS features, whitelist and blacklist programs, to protect the confidentiality of e-PHI from the inadvertent exposure by the end users. For example, disabling automatic connection to any available Wi-Fi network protects devices from connecting to insecure public networks.

From ad-block browser extensions to firewalls and sandboxing, Windows supports the full list of security measures an IT admin can deploy on a device. With Windows 10, the security features have advanced even further.

Windows makes the use of password managers easy since most enterprise programs are developed for Win OS. Also, administrators can disable access to app store, so that users cannot download and install unauthorized applications, or games. Alternatively, blacklist every app but a list of authorized applications from accessing the Internet.

Medical tablets ensure admins have necessary means of scanning them for malware and other malicious code, install antivirus, perform regular and random scans. When an employee is left or fired, admins can safely terminate access to PHI.

Tablet Use In The Medical Space

Tablet Use In The Medical Space

Information is gold. Timely access to the right information is priceless, especially in healthcare. The adoption of medical tablets in healthcare has reduced costs, improved quality of care and its mobility, and offered the fast and easy access to critical data. Healthcare mobility saves lives and empowers doctors and patients alike.

Mobility

The mobility makes medical tablets a natural fit in healthcare. Provided the device sports a reliable battery (better yet hot-swappable), the mobility is further backed by a reliable 24/7 uptime required in hospitals and emergency responder units.

Powerful computing capabilities coupled with multi-touch interfaces, stylus support, and light weight are some of the reasons hospitals are acquiring medical tablets. A tablet designed for medical use needs a processor powerful enough to be at par with its desktop counterpart. Such tablets pull buyers’ attention from the traditional laptops.

Fast, Accurate Data Entry

Clinicians equipped with tablets during on-round checkups keep personalized patient interactions, quickly access and capture critical data. No more double entry work, or skipped details –  the same reason first responders praise the benefits of rugged medical tablets in emergency situations.

Ruggedness, in this case, is a must since no consumer grade device can withstand the pressures and rugged environments of emergency situations, or survive accidental drops inside a facility. Medical tablets come fully ruggedized, equipped with various mounting options, a handle or carrying strips. Being lightweight & easy to carry in one hand, tablets have successfully replaced the traditional pen and paper, or laptops.

Integrated scanners/readers help validate patients, track and administer medications, and reduce the risk of error.

Applications

One of the key factors affecting the buyers’ choice when buying medical tablets is the operating system. Mobile operating systems like iOS and Android might provide hosted apps, or a virtual desktop. Yet, healthcare processes rely on enterprise systems and applications that doctors and nurses must be able to access from their tablets. Windows-based medical tablets offer complete compatibility for medical software & hardware. Be it EPIC EHR, or Anesthesia Applications, office back-end databases, patient infotainment, or patient tracking – Windows has an undisputed advantage in this area.

Compatibility

For a medical tablet to be easily integrated into the existing infrastructure of a facility, it has to a) run the operating system that is compatible with most applications; b) have HDMI, USB (micro and regular-size) ports to support direct access to data stored on USB drives and external hard drives, and allow for encryption of that data; c) have additional ports that allow connecting to the required equipment and peripherals.

When the tablet provides the necessary connectivity and compatibility features, it can be integrated into virtually any healthcare process from patient vitals monitoring, to EMRs, nursing stations, anesthesia carts, telemedicine, dispensing medication, issuing and signing prescriptions, point of care diagnostics to tracking inventory in pharmacies.

Ergonomics

Many healthcare applications call for the tablets to support the multi-display mode, or be large enough for the clinicians to be able to compare two images on the same screen. Modern technology allows for the medical tablets to be built from military-grade components offering crisp, detailed, hi-res image.

Tablets that support the dual-display capability can be connected to larger screens when the need arises. Top that with docking stations, VESA mounting, or Power-over-Ethernet, and you get an unprecedented ergonomics  much greater than that of traditional laptops or consumer tablets. Medical tablets are largely used by emergency responders, in ICUs, operating rooms, patient rooms, in hallways and corridors, at patient admission and discharge.

Infotainment – Patient-Friendly Hospitals

70% of hospital executives say “patient satisfaction” is their organizations’ top priority, according to a survey by Catalyst Healthcare Research and The Beryl Institute. Under the Affordable Care Act, hospitals’ income depends on patient satisfaction, and infotainment plays the key role in the way patients assess their hospital stay, offering unprecedented communication capabilities to patients and doctors.

