Tag Archives: medical tablets

patient engagement and medical tablets

3 Problems Hospitals Face that Can Be Reduced with Medical Computers

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

The Medical Tablet to Solve Medication Problems

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

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

Constant Communication is a Must

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

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

Giving Power to the Patients

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

hot swappable battery on a workstation with wheels

Safety Awareness in Hospitals with Workstations on Wheels

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

Medical Cart Batteries Have Caught Fire

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

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

Clean Up Clutter with a Workstation on Wheels

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

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

Protect Against the Unseen Hazard

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

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

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

patient engagement technology and medical tablets

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

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

Are We Already Headed Down this Path?

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

CHR and Big Data: How Accurate is the Information?

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

Is the CHR Data Secure Enough?

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

CHR Data and the Implications of Insurance

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

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


 

medical computer systems and hot swappable battery functions

3 Ways Hospital Networks Can Impact Patient Care and How to Combat Them

No hospital network is perfect. An entire infrastructure for patient information is at the whim of Murphy’s Law unfortunately, and one glitch in an entire system can throw off the operations of a hospital in the blink of an eye, costing a chunk of productivity time, money, and the worst—patient safety and health. Online sources point to previous cases of such flops, like the Martin Health System in Stuart, Florida. Their infrastructure recently had an internal hardware failure, setting back hospital EMR records for about two days. Although network systems and their medical computers were restored as quickly as IT could manage the problem, patient care significantly dropped and plenty of vulnerabilities were introduced. Here are a few problems hospitals face when entire networks turn haywire and solutions to minimize mishaps.

Power Outages Cause More Than Just Downtime

Let’s say you’re a medical professional making rounds for about 12 patients, suddenly the power drops out, and the emergency generators have failed! The patient infotainment systems in each patient room have shut down, EMR systems have stopped tracking, medical devices won’t operate, and you’re in the middle of a nightmare. It’s a more frequent problem than you would think. Hospital operations must continue even in downtime, so you’ll need to alter all your work to manual processes. To give you an idea of the severity of a power outage in a hospital, online sources report some patients at a major hospital were on electronic respirators that failed during an outage, and hospital staff attempted rescues by using manual respirators. Unfortunately, the manual efforts weren’t enough to sustain the patients’ well being.

So what’s the best way to combat the potential hazards of a full power outage? Medical computer systems with a hot swappable battery function can ensure you’re not without power. If you’re operating a respirator with a medical computer system that needs continuous power, using a system with sustainable battery life in the mishap of a failed power infrastructure can save lives. Even having a medical computer with an internal backup battery can be enough to bridge the gap between a power outage and getting backup generators online. Compromises in patient care won’t happen if your computer hardware is equipped to run on internal batteries.

Network Failures Cause a Wealth of Different Problems

Network infrastructures aren’t perfect, and at times components can fail—refer to the first paragraph about Murphy’s Law.  If you’re operating EMR software on a consumer-grade computer and the wireless network card fails, the problem will need to be diagnosed to take time away from patient care. This forces medical staff to resort to manual documentation and charting—which can introduce human error. Patients may get delayed medication, incorrect dosage, or the wrong medication because of a network hardware component failure. Compromises in patient care can happen simply because of the wrong hardware.

Ensuring your networked computers are equipped with proper wireless connectivity is one way to safeguard against network mishaps. First, it requires that the components of the computer are industrial-grade, made with high-quality transistors, diodes, and capacitors, to increase a Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) rating. Second, it’s best to utilize Intel-certified wireless network cards within your medical computer system to ensure high-quality connectivity in an environment where wireless communications are supremely important and likely to drop connection frequently. These two factors will reduce potential wireless hardware mishaps so patient care and data aren’t compromised.

Network Intrusions on your Medical Computer Systems Can be Devastating

Security in an online network shouldn’t be an afterthought; a single intrusion into a medical computer on a wireless network can introduce the wrong individuals onto a network, violating HIPAA regulations and compromising patient data for potentially thousands of people. Medical records actually sell for a pretty penny on the black market, more than credit card numbers, because people abuse them to get prescription drugs illegally. Plus, if there’s HIPAA violations it can cause a hospital between 50 to 100 thousand dollars per the severity of the violation—or it may end up shutting hospital doors.

