medical computers

Mobile Phone vs Medical Tablet: What’s Best in Healthcare?

Technology you encounter at hospitals can be a tad confusing or funny at times. You see million dollar state-of-the-art scanners and treatment machines, but then you also see a doctor walk by with a 90s style pager clipped to their pocket.

 

The reason for this is that they both suit their purpose best. The most up-to-date scanners do a better job of identifying anomalies and areas of concern, and the old pagers have a longer battery life and better signal strength than cell phones can get in hospitals. You also see hospital staff roaming around with medical tablets more often than mobile phones, although one would think that mobile phones do just as much for cheaper.

 

However, there’s quite a bit of thought that goes into the tablets used by medical professionals.

Most standard mobile phones like the iPhone are created for general consumer use for normal daily activities like making calls, using the internet, or taking photos. Medical grade tablets are designed specifically for use in healthcare facilities.

 

For example, the Tangent Medix T13 has a magnesium chassis that makes it 33% lighter than aluminum and offers high impact resistance. The surface of the medical tablet is treated with an antimicrobial surface that prevents the growth and/or spread of infection and germs, and it also keeps the enclosure material from degrading over time. You’re not likely to see a feature like that on a regular mobile device. Mobile phones are also susceptible to water damage even from minor contact with it. The T13 medical tablet is rated at an IP65 level of protection from dust, water, or contaminant intrusion into the computer. Mobile phone design is meant to be sleek and aesthetically pleasing to the consumer eye, but without a good case and screen protector, they are not long for this world. Tangent’s medical tablets are constructed with a rugged design that has good grip and protected against vibration and shocks from short drops.

 

The internals of the devices also have quite a few notable differences. While a mobile device’s battery can be recharged within an hour or so, hospital staff simply can’t wait that long. Tangent’s T13 medical tablet has hot-swappable batteries that can be switched out while maintaining continuity in power. That is a huge thing for patient care, and a big reason why many still carry those old pagers to get quick notifications. If you know Apple, then you know that they don’t customize their product or allow for repairs, even replacing the battery when it’s bad.  Tangent enjoys offering accessories and options on their products that best suits the needs of their clients. On the outside, the T13 has a kickstand and a hand strap for easy mobility and visibility. Inside, they offer a barcode scanner and/or RFID for asset tracking or locating patients. The details make everything about a medical tablet, which is why medical facilities invest in what works best for them.

 

medical computers

Doing A Whole Lot With Very Little (Computers)

To most hourly employees, the work time clock is an annoying, but necessary evil. To payroll departments, it’s the most essential tool in the galaxy. And to IT departments, it’s something that needs to be available in lots of places around the company floor but also, out of the way. Most modern time clock stations are comprised of a touchscreen monitor, a badge card swiper, and some sort of computer system. In the spirit of space saving, many opt for a small form factor computer that sits on the back of the monitor but there are even more steps that can be taken to have a system that is reliable, long-lasting, practically imperceptible, and industrial quality. We all know that it quickly becomes nightmare when people can’t clock in and out. Tangent’s rugged, industrial mini computers are the perfect fit for such an application, especially if they need to accommodate even more functionality and environments harsher than a corporate office.  

The Tangent Rugged Mini Q industrial mini computer is considered an ultra mini form factor and comes with a surprising amount of features despite its diminutive size. The industrial mini computer has fanless cooling and mSATA solid state drive storage. Without any fans or moving disks to wear out and fail, the computer will have a longer usable lifespan and 24/7 uptime. This is key to applications that need to be at the ready at all times. An optional wireless card and antennas allow for fewer cables running to the system, which is great for kiosks that are wall mounted. At less than 5 inches in length and a weight of 1.35lbs, this ultra mini computer will barely be noticeable anywhere it is installed or mounted.

