What to Consider Before Buying a Medical Panel PC
The decision to buy a medical panel PC is not as easy as it seems. There are many options out there and a lot of marketing jargon that could be misleading. To help you start the process, here are some factors to consider before pulling the trigger.
Medically Certified vs Medically Compliant
It's crucial to pay attention to the wording because these two terms don't mean the same thing. Compliance means the specifications of the computer simply meet a standard but is not actually tested and verified.
The problem with compliance is that any company can claim their product is compliant with almost anything. Unless an accredited laboratory has verified that a computer meets all specifications it isn't 60601-1 certified.
Certification, on the other hand, means the product passed stringent medical Grade EMC and Safety testing by an accredited laboratory and received a formal certificate of conformance to the medical standards.
If you're unsure, the best approach is to ask the company to send you the medical certification. If they refuse to do so, then their computer is most likely not certified.
Computer Life Cycle Length
It's important to consider the life expectancy and life cycle of the computer you implement. Many hospitals and healthcare facilities opt for an off-the-shelf consumer computer. Although an average consumer computer can survive for many years, a model is usually only available for purchase from the manufacturer for 1.5 years.
One of the biggest problems with this life cycle is how long it takes for your hospital or facility to deploy the new systems. Sometimes it takes years for hospitals to finish implementation, which means this model might not even be available if you need more.
Cybernet PCs have an average life cycle of 5+ years, and sometimes longer. That ensures you can find the same computer you're running years later in case of expansion or replacement with different specs. It also guarantees the manufacturer will still be providing support for your model.
Are you HIPAA Compliant?
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has some rules to ensure patients' privacy. They aim for healthcare providers to stick to best practices and give patients more control over their health information.
There are a few tools to help you be HIPAA compliant. One of the strongest and most popular is Imprivata Single Sign-on software (SSO)
The software aims to reduce the redundancy of typing usernames and passwords while giving you the HIPAA compliance security you need. It enables healthcare professionals to focus their time on patients and not technology problems and keeps patient privacy.
A good shortcut is to find an Imprivata certified computer with built-in Imprivata certified components to eliminate third party dongles and have a device ready for HIPAA compliance out of the box.
Can it Connect to Your Hardware and Legacy Equipment?
As technology advances, faster and more efficient ways of transferring data are created, such as USB 3.0 and USB Type C. Although this is great for speed and efficiency, the problem is legacy equipment gets left in the dust.
Most hospitals have expensive legacy equipment and it would cost a fortune to upgrade all the old specialized equipment in one shot. That's why it's important to pick a computer that would allow you connectivity with all the devices you need whether they're new or old.
How Much Processing Power Do You Need?
Most computers are powerful enough to handle most applications in our current times, but it's preferable to have ample power so your medical panel computer can perform the needed tasks with ease, rather than just meet the standards.
It's important to find a scalable computer so you can customize and upgrade to meet your needs if anything changes in the future.