To ensure patient safety and continued hospital operation, the solution is ensuring whatever medical computer systems you’re using have two-factor authentication protocols. Some states actually have TFA as a requirement. Plus, having a medical computer system with a Trusted Platform Module to encrypt the information is another layer of protection you can add so even if the internal hard drives are lost, stolen, or otherwise, the data on them can’t be easily read or retracted. Using a medical computer system with Imprivata Single-Sign On is one of the highest secure standards for medical professionals to safeguard information and make authentication easier than typing in huge, confusing passwords.

Disasters will happen in the medical world, but precaution can ensure fragile lives and important hospital operations aren’t sacrificed when mishaps strike. At Cybernet, we engineer our medical computers with these contingencies in mind. Ensure you’re protected by using the right medical computer systems to take care of patient needs—contact us today to learn more.

 

medical computers and emr certification

How EMR Software Upgrades Can Drive Computer Hardware Updates

The demand for computer capability has increased because of encroaching software complexity; we can no longer use clunky, old hardware to help our doctors and nurses complete an entire hospital shift. It’s not just a matter of how slow a process might run on a medical computer, but rather if a computer is compatible with software in question and how physicians interact with the computers. One of the reasons aging computers put restraints on the workflow for a hospital is because of increasing software demands, so here are several ways that software may drive the necessary upgrade in hardware.

Medical Computers are Popular for Multitasking

Computers don’t always serve just one purpose—multitasking is a commonplace activity, so what’s required is enough memory in order to support the concurrent programs they run simultaneously. Not enough RAM will turn any computer sluggish—multitasking and load time will suffer. It isn’t always easy to install more after deployment depending on the system. Some are sealed shut to prevent ingress, and so installing RAM may damage the internal components. Or, if the person installing RAM isn’t careful, the entire computer could receive electrostatic discharge turning it into a nice paperweight. The best way to address this problem is ensuring each computer in a deployment has more RAM than the minimum to run a particular software product. It’s a good idea to install the recommended level of RAM or go beyond what’s recommended. Thankfully, a lot of medical computers have customization options to choose how much RAM should be installed into the system before deployment.

EMR Systems Need Processing Power

If your EMR system is running sluggish, it’s time to upgrade. Most likely it’s a problem of an aged processor that can’t handle the number of Floating Point Operations Per Second (FLOPS), one measurement among many to determine the speed of a processor. Imagine all the frustrated doctors and nurses waiting to open a patient’s chart  while the computer cycles for several minutes just to display information. With the wide processor availability on the market, it can be a little confusing on what to select for a processor. Computers with Epic certification often run 6th generation Intel Skylake processors, common CPUs for a lot of Epic’s more complex modules. Medical staff can rest assured that the processor can handle software modules with ease and won’t suffer from excessive load times or computer hang-ups.

EMR Software Modules Utilize Touch Screen

A computer’s internal components aren’t the only factor in running a software product optimally. The way a doctor, nurse, or staff member interfaces with the software is also important. Imagine installing a VESA mountable computer only to find there’s no surface for using a keyboard or mouse and the computer isn’t touch-screen enabled! Touch screen functionality is important because it frees up the hands and removes the need for a physical keyboard if there’s no space for one. Plus, some EMR software products are only compatible with screens that are 24 inches diagonally in order to display all patient information. Computers with Epic certification are typically 24 inches or wider because of the visual aspect ratio for Epic; anything smaller and the software won’t run optimally—or at all.

Dedicated Video is a Must for some EMR Software

Surgeons using EMR software to give them instant video feedback—take an endoscopy for example—can’t use unclear, low-definition, choppy video to perform successful operations on patients. Upgrading to a surgical display equipped with a dedicated NVIDIA card is best for surgeons so they’re able to see in real-time what they’re doing as they perform on patients. Integrated video cards don’t provide that level of sophistication, so they pale in comparison to what a surgical display might provide.

Increased Software Security Means Increased Hardware Security

HIPAA violations are no laughing matter, and EMR software is developed with security in mind to prevent those violations. However, the software here dictates the requirements for hardware. Without a Trusted Platform Module (TPM), patient data is at a greater risk. TPMs encrypt patient information so drives can’t be pulled out of a medical computer and installed into a different computer, adding a layer of protection to sensitive information.

