Medical Grade Monitor Meaning

Medical Grade Computer Monitor: What is the Meaning?

It may be surprising to hear, but calling a monitor “medical grade” isn’t just a marketing tactic. To be a medical monitor, the medical monitor must meet certain legal criteria that allows for the use of the term. These criteria, such as EN/IEC 60601-1 compliance, help keep both patients and doctors safe from workplace hazards. Other features are not legally required, but help maintain a safe and productive work environment in your hospital. These features range from bacteria resistance to touchscreen support, and provide medical personnel with quality of life improvements not found in commercial monitors. Medical monitors are designed specifically for use in the hospital, and their compliance with legal standards and catalogue of features help make them the best choice for hospitals. 

 

Safety Standards

In order to be sold as a medical monitor, a medical monitor must be compliant with the EN/IEC 60601-1 standard from the National Fire Protection Association Health Care Facilities Code (NFPA 99). The IEC 60601-1 standards are used widely across the globe to create electronics that are safe for use in the medical setting. The EN 60601-1 standards are extremely similar to their IEC counterparts, and function as north america’s variant of the code. These safety standards include rules that limit the amount of electrical leakage from medical monitors to 100 microamps, making them safe for use around patients. 

 

Alongside EN/IEC 60601-1 standards, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has its own set of regulations that govern medical monitors. Under 510(k) regulations, medical monitors must be demonstrated to be as effective and safe as a medical monitor that is currently on the market. This set of regulations ensures that ineffective or otherwise low quality monitors are not available on the market as medical monitors, saving hospitals from potentially buying fraudulent medical monitors and harming patients in the process. Some commercial monitors are able to meet these standards, but they are not explicitly designed to do so and may not be as effective as a stand-in medical monitor over time. Commercial grade monitors also do not feature image accuracy software, which is critical for making diagnoses and in the surgery room.

 

Higher Image Accuracy

In the medical setting, computer monitors are not only used for displaying web pages and spreadsheets, but also for showing x-ray images and other diagnostic images. Having these images displayed as accurately as possible is critical to making accurate diagnoses and decisions for care. Experts are still debating on how many colors exactly the human eye can discern, but current estimates put the number around ten million. Tangent’s lineup of medical monitors can display 16.7 million colors, 50% more than is assumed we can currently see. So why have this many colors then? Having this range of color output options allows for greater accuracy matching an image’s true color makeup as the eye would normally see it as if it were printed out. This allows doctors and medical staff to make precise decisions when looking at images and have confidence in their judgement.

 

Most commercial monitors can meet this range of color output, however they do not possess the necessary control system to fully utilize it. Traditional commercial monitors have a manual color control system attached to their monitor normally labeled “brightness control.” While this manual system works fine for home and commercial use, it fails to be useful in the medical setting. Luminance levels vary depending on how long a monitor has been in use, with large shifts occurring from startup to being fully warmed up. If a commercial monitor were to be used in lieu of a medical monitor, one would have to manually adjust the brightness control constantly to maintain image accuracy, all without having a reference point. This would be like tuning a guitar string without knowing what note it is supposed to correspond to.

 

To avoid the discoloration associated with the variance of luminance levels across time, medical monitors today feature Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) standards support. Medical monitors that utilize DICOM standards feature technology built into the monitor that actively changes luminance levels to best represent the image on screen as accurately as possible. This automated brightness control system is critical to the medical setting, as it allows for medical monitors to be used with confidence that they are displaying images accurately.

 

Bacteria and Disease Resistance

Diseases contracted in the medical setting, often referred to as nosocomial infections, are a massive concern for hospitals across the country. Not only are such infections a liability for the hospital, but they also go against the purpose of institutions designed to make people healthier. Limiting the spread of nosocomial diseases like MSRA superbugs is critical to hospitals, and therefore critical to medical monitor providers. Tangent’s medical monitors are designed with nosocomial infections in mind and are built to help combat these diseases. 

 

Tangent’s medical monitors feature an antimicrobial additive that is coated onto the monitor’s enclosure directly. This antimicrobial additive helps mitigate the growth of bacteria on the medical monitor’s surface, and thus prevents diseases from forming on the monitor. This is especially useful to Tangent’s medical monitors specifically, as they are fully touch screen enabled. This allows both doctors and nurses to quickly scan medical charts with their fingers without worrying about how many hands have touched the monitor that day. The medical monitors are also IP65 rated water resistant, meaning that it can be easily cleaned with normal cleaning products. The antimicrobial additive is waterproof as well, and will not come off with regular cleaning, making the entire medical monitor safe for regular cleaning. 

