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Computer Redundancy: A Matter of Life or Death in Medical Environments

Computer Redundancy: A Matter of Life or Death in Medical Environments

For most people, a power outage constitutes a moderate inconvenience. Cooking dinner or watching TV is out of the question for a few hours, but soon enough life returns to normal with little consequence. For a medical facility, however, a power outage can be quite catastrophic and even life threatening for patients. A sustained loss of power can cause downtime on respiratory devices, medical computers, monitoring devices, and critical equipment for patients in neonatal,  intensive care or cardiac units. Emergency or time critical procedures cannot be performed and loss of refrigeration can severely affect medications and stored blood and tissues. Without any power, medical computers cannot access electronic patient medical records and other hospital data, and orders for medication or procedures cannot be completed. With worsening weather patterns around the world and the prevalence of rolling blackouts, the outlook seems fairly bleak, but this is not the case for well prepared hospitals and care providers. Many facilities now employ a mix of powerful backup generators and equipment with hot-swappable batteries or UPS (uninterruptible power supply) systems for critical devices.

Purpose built medical grade computers can make a huge positive impact on service delivery during a power loss event. Tangent offers several all-in-one medical computers that offer battery backup options for such occasions. The Tangent T24B medical computer was designed with three easy-to-use hot-swappable batteries and battery bays to ensure a 24/7 runtime. This provides up to 10.5 hours of runtime without any interruption of power to the user. The T24B also offers antimicrobial treatment to deter the spread of infection, a 24 inch PCAP ten point multi-touch touchscreen, is shielded to prevent interference with other sensitive medical equipment, and has several options for mounting including cart arms, wall mounts, or a stand.

The Tangent M24T 24″ medical computer has an internal UPS battery backup that offers 30 minutes of uninterrupted power. This allows staff to continue working for a time without having to swap out any batteries. The M24T is a high performance machine that can be equipped with up to 32G of memory. The Tangent C24 24” medical computer also has an internal UPS battery backup that allows for 20 minutes of use without any external power. The C22 works very well on medical carts and arms due to it’s convenient front panel buttons, antimicrobial surface, and PCAP touchscreen. All the medical computers mentioned here are offered in a variety of screen sizes and with a variety of available system upgrades and optional accessories to best suit the needs of the care providers and their patients. Disaster recovery is a major focal point for many medical organizations, but the best prepared hospital systems avoid many potential disasters by using equipment and medical devices that offer internal or external battery backups. Several of Tangent’s medical grade all-in-one computers were designed for the continuity of patient care even in the face of unforeseen losses of power, while also delivering top level performance 24 hours a day.

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The Importance of Business Grade Tablets

Business vs Consumer Tablets  : Know the Difference

 

The claim of 10-hour battery life on most newer tablet computers sounds pretty good, but there’s a few striking caveats to those promises, and quite a few other issues with those systems that make them poor choices as business machines. For one, most consumer tablets are intended for casual web browsing or watching videos, not for many hours of continued, application-heavy use. Under those conditions, the batteries on those types of tablets tend to drain out in closer to four hours. This doesn’t seem like much of a problem for people who are able to sit next to an outlet and charge back up, but so much of business happens on the go. And another massive problem is being unable to swap the battery when it does run out. This forces businesses to face the costly need to have several tablets on hand to keep up with their work demands. Consumer tablets are also designed to be handheld or used with a separate cradle or custom mounting apparatus.

Yes, the price points of of consumer-grade computer equipment makes them attractive at a blush, but industrial grade tablets and computers offer businesses a higher quality experience and durability that translates to even more cost effectiveness in the long run. Industrial tablets like Tangent’s P13 thirteen inch industrial all-in-one computer can make all the difference for operations requiring sustained mobile computing over long periods of time. The P13’s removable Li-Ion battery offers up to 6 hours of uninterrupted heavy use, and of course, comes with a power supply for charging. The tablet can accept a wide range of power inputs from 12-19VDC.

It’s VESA 75 capability means it can be mounted almost anywhere, with flexible installation options. If handheld use is required, the sturdy industrial tablet is easily carried since it’s only 3.75lbs and has an ultra slim design at 19mm in thickness. Warehouse employees can easily and quickly move the industrial tablet computer from one work kiosk to another. Field engineers can diagnose and complete repairs at several work sites in a day without having to worry about charging. Businesses can also feel assured of their investment because of the P13’s industrial grade construction. The industrial tablet has a completely fanless operation so there are no moving parts in the computer and no dust will build up in the internals, ensuring a reliable, durable and long-lasting life of the product. It was designed to function as a full-fledged workhorse computer system, not just an oversized smartphone.

Versatility, customization, ruggedness, and power are hallmarks of Tangent’s industrial tablet computers. The P13 tablet has a configuration panel that opens up to many of the swappable components that are housed together for easy access and quick upgrades or repair. This sort of access to internal components is unheard of in the consumer tablet world. And for the casual technology user, that’s not much of an area of concern, but businesses require much more control and trust in the computers that they depend on for their livelihood.