At Cybernet, we work with our partners to understand the complex challenges that healthcare IT professionals face on a daily basis. Because of that, we have engineered a full line of medical grade computers specifically engineered for multiple hospital and healthcare applications. For more information you can check out our website or contact us here.

 

medical computer systems and hot swappable battery

3 Reasons to Move On From Consumer Tablets to Medical Grade Tablets

The demand for technology in the medical field is a constant. Staff needs to operate on computers around the clock, and that requires a constant “live” time. With this expectation, hardware failure is a natural expectation especially if it’s a few years old. It might be difficult to hold on to old hardware because of user familiarity, tight budget constraints, or just because it’s “what we do here,” but there are some key reasons to eschew aged computers and tablets in favor of an upgrade to medical grade computers. Here are some strong reasons why.

Consumer Tablets Suffer Battery Life Constraints—Use a Medical Grade Tablet

It’s nice to keep patient records and work at hand when moving from room to room inside a hospital, but a lot of consumer-grade tablets suffer the whim of drained batteries—they’re devices that aren’t meant to be operated 24/7, and so the total battery life doesn’t match what a manufacturer may claim, or the manufacturer may make a claim of 10 hours of use with standard usage rates and not constant operation time. Furthermore, tablets are often sealed shut so battery removal isn’t a one-step process. That requires manufacturer involvement—shipping off the device for a few days to several weeks, depending on the severity of the problem.

The best idea for a medical professional is to use a medical grade tablet with a hot swappable battery, so in the event of a battery drain—or complete battery failure—the battery can be easily swapped out and people can go about their business unhindered by power problems. Lithium-Ion batteries are some of the most popular rechargeable batteries for medical use since they boast a long lifespan, carry a full shift’s battery life, and they can be replaced with a new hot swappable battery or multiple batteries to extend the life of the tablet so staff can focus on patient needs. Plus, medical computer systems are rated higher for their Mean Time Between Failure rating, promising a more sound investment with a lower Total Cost of Ownership over consumer-grade.

Extended Warranties—Are They Worth the Investment?

Extended warranties are hot points for retail stores. They might be viable solutions for hospitals if the CFO is purchasing units for an entire team to use, but they’re notorious for having extremely high profit margins to incentivize salespeople and management to push onto consumers. Some warranties offer accidental drop and damage protection warranties which cost even more, so it’s a question of the price per tablet, and if a consumer-grade extended warranty is even worth the money. If medical staff ends up not utilizing the warranties, it’s money out of pocket for the hospital. It’s not an argument that extended warranties are a bad idea—it’s just consumer-grade warranties may not fit the bill when there are medical computers available that can protect against workplace hazards.

There are rugged medical tablets that are built to withstand accidental drops and damage. Many of them pass physical harm tests, dropping them from a height of 5 feet or more to determine their resilience against damage. While they’re certainly not damage-proof, it’s nice to upgrade to a tablet featuring shock-mounted hardware and rugged materials so accidental damage is more of an afterthought than a concern. As before, a high MTBF rating also means these tablets are made to last far beyond a consumer-grade option, which makes them prime choices when facing upgrade time.

Security is an Ongoing Concern

Patient privacy needs to be at the forefront of any Healthcare IT person. Between HIPPA, State and Federal Regulations and even regulations mandated by certain major software providers, keeping patient medical records secure and private is a top priority. A movement towards Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in some healthcare facilities has raised a number of security issues in its own right. But even when IT departments choose to go with commercial grade tablets and mobile devices for their staff to use, security becomes a major issue.

Currently, Ohio is the only state that requires two factor authentication for medical workers to be able to log into their devices. That means in addition to a password, there is a need to use an RFID badge, a CAC card or some sort of biometric scan (fingerprint or iris) in order to be able to log onto a device. While it isn’t law in the other 49 states, recent studies suggest that more than 50% of all hospitals in the country are using two factor authentication as their standard. Commercial grade tablets simply aren’t equipped with the feature sets necessary to be Imprivata SSO certified. In order to manage two factor authentication one would need to purchase third party peripherals to attach to their devices, which creates a whole new slew of IT issues with regards to maintenance and upkeep.

Medical grade tablets come with integrated features like biometric readers, CAC readers and RFID technology. These devices are engineered to be Imrpivata SSO certified to handle two factor authentication right out of the box.