From mobile games to emails, video conferencing and productivity apps, to educational slide shows, videos,  and ordered meals – infotainment tablets guide the patients from anxiety to satisfaction. Clinicians and nurses take advantage of educational apps and videos to instruct the patients on how to tend to their needs after discharge, or how to find their way around the facility.

Infotainment systems encourage patient engagement, serve as a positive distraction that relieves patient anxiety, make rooms feel spacious and futuristic due to wireless ergonomic design, and let patients quickly connect to healthcare professionals and family members. Easily shared medical tablets help physicians involve patients in discussing information, and provide it in an interactive, “easy-to-digest” manner.

Patient monitoring, Nursing Coordination

Measuring physiological signals has become easier with the advent of medical tablets. Noninvasive body sensors collect physiological parameters such as pulse rate, blood pressure, temperature, and even detect when a patient falls. Wireless transmission of the acquired data to a physician’s or nurse’s tablet is instant. Such telehealth systems eliminate the wire clutter from the patient room, increasing patient safety. These systems identify abnormal conditions automatically, alert the medical staff in real time, and have proven to be very effective.

Data Security

Secure user authentication in medical tablets may rely on different technologies from biometric readers to RFID and Smart Card readers, to passwords, pins, full disk encryption and security key fobs. Strict HIPAA regulations on data protection call for a thorough look at a tablet’s data protection capabilities. Yet, when a tablet provides state-of-the-art data privacy protection tools, the device can be easily left in a public area of the hospital, and unauthorized users will not be able to access the sensitive information. Let alone the benefits such stringent security provides in telemedicine, when a lot of patient data is stored on the device.

Integrated Readers & Scanners in medical tablets further amplify their application in patient tracking, receipt issuing, inventory tracking and many applications that rely on barcodes, beacons, RFID or smart cards.

Patient & Doctor Safety

Patient and doctor protection from hospital-acquired infections is high on hospitals’ agendas. The advent of antimicrobial coating and fully antimicrobial casing in medical tablets has made them safe for near-patient use in sterile ICUs, operating and patient rooms. Fan-less builds have further improved the device safety by eliminating the particles circulation present in fan-based cooling systems.

Antimicrobial coating in medical equipment and furniture is gaining traction fast, and hospitals are eagerly harnessing the benefits of surfaces that keep eliminating pathogens continuously, even in between the disinfecting procedures.

The ingress protection (IP) of medical tablets allows them to withstand harsh disinfection with chemical solutions that harm consumer-grade devices. Moreover, if a tablet offers 60601-1 certification, it ensures the patient and doctor protection against electrical and radiation hazards.

Low Cost-of-Ownership

When all the prerequisites of a robust medical tablet are met, the end result translates to a low failure rate (i.e. Cybernet’s medical tablets have the overall failure rate less than 2%). This, in turn, translates to a low cost-of-ownership of rugged medical tablets – unlike consumer tablets used in healthcare.

How Medical Tablets Barcode Scanners Are Reducing Errors in Healthcare

How Medical Tablets Barcode Scanners Are Reducing Errors in Healthcare

Technology is dramatically changing health care as we know it. Patient care is improving. The speed in which medical decisions are being made about a patient’s care is quicker than ever. Electronic medical record (EMR) is making it easier for doctors and nurses to collaborate. As technology continues to fuel changes in the medical field, it should come as no surprise that new devices, designed specifically to enhance patient safety and simultaneously improve record-keeping accuracy, are emerging. Medical tablets that feature barcode scanners are one such piece of technology.

Here are a few ways they are benefitting hospitals.

BENEFIT 1: Reducing Admission Errors

Medical tablets that feature barcode scanners help improve the process of hospital admissions while keeping errors at bay. When a patient is admitted, a special wristband is printed out that features a barcode unique to that particular individual for that particular visit. A nurse can then easily scan the barcode using a barcode scanner on a medical grade tablet or attached to a desktop computer and begin recording information about the patient. This ensures there are no mistakes when recording pertinent information including the reason for admission, the room in which the patient is located, insurance and billing information, and the course of treatment, including supplies used and medications administered.

BENEFIT 2: Reducing Hospital Care Errors

Patients don’t always have the same doctor or nurse caring for them. With many hands involved in the process, without a system that recognizes what medication needs to be administered and what was given previously, errors are inevitable.  Using a medical tablet with a barcode system eliminates these types of errors.

When a nurse scans the medication and the patient’s wristband, the barcode software knows the proper amount that needs to be administered. If the wrong patient is scanned, then the medication cannot be dispensed. In the past, without a safeguard in place, a patient might have received incorrect medication.