Rugged Mini Computer
Rugged Mini S

For a mini form factor industrial computer with a little more processing punch, the Rugged Mini S has an Intel 6th Generation Core series processor, Intel HD Graphics card, and up to 32GB of ram. Instead of just a time clock, you can have several other apps running like Office for shared calendars and email, perhaps guest check-in and forms software, office directories, or flash games for young clients in waiting rooms. Like the Rugged Q, this industrial grade mini computer system is also fan and disc free, can connect to wifi and be tucked away seamlessly behind a mounted monitor. And this is just two examples of the types of things that mini computers can do, and two of many types of mini computers that Tangent offers. From mundane repetitive tasks to processor heavy tasks, there’s an ultra mini industrial computer that can readily comply for many years.

A Medical Grade Family of Products

Medical Grade Family of Products

Integrating technology into hospital workflows has been massively transformational to a great many health care systems and providers.  An article from Healthcare IT News discusses how a hospital in New York was able to leverage technology to monitor patients and reduce transfers to the ICU by 63%. Staff at Saratoga Hospital were taking patients’ vital signs that were manually logged into the electronic health record to be assessed by nurses. This manual process made it slow and difficult for nurses to identify flags that a patient was deteriorating and needed intervention. Because of this, many patient’s states were degrading to the point of needing to go to the ICU. Through the use of the newly installed patient monitors, data was input directly into the EHR, reviewed by nurses with far more efficiency, and care was provided in a much more timely manner. With that, patient transfers to the ICU plummeted.

Patient monitors can come in a variety of applications and installations. Quite often you will see a mobile cart or a retractable swing arm on the patient’s room wall. In work areas, the PCs can be mounted directly onto the wall for ease of use in small offices. Mountable industrial PCs are versatile, modular, and powerful machines for both hospital and industrial settings. Tangent takes a holistic approach to providing whole project solutions for mountable industrial PC setups; they offer a variety of both industrial and medical computers, and mounting options for them to suit the unique requirements encountered at each patient care facility. Tangent offers easy fold IT stations, arm workstation systems, variable height mounting solutions, and monitor arms that can handle dual monitors. Tangent’s cart solutions range from top of the line, smartly featured, inductive charging mobile workstations, to lightweight, uncomplicated stands. Each product is tested to be durable, reliable, and versatile.

 

Medix C24 Medical Computer
Medix C24 Medical Computer

For hospital environments, a medical grade mountable PC is perfect to help ward off infection and provide features clinical settings most often desire. The C-series from Tangent ranges from 17” to 24”. With VESA mounting options, they can be installed on most any carts, arms, walls, or used with an optional stand as a desktop device. The same type of mounting options are available for many of Tangent’s industrial grade PCs. The computer in a clean room doesn’t need an antimicrobial coating as with the PCs in patient areas, it needs to be able to be washed with solutions and hot water for complete sterilization. Be it with patient monitoring systems or with automating hospital inventories, replacing manual processes with streamlined tech solutions is proven to create drastic improvements in safety, patient care stats, and efficiency.

 

There’s Small, and Then There’s Mini

Picture a small desktop computer in your mind. Even today, they are fair sized rectangular boxes that take up a considerable amount of space on the desk or underneath it. Now picture a mini PC… Is it just a tad smaller than the desktop? With Tangent’s line of industrial rugged mini PCs, you’d have to imagine quite a bit to approach the reality of their diminutive size and the fact that they are still full featured PCs.

rugged mini PC

Tangent’s Rugged Mini O PC is a fascinating little computer with a fully stainless steel and waterproof housing that is rated at an IP69K.  Because of its threaded sealed ports, external devices plugged into the ports will not introduce water or dust into the unit. The mini PC also has plugs for the ports when they are not being utilized to ensure protection from water and contaminants. A solid state drive and passive fanless cooling technology make the mini PC a perfect candidate for work areas that require extremely sanitary conditions, areas where dirt or high moisture is common, or any industrial environment where space or contamination is a concern. It’s a great PC for places like the Los Amigos Biological Station in the jungles of the Amazon in Peru, or even at an outdoor venue in Hilo, Hawaii where rain is a near daily occurrence.