 

Cybernet carries a line of high-end medical tablets that are ruggedized, customizable to meet any security standards and have been engineered to withstand the demanding device strain that the healthcare industry demands. For more information on medical tablets you can visit our website or contact us here.

medical computers and their role with patient engagement in telehealth

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

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

Virtual Appointments are a Reality with Medical Computers

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

Online Patient Portals are More Common

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

Medical Computers Have Started Remote Patient Monitoring

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

Patient Engagement Solutions are Integrated into Hospitals

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

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

 

 

3 Ways Patient Infotainment is Improving Patient Health

Credence Research, a worldwide market research and counseling firm, reports that increasing demands across the US, UK, and other nations for patient infotainment systems have prompted large investments from hospitals, making patient infotainment one of the largest markets in the world. The last place anyone wants to visit for an extended period of time is a hospital, so we’re seeing an increase in patient infotainment solutions. Trends for this market have been on the rise, combining the entertainment software application market with medical tracking software so medical computers serve a dual purpose—informing medical staff about patient conditions, and (hopefully) improving patient conditions by taking their mind off of why they’re in a hospital to begin with. There’s more to infotainment than that, however, and it requires a little education in patient infotainment trends to understand why.

Trends in Patient Infotainment Remove the Mystery

It’s not always clear how things operate in hospitals. The standard used to be reliance on nurses for everything—changing a television channel, ordering food, adjusting the bed, and other factors that would detract from a nurse’s duties. Patient infotainment is designed to remove the guesswork and present all options to a patient while freeing up most of the menial duties originally tended to by nurses and doctors. Instead of using a call button, waiting for a nurse to arrive, and then asking for blinds to be open or shut, that process is a patient engagement wrapped into a medical computer that a patient can easily access. Fewer questions are asked, nurses and doctors have more time to address pressing needs, and patient satisfaction results are higher. This reduces workload and stress for medical staff, thus boosting morale, potentially opening the door for larger staff, reducing the patient to nurse ratio, and increasing overall hospital efficiency rates. A recent case study showed that a standard hospital in France had a total staff-to-patient care time of about eight minutes on average. Efforts to implement patient infotainment systems can increase that time. To add, patients can turn their infotainment into edutainment, learning about their ailments while awaiting their next visitation or apple pie. RomexSoft recently gave a list of five overriding goals of EHR, one of them being inclusion and engagement of patients in their own care. If patients are educated about their own ailments, they may know enough to avoid ending up in the hospital again. Infotainment systems are key in stimulating conversations between medical staff and patients, removing ignorance about medical conditions that are keeping patients from their normal lives.

Connectivity is a Phone Call Away

Perhaps the most crucial aspect of patient infotainment is the ability to reach out to friends and family. With voice-and-video applications built-in to the medical grade monitors, patients can reach out to loved ones with the touch of a few buttons to connect. This factor alone is probably the greatest patient satisfaction feature medical computers can provide in hospitals. Not only can patients talk with anyone online, the connectivity of a medical tablet gives access to music, YouTube, movies, and even games. Much of the patient recuperation process isn’t just about healing—it’s about taking care of the full needs of the patient, which includes mental stimulation and removing the feeling that a patient is “all alone.”

Patient Infotainment Still Needs to be Informative

The benefits of having a single medical grade monitor for both the patient and hospital staff are numerous. Nurses can check medical records and see instant patient biofeedback, then return the PC to patient use. Doctors can prescribe medications and then have them sent to patient rooms within minutes. With security features enabled like a CAC or RFID scanner, medical staff can access important records, hide the unimportant details for patients, and then return the PC to patient operating status. A lot of the EHR software is entirely cloud-based, so if there’s ever a PC malfunction it can be replaced quickly with minimal loss to data. Plus, EHR software updates can happen universally, avoiding EHR compatibility between PCs. Medical professionals are constantly kept at the latest version of their software, and patients get the latest entertainment values during their stay.

The CyberMed H22 medical grade all in one computer is a widely popular choice for hospitals and patient infotainment systems. It features a sealed front bezel to protect against dust and water, an anti-microbial housing to ward off infections, and is certified to be patient safe. It’s built with infotainment in mind, reducing time medical staff use to cater to a patient’s needs so they can focus on more important duties. Customize it today to fit your medical PC needs.