Here are other problems that medical grade tablets with barcode scanners eliminate:

  • Misinterpretations of a patient’s chart
  • Incomplete or improper transcriptions
  • Faulty dose checking
  • Communication breakdowns
  • Adverse effects between different medicines

BENEFIT 3: Reducing Pharmacy Errors

Pharmacies play a vital role in improving the health of patients. Pharmacies can’t afford to make mistakes when people’s lives hang in the balance. With a barcode scanner, the information is uploaded the patient’s EMR. The pharmacist ensures the medication has a barcode before it leaves the pharmacy and makes its way to the nurse in charge.

The doctor decides the right level of medication and the pharmacy knows the correct amount to administer. Communication between doctor, nurse and pharmacy are in sync because the system updates so that any health professional using a medical tablet can easily access the information as it’s needed, in real time.

Without a barcode scanner in place, other problems can also potentially arise, including drug- stocking problems and a lack of standardization, which is critical for ensuring incorrect dosages don’t happen.

As technology continues to improve, it’s now more important than ever to be at the forefront of the latest technological advances in the medical field.  Medical grade tablets that feature barcode scanners will continue to improve patient care as we know it, including reducing errors. This means less indecisiveness and quicker decisions will be made because information will be more readily available – and accessible. The end result will be better record-keeping and patient care.

Best Medical Tablets for Healthcare & Their Features

Best Medical Tablets for Healthcare

Medical tablets have replaced paper-based files and bulky clipboards by revolutionizing the way data is captured and retrieved at the point of care. These tablets eliminate the need to record information on paper and enter into systems.  This saves time, energy, money and improves efficiency. They provide healthcare professionals with mobility, up-to-date patient information at their fingertips. Most importantly, they make it easier to review patient records, lab results, and prescription drug information.

Medical facilities specialize in caring for patients and it is their upmost responsibility to meet their needs. The entire workflow is utilized by this technology equipment and must be advanced to meet the expectations of the medical industry. The best medical tablets for healthcare should include the following features: power & portability, easy usage, antimicrobial & liquid resistant, and medical grade certifications.

Power & Portability

The best medical tablets for healthcare will provide plenty of storage – 64 to 128 GB is recommended. Medical tablets hold a lot of vital information, such as patient records and prescriptions, so the right amount of storage is essential.  A lightweight medical tablet makes it much easier to bring it from room to room. Small, yet powerful, is what makes it stand out from the crowd when it comes to IT equipment.

Medical tablets should offer superior processing power and up to 8 GB to run Windows 64-bit mode. Medical tablets need to be powerful enough to run EMR and other medical applications simultaneously. Medical tablets, designed for the demands of clinical usage, are redefining workflow in medical facilities due to their power and portability.

Easy Usage

A medical tablet should be comfortable to hold and easy to use. Patient and physician’s signatures should be easily captured electronically. It should include HIPAA compliant applications, giving physicians the freedom to write prescriptions from the tablet. Consent forms and other important documents should be signed with ease. A medical tablet should also come with a stylus pen that is designed for signing prescriptions and other documents. Another important feature in a medical tablet is barcode scanning – to scan patient wristbands and barcodes on medications.

Antimicrobial & Liquid Resistant

A medical tablet should be sealed properly so that fluid cannot enter it and cause damage. It should be coated with a medical grade antimicrobial substance to minimize the spread of pathogens. The design should allow a person to thoroughly clean the entire tablet to avoid contamination due to substances like dust, dirt, blood, and body fluids.

Medical Grade Certifications

A powerful, Windows medical tablet should be designed for near-patient use, with EN60601-1 and UL60950 certifications to ensure safety.  It should comply with IEC60601-1 medical certification for near patient use in critical care and other clinical settings including OR, ER & medication dispensing.

Waterproof front bezels and hygienic aluminum housings are features recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in medical facilities for routine disinfection purposes. The tablet should allow disinfecting with liquid cleaners without damage. The CDC recommends healthcare facilities thoroughly clean sensitive medical equipment by using liquid disinfectants. Getting equipment, such as a medical tablet, that complies with CDC guidelines ensures a safer environment.

Blood Bank

Why Medical Tablets are the Perfect Device for Mobile Blood Banks

The pervasive use of electronic devices in the professional arena has changed the way tasks are being carried out. The use of electronics devices has had a tremendous impact on specific industries. The medical profession has been greatly affected by the use of devices like medical computers and medical tablets. Tasks that may have required the expenditure of effort and resources have been drastically simplified through the use of the right electronic device. In specific working environments like mobile blood banks, the use of the right electronic device can increase the qualities of efficiency and productivity. More mobile blood banks have integrated the use of medical tablets to great results.