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Computer Arm Mounts Increase Efficiency

Computer Arm Mounts Increase Efficiency

A medical charting station sounds like a pretty high end technical workstation, but for the longest time, it simply meant a wooden or metal cabinet or desk built into a wall of a clinical room that held physical medical charts. It was space efficient, yes, but hardly any wonder of modern discovery. They did think to put locks on them, so the old timers at least get points for patient privacy there. Once computers became cost effective and small enough, health facilities started cramming them into those cabinet work spaces whose openings strikingly resembled the seat-back tray tables on airlines. As quickly as they could, medical charting practices advanced onto sophisticated electronic medical records software platforms. Though the paper charts were a thing of the past, the computer systems that accessed the EMRs were about as flexible as having your laptop propped up on that airline tray table. The next evolution for the medical charting station is now the use of medical computer arms married with a folding IT station. Adjustability, dexterity, durability, and space efficiency create a winning combination that medical practices seek out in their medical computer equipment.

The Tangent Easy-Fold IT Station with medical computer arm offers its users customized configuration options to mount a flat panel display, keyboard and computer conveniently to a wall for maximum flexibility and ergonomic performance. The features on the medical arm system are numerous and impressive. The entire system easily folds back to less than 9 inches (22.9cm) from the wall and users can adjust from sitting to standing in one fluid motion. The adjustable arm helps to position the monitor and keyboard for maximum productivity for care providers who are on their feet all day and also to allow patients to see the screen without having to move or strain themselves. This has been helpful to me at the dentist’s office when they wanted to show me my x-rays while I had a suction tube in my numbed mouth. Better that they moved the monitor to my level, lest I haplessly drool all over their equipment. There is 17 inches of overall vertical adjustment range on the medical computer arm that can accommodate users of any height, and they can easily lock that adjusted computer height in place to avoid sudden movements or accidents. The monitor itself has 6.5 inches of independent height adjustment and the keyboard folds up to sit flush with the system when it’s pushed back to the wall.

More features include optional CPU mounts, VESA 75/100 mounting options, and trays for items like barcode scanners or computer mouses. The construction of the Tangent Easy-Fold IT station and medical arm is of durable aluminum and, being of medical grade, comes with a sealed keyboard tray for better infection control. Tangent protects most of their computer products with antimicrobial additives or constructs them to withstand heavy cleaning for patient safety and hospital compliance. Coupling a medical purpose built Tangent computer system with an IT workstation and medical arms of this nature provides a high degree of assurance in both safety and flexibility.

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A Firewall for Your Finger Tips

A Firewall for Your Finger Tips

We spend quite a bit of time discussing sanitation on medical computers and monitors, but we’d be remiss to not center some of the spotlight on the computer component that not only provides access to the system but also experiences most of the physical contact: the keyboard. In medical environments, the main objective of their operations is to improve patient health, but equally scrutinized is a facility’s ability to protect their patient’s private health information. Though it seems like the most expendable of peripherals, a medical grade keyboard can actually prove to be a major asset in both of those goals.

Tangent’s newest anti-microbial medical keyboard, the MEDKYB-011,  sets out to safeguard patients from infection and from data breaches.  First on the list of sanitary measures is that the keyboard is treated with an antimicrobial additive to prevent the spread of germs and contaminants. The medical keyboard also comes equipped with a cleaning switch which allows you to cut the power to the keyboard and thoroughly clean a disinfect it without causing any damage. With many hands and fingers touching the keyboard every day, it’s key to have a durable, long-lasting, and germ-free product. I’ve turned over numerous keyboards and watched in disgust as years old food crumbs and dirt came tumbling out from between the keys. This is absolutely unacceptable in a hospital environment.

Anti-microbial protection and the ability to be washed is where most medical keyboards finish in terms of special features. The Tangent MEDKYB-011 medical keyboard comes with analytical software that can provide data that most compliance officers would do backflips to be able to obtain. Hospitals will be able to know what keyboard was cleaned, who cleaned it, and when it was last cleaned. This can be achieved through monitoring logins, or to be even more compliance assured, the medical keyboard has an optional biometric fingerprint reader to log users in. There is also an option to add OneSign Secure Walk-Away software to work in conjunction with the medical keyboard and computer cameras for more effective and assured protected health information (PHI) and avoid a number if HIPAA violations.  In hectic, shared workstation settings, it can easily happen that hospital staff don’t check to see if someone else logged into their computer since they left it. This can lead to them charting under the wrong provider ID or on the wrong patients’ record. Also, if a medical care provider had to walk away from a workstation in an emergency, a patient’s personal information is left up on the screen for anyone to copy down. It’s easy to see what a disaster that could turn into.

The Secure Walk-Away application provides user tracking to identify an authenticated user in front of the computer and will automatically lock the system upon their departure, providing instant re-authentication when they return. This saves on so much time and removes the stress of having to remember to log in and out of the workstation, which is huge for any care provider with an already stressful workload. Tangent looks at a hospital processes and pain points, and targets its products to improve medical user’s experience, enhance workflows, and protect patients. The best and most reliable technology goes into each offering, even into its medical keyboards.