Data Corruption in Hospitals

How to Avoid Data Corruption in Hospitals: Prevention Starts with Awareness

Technology in any industry is always subject to Murphy’s Law; if a problem can arise, it will. That’s the lay of the land in tech, and there’s no avoiding it. However, awareness of data corruption in hospitals and being prepared with the right hardware helps any facility combat whatever technological mishaps might come around the corner, whether it’s mishandling equipment, faulty machinery, cybersecurity threats, drive failure in medical grade computers, or even an individual accessing the wrong data. Patient information is on the rise for the black market and is considered more “valuable” than credit card numbers. Individuals can access past healthcare records and use patient information to order medicine—which can lead to a host of other problems. In order to minimize these problems, it starts with awareness. Beyond that, here’s what’s in place to ensure data corruption in hospitals and cybersecurity breaches are kept to a minimum.

RAID Array

Redundancy is one of the primary keys to keeping data alive, especially in a highly mobile environment where hardware can (and will be) mishandled. Granted solid state drives have been more reliable in the past because of fewer moving parts, but it’s important to have redundancy in medical grade computers regardless of drive condition or health. Dual solid state drives are a necessity to avoid data corruption in hospitals. If a drive fails, the secondary drive is available to copy to a replacement drive during downtime windows. Plus, solid state is a technology that doesn’t require defragmentation management—maintenance doesn’t have to run defragmentation software to pull computers out of commission. Using this technology keeps data throughput high, time on medical grade computer maintenance low, computer profiles slimmer, and patient records more secure.

Auto-Shut Down with Hot-Swappable Batteries

Mobile environment computers can’t compromise with stationary power or faulty batteries. The wrong battery-powered tablet might shut off immediately on low power instead of auto-saving work and shutting down. A computer plugged into a wall outlet can potentially turn into a tripping hazard, especially if the machine needs to be relocated around patients. And if someone actually does trip and pull the plug out of the outlet, and unexpected system shutdown can cause data corruption in hospitals and their integrated systems, unless those systems are equipped with redundancy power systems or are battery powered “hot swap” computers. These medical grade computers are designed to run on multiple Lithium-Ion batteries that can be swapped out while the computer is still running. Alerts will notify a user when battery power is below a certain threshold and can even initiate a system shutdown before complete power loss to avoid any system corruption. Over time, the efficacy of a Lithium-Ion battery will wear down as will any rechargeable battery, and eventually must be replaced. However, having extra batteries on hand will ensure power downtime will be virtually timeless.

Cybersecurity as an Utmost in Importance

The wireless data transmissions of a hospital are constant, transferring files between several computers at high speeds. That’s why a lot of systems operate with Intel-certified WiFi and Bluetooth wireless modules so data transmissions run with more secure wireless transmissions. It’s important to have the best hardware to ensure data bouncing between mobile environment computers stays intact. As before, data transmission is never perfect, but using the best technology available to healthcare professionals ensures top encryption for wireless file transmissions. If data is ever captured for use outside the medical environment, encryption ensures that it can’t be read for any purpose, whether malicious or not.

There’s Always the Human Element

Data corruption in hospitals can happen with something we’re all prone to—accidental dropping and damage. It’s important to have data storage shock-mounted in case of these slight mishaps, but, as before, mobile environment computers often have a secondary layer of protection against accidental damage using a RAID array for storage. Even if there’s significant damage to storage on a mobile environment computer, data redundancy is ensured so loss is kept at a low rate of chance. Solid state drives have improved security benefits over older platter drives—without moving parts, drive information is less prone to loss because of better manufacturing trends. To put simply: we all drop things and that causes damage. Solid state drives break less.

The good news is that Cybernet’s medical grade computers offer all of these features. These computers are built from the ground up with several real-world aspects in mind, data corruption being one of them. Take a look at what we have to customize for your medical staff needs and put us to the test. Combining higher-quality manufacturing for solid state drives, higher encryption with Intel-certified WiFi/Bluetooth modules, and never-off, hot-swappable Lithium-Ion batteries, Cybernet’s computers are prime for the medical environment, boasting a less than 2% failure rate in real world application.

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.

One way that hospitals and other medical facilities are tackling these challenges is by investing in devices that utilize single sign on technology like that provided by Imprivata. These devices contain biometric readers or RFID technology that eliminates the need for manual password entry, making logging in to devices quicker and far more secure. 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.