Superior Ergonomics

Mobile blood banks recreate the typical environment of a blood bank with one major difference. Mobile blood donation centers are frequently in transit and don’t have the floor space that traditional blood banks have. In this environment, it is important that each piece of equipment that is being used in a mobile blood bank take up as little space as possible. Portable electronics like medical tablets are the perfect device for mobile blood banks and for other professionals who work in restricted spaces.

Record Keeping and Security

The volume of data that mobile blood banks handle on a regular basis can make the task of record keeping burdensome. Manual methods of encoding and tracking down data can expose vital patient records to human error. The use of medical tablets to handle vital patient data can eliminate the errors associated with traditional encoding methods. Pulling up the information that is needed is seamless and immediate when medical tablets are used. Security concerns when it comes to keeping records are also addressed through the authentication features of the ideal medical tablet.

Contamination and Infection Concerns

Infection control in healthcare environments is always a concern that healthcare practitioners need to address. The unique environment of mobile blood banks needs devices that can keep up with the stringent sanitation requirements that are imposed. Each piece of equipment in a mobile blood bank needs to go through frequent washings to serve disinfection purposes. The chances of a device making contact with blood and other body fluids can increase contamination and infection risks. Look for a medical tablet that has liquid resistant properties to address issues related to contamination and possible infection that can occur as a result of physical contact with the electronic device.

Superior Quality of Design

Medical tablets with a superior design provide their users with increased reliability and ease of use. A degree of resistance to dust particles and exposure to liquids means that the medical professional won’t have to deal with the device being compromised in the middle of an important task. A medical tablet that is lightweight is important for professionals working in a mobile blood bank. Muscle strain is prevented when the device that is being used in the mobile blood bank isn’t hefty or unwieldy for the user.

Extend Tablet Battery Life

Tips to Extend the Battery Life of Your Medical Tablet

Professionals in different industries have come to rely on electronic devices to carry out a variety of tasks. The use of devices like all-in-one computers or electronic tablets have simplified a variety of tasks that used to require a considerable amount of time and effort to successfully carry out. While the advantages associated with the use of electronics cannot be understated, the loss of efficiency and productivity that occurs when these devices run out of power can be costly. Medical professionals cannot afford to have their devices run out of power during critical patient care operations. It becomes important for medical professionals to learn how to properly manage the battery power of their devices to ensure that compromising situations are avoided.

Use Docking Stations

One of the most basic things that medical professionals can do is to use lulls during their routine to dock their electronic devices in charging stations. Nurses who don’t have to use their medical tablets during specific periods should use the docking stations to recharge their devices for future use. The routine use of docking stations to recharge a device effectively eliminates the possibility of a device shutting down in the middle of a work operation.

Hibernation Features

The savvy use of power management options can drastically increase the overall running time of your device’s battery. A simple trick that medical professionals can use is to turn on hibernation mode. Having your device go into hibernation mode when it isn’t being used manages and extends its battery life considerably.

Tracking Battery Usage

Accessing the battery settings of your electronic device can bring up a graph that tracks which applications drain your battery power the most. Shut down applications that require a huge chunk of battery power immediately after a task has been accomplished. This tip effectively extends your battery’s life for hours.

Adjusting Screen Brightness

More often than not, the brightness of your electronic device’s screen display poses the greatest drain on your battery power. Adjusting your screen brightness settings can increase the amount of usage that you get from a medical tablet without recharging the battery. The trick is for you to choose a lower brightness setting that conserves battery power without compromising your ability to read text off the screen.

Turning Off Connectivity Options

Connectivity options are an excellent feature in medical tablets. Turning them off when they’re not being used is another way for you to extend a device’s battery life. If you’re in an area that does not have wireless reception, turn off your medical tablet’s wi-fi settings. Disabling Bluetooth features when you don’t have to receive or send data increases your device’s battery life even further.

Lifecycle

The Product Life Cycle of Your All-In-One Computer and Medical Tablet

For various industries, there is a marked need to purchase tools like all-in-one computers to process a number of tasks. For professionals who work within the healthcare industry, the use of all-in-one medical PCs and medical tablets significantly reduce the burden that is present in highly specialized tasks. Before administrators can begin purchasing electronic devices, they must familiarize themselves with the importance that a product’s life cycle plays as far as the question of utility is concerned. No one wants to purchase a device that reaches product maturity within the span of a few months. Let’s take a look at a few details involved in the product life cycle and what you should be on the lookout for when you begin to look for electronics that you can use within the professional setting.