RUGGED MINI

For those needing a computer in the most compact of spaces, the Rugged  Mini L2 PC is one of the slimmest of them all. This super mini PC weighs a paltry amount at just over five pounds, with a thickness of just 1.3 inches. It can easily be mounted underneath a desk, in a luxury car, on industrial vehicles, in AV closets for conferences rooms, and anywhere that has limited room but still requires a reliable and durable computer.  Even with it’s tiny size, the L2 mini PC still manages to provide 12 I/O ports including 3 display ports and 4 USB ports. The PC can accommodate wireless internet access, 16GB of memory, 2TB of storage and has shock and vibration resistance. It’s hard to believe all of these features fits in such a small computer.

Rugged Mini E3

So the Mini O is great for those needing a water tight system, and the L2 is a perfect fit in tight spaces, but what about extreme temperature environments like the cold of the frozen north or the heat of the desert?  The Rugged Mini E2 PC was constructed to easily withstand extreme temperatures from -40°F to 158°F. Protection for -40°F may seem like overkill, but just this year, those temperatures were recorded in the high north of Minnesota and Wisconsin, and that’s a normal winter temperature in very remote places like Grise Fjord, Nunavut, Canada. The temperature rating makes sense in a place like that, but what benefits would a mini PC have there? The housing in Grise Fjord is quite sparse and small; even the airport is considered more of a shelter than a terminal, so aviation and computer equipment all have to be as compact as possible. In our world and in business, there are a great variety of environments that require specialized equipment to survive and succeed.

coMING OF AGE

Coming of Age of a Medical Computer

Coming of Age of a Medical Computer

 

In the 1990s, the term “medical computer” didn’t mean much more than a PC in a doctor’s office, or computers set up specifically for order entry, medical database access, or patient surveys. The equipment itself wasn’t anything special or purpose built for the medical field. Nowadays, a medical grade computer is expected to provide clinical resources, constant uptime, and also protect patients and staff from the spread of infection. Mobile clinical carts use medical panel PCs for in-room patient care, staff use tablets to put in patient meal orders or pharmacy orders, and even the LCD monitors are of a certified medical grade.

 

Modern CDC guidelines require that medical computers be UL/IEC60601-1 certified after in-depth testing for safe use near patients, other medical equipment, and performance compliance. Antimicrobial coatings on medical computers have the capability to kill or inhibit the growth of microbes on their surface or surrounding environment. The antimicrobial agents are formulated for low toxicity, minimal environmental problems, and prolonged lifetime of the computer components the agent is applied to. Tangent’s medical computers are not only 60601 certified and antimicrobial, they are also IP rated to prevent ingress of water or contaminants. The Medix C24 medical computer has an IP65 front panel. It’s also loaded with I/O ports and mounting options so that it can be used for carts, arms, desktops, or anywhere it’s needed.

 

In addition to being suited to safety and sanitation needs, medical grade computers have to stay at the forefront of technological advances in order to serve ever-changing clinical requirements and advances. As soon as touchscreen technology became widely available, they started being integrated into medical devices and hospital workflows. Tangent’s M24T medical computer offers PCAP multi-touch, up to 32GB of memory, Intel Core processors, advanced graphics capabilities, and a built-in webcam. Why is a webcam important?  Telemedicine or “virtual visit” doctor appointments have become a popular alternative to in-person visits. Patients can conduct live video chats with a doctor 24-7 via web meetings. The M24T medical computer also has a UPS battery backup. If a doctor is meeting with a patient and the power goes out, the meeting can still proceed uninterrupted. Tangent’s computers are also validated to work well with popular EMR software packages like Cerner or Epic.

 

Medical computers have come a long way over the decades; they are safer, sturdier, more secure, and reliable than ever. Tangent’s industrial and medical PCs have far too many features to mention in one article, but they are all built to provide the most utility, versatility and value to its users.