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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.