The Product Life Cycle

Essentially, every product that is available for purchase goes through a specific life cycle. A product life cycle refers to the stages that a device goes through from introduction, growth, maturity, and obsolescence. Depending on the item that you end up purchasing, a product’s life cycle could run for years or a handful of months. It is important for every professional to pay attention to every device’s life cycle if they want to maximize the money that they invest in purchasing them.

Length of Use

The biggest question that administrators need to mull over before they purchase a PC or a medical tablet is the length of time that they intend to use the device for. Given the state of the economy, it would not be wise for you to purchase a device towards the end of its life cycle. Ideally, you should be able to use the computer that you purchase for at least four years before you begin looking for a replacement. In the past, electronics used to have a product life cycle of 3 years. Now, PCs can be used in the workplace for as long as 5 years before they need to be replaced. You need to make sure that the PC or medical tablet that you purchase can be used for 5 years.

Industry Specific IT Concerns

You have to make sure that the device you purchase is compatible with your professional needs. As far as the life cycle is concerned, you need to determine whether the PC or medical tablet that you’re eyeing responds to your company’s IT lifecycle needs. It is vital for healthcare administrators to purchase devices that will last for a good long while. The surest way for you to ensure that this becomes the case is to take a look at the plans that the manufacturer has for the product in question. If the manufacturer offers support for the device well into the future, then that is a sign of a lengthy product life cycle.

In a clinical setting, certification is a big concern and a number of months may need to pass before your device is certified for professional use. Given the span of time that it takes for the certification process to complete itself, a lengthy product lifecycle is the best way for you to look after all of your professional concerns. If the manufacturer that you’re working with constantly introduces new products within the span of a few months, the issue of cost begins to turn into a major problem. Constant product changes will require healthcare professionals to go through the recertification process. The healthcare industry isn’t the only sector that is affected by short product lifecycles. Enterprise class customers in different industries will be required to change their software configurations constantly if the devices that they’ve purchased come with an extremely finite product lifecycle.

In order for you to avoid the severe cost requirements of these trends, look for companies that have a lengthy product life cycle. Usually, the span of time that separates the release of a new product line is the main thing that you need to take a look at. Longer waiting periods between product releases is a solid indicator of a device’s potential product life cycle.

Upgradeability and Warranty Periods

Look for PCs and tablets that have an extensive array of upgradeability options. If the device in question allows for future upgrades like adding a touch screen interface or other hardware expansion options, then it possesses a solid life cycle. Always be aware of the warranty period before you purchase electronics. If you can, opt for extended warranties that last for about 4 – 5 years. If the device does have a life cycle of 5 years, you want to be certain that the warranty protects it for the same amount of time.

The Cybernet Advantage

Cybernet manufactures devices with lengthy product life cycles. From the standpoint of cost, a variety of industries are poised to enjoy a great deal of savings because of the nature of each Cybernet product’s lifecycle. Healthcare professionals and enterprise class clients in different industries benefit from Cybernet’s lengthy product lifecycle.

Several clients have used Cybernet devices until they reach their final stages of use. Many Cybernet customers have used the company’s products for more than a decade before they look for a replacement. For industries that require periodic upgrades over a period of four years, Cybernet has an extensive array of products that can keep up with the IT lifecycle needs of your company. Typically, every Cybernet device has an average product lifecycle of 3 – 5 years before a newer version is released. Previous products will still be available for purchase for a year even after a new version of the device has been released.

Cybernet adopts a proactive approach towards extending product support to its clients. The company gives each client an end of life notice when the purchased device approaches obsolescence. Even after the end of life notice has been given, Cybernet still offers service and support options for the device for up to 5 years. Support services will be extended for as long as the components that are required for the task are still available. Clients also have the opportunity for a last time buy after the end of life notice has been given.

As industry trends evolve, each device needs to be prepared to respond to a variety of new requirements. Cybernet’s extensive upgrade options for their devices ensure that nothing gets overlooked. Depending on your requirements, several levels of device customization options allow you to adapt to shifting industry needs. Upgrade possibilities allow you to add components like RS232 serial ports and Video Capture ports to the device that you’ve purchased a while back/

All these aspects combine to make Cybernet devices the superior option when it comes to fulfilling industry – related needs. Professionals who purchase Cybernet devices will enjoy great support from the company given the fact that the vendor is also the original equipment manufacturer. To ensure that you get to use reliable devices with lengthy product life cycles purchase Cybernet products to keep costs and constant upgrade requirements at bay.