 

Medical Monitors: The Safe Choice

Not only do medical monitors meet the legal standards to be sold as medical monitors, they utilize vital features that make them ideal for the medical setting. Using medical monitors in your hospital ensures that patients and doctors are not experiencing abnormal levels of electrical leakage. They also perform critical image accuracy procedures to produce precise pictures on screen for diagnosis. Being touchscreen enabled, medical monitors’ antimicrobial enclosures are critical to helping prevent nosocomial infections. When it comes to the medical setting, it’s clear that medical monitors are necessary tool for safe and accurate computer usage.

 

Tangent Medical Tablet

What is a Medical Tablet ?

As hospitals increasingly computerize their workstations, the use of paper records has dropped considerably. While the introduction of computers in the hospital space has drastically increased their efficiency, the mobility of information that physical paper records entailed was nearly lost. This is where Medical Tablets found their niche, offering the same benefits as medical PCS and paper based records in one package. But what exactly is a medical tablet, and what are they used for?

 

Medical tablets are custom built tablets specially designed for the healthcare setting. There are many things that seperate medical tablets from their commercial counterparts, but to name a few:

 

  • Antimicrobial Enclosure – Commercial tablets are much like phones in that their surfaces are bacteria riddled, being some of the dirtiest surfaces we touch on a regular basis. Clearly in the medical setting, this would not do. Medical tablets feature antimicrobial enclosures, which inhibit the growth of bacteria on all surfaces of the tablet. All medical PCs feature such enclosures, but their inclusion on medical tablets that can be passed through multiple provider and patient hands in a day is paramount.

 

Tangent MedixT13
Tangent MedixT13
  • Hot-Swap Batteries – No one likes waiting around an outlet for hours while their phone charges, and in the medical setting there is no time to wait around while your medical tablet recharges. That’s why medical tablets like the Medix T13 Medical Tablet from Tangent come equipped with Hot-Swap battery technology, which allows for batteries to be independently charged from the tablet for later use. Hot-Swap batteries ensure that your medical tablets will have 100% uptime while on the job, and give your staff one less thing to worry about while helping patients.

 

Tangent MedixM8
Tangent MedixM8

 

  • Security Features – Abiding by HIPPA regulations is critical to hospitals providing safe and effective healthcare, and medical tablets are built to help hospitals meet these guidelines. Medical tablets like the Medix M8 Medical Tablet from Tangent have built-in smartcard readers, to ensure that only approved medical staff are accessing pertinent medical information.

 

 

These features, added together, ensure that medical tablets are the perfect computer for a wide variety of hospital computing jobs. Antimicrobial enclosures allow medical tablets to be passed between patient and staff member without worry of spreading harmful infections. Hot-Swap batteries enable medical tablets to operate on medical carts without needing to wait to be charged. Enhanced security features ensure that patient data is safe, and only accessible to those who are cleared. Medical tablets fill in the gap that paper records left when they were replaced with computers, and they fill this gap exceptionally better than paper ever could. 

 

cardiac arrest medical monitoring

Every Minute Counts with Cardiac Arrest

When cardiac incidents occur in a hospital, every minute that passes can be a factor in whether the patient survives or not. According to Heart.org, in 2016, only about 25 percent of U.S. patients survived when their hearts stopped in a hospital. With how busy medical staff are and the amount of alerts going off all the time, it often happens that a crucial one goes unnoticed for some time. For many hospital systems, the answer to this is to employ Central Monitoring Units (CMU). A CMU consists of nurses and clinicians at a remote site that watch patient vital signs on a computer and call hospital staff if they notice potential emergency situations like the onset of ventricular tachycardia. The end goal is give front-line hospital staff notice of serious cardiac events an hour or more before they happen. This is a challenging objective since the process is heavily reliant on medical technicians to identify key signals from massive data streams on hundreds of patients. However, even the short amount of notice they are able to give has been life saving in many cases already.

Fast data analysis and response from a remote clinician is possible only with fast medical computers to aid their efforts. A medical grade computer like Tangent’s E24B offers the performance, safety, and uptime required for a crucial job of this nature. Its 24” monitor with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 allows for many monitors and applications to be displayed clearly to the medical technician, and the projected capacitive touchscreen makes working between application screens quick and efficient. The medical computer has an impressive 32GB of available memory, solid state drives, and is powered by the latest in Intel Core technology. One can be assured that many applications will  run at once without freezing or crashing. Continuous operation is paramount for staff monitoring patient cardiac activity, and so the E24B computer is designed with 3x hot-swappable batteries in case of power outages or if the station needs to be moved.

Medical Computer CMU

Advances in artificial intelligence will be the next step in improving monitoring and identifying patients in danger, but the human component will likely always be necessary in that process. A trained technician is important for providing the expertise and experience to make a judgement call. AI may certainly attain a human level of aptitude for patient monitoring, but for now medical computers best shine as a reliable support and data gathering tool. With enough ingenuity and creative use of technology, hospitals will be able to push that 25% cardiac arrest survival rate up much higher.