Medical Grade Monitor Meaning

Medical Grade Computer Monitor 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.

 

med-all-in-onepcs

Medical All-In-One PCs

Tangent’s medical all-in-one PCs are built for 24/7 use in the hospital setting. Our line of medical all-in-one PCs are highly customizable to fit your workplace needs, and are designed with physician and patient safety and hygiene in mind.

Tangent Medix T24B
Tangent Medix T24B

 

IP65 Sealed and Protected

Tangent’s medical all-in-one PCs like the Medix T24B are IP65 certified water resistant. This allows the surface of the medical all-in-one PC to be easily cleaned without worry about damage. This sealing also prevents harmful bacteria growth in the cracks between the casing and screen, reducing the risk of interhospital disease spread. 

 

Medix C24
Medix C24

 

Long Lifecycle

Every medical all-in-one PC built by Tangent is designed to perform as efficiently as possible for as long as possible. The Medix C24 is a medical all-in-one PC that greatly exemplifies this, featuring a future-proof Intel I7 processor and up to 32 gigabytes of RAM. The requirements of a medical all-in-one PC vary from room to room, but with Tangent computers you won’t have to worry about being unable to run the latest healthcare programs. When expansion is needed, our medical all-in-one PCs feature PCIE expansion slots as well as multiple I/O slots to ensure that they are able to be used well into the future.

 

Medix E22B
Medix E22B

 

Medically Certified

Every medical all-in-one PC used in healthcare is required to meet UL/EN 60601 standards for electrical safety. Every medical PC created by Tangent meets these standards, and are guaranteed to be safe for use around patients and sensitive medical equipment. This enables medical all-in-one PCs like the Medix E22B to take full advantage of its hot-swap battery technology and be used on a constant basis without worry for physician’s or patient’s safety.

 

 

Tangent Medix T22B
Tangent Medix T22B

 Antimicrobial Enclosure

Mitigating the spread of diseases in hospitals is not only a top priority for hospitals themselves, but for Tangent as well. We strive to create medical all-in-one PCs that are as safe as possible, which is why every medical all-in-one PC we make features an antimicrobial enclosure. These enclosures inhibit the growth of dangerous diseases such as MRSA on their surfaces, allowing PCs like the Medix T22B to be safely used by multiple medical staff in the same day.

 

 

Medix KW Series
Medix KW Series

 

Front Facing Camera

Patient care is a constantly changing challenge, but with medical computers like the Medix KW Series, you can be one step ahead of the game. These medical all-in-one PCs feature front facing cameras, allowing doctors to “visit” with patients in recovery without having to trek across the entire hospital. These cameras also allow doctors to communicate over chat services, attend virtual meetings, and even take pictures of injuries for later examination. The possibilities of this feature are truly endless, and ensure that your hospital stays ahead of the curve.

 

 

 

MedicalPC

Medical PC: Customizable for Your Healthcare Needs

While All-In-One PCs do feature the capabilities of a PC, keyboard, mouse, and monitor in one convenient package, there’s always more room to fit in a few more features. At Tangent, our Medical PCs are built to be customized, having multiple options to fit your hospital’s unique needs. These customization options make medical PCs from Tangent the perfect platform to build on.

 

Tangent Medix T19B
Tangent Medix T19B

Hot Swap Battery Charging Station

Medical care is a 24 hour industry, and your medical PCs shouldn’t have to be out of commision charging for hours when they could be working. That’s why medical PCs like the Medix T19B from Tangent come equipped with Hot Swap battery technology, allowing you to seamlessly replace batteries without interruption. This technology allows this medical PC to be used on the go, while operating as though it was plugged into an outlet. When plugged in, the Medix T19B operates like a normal desktop and charges its batteries. However, sometimes an extended period of unplugged usage is needed, and you may find yourself having exhausted all three batteries. With the optional external battery charging station, this is no longer an issue and the Medix T19B can run around the clock.

 

Tangent Medix KW
Tangent Medix KW

 

 

Barcode and RFID Scanners

RFID technology has seen an explosion in use over the last decade, and has become an indispensable tool to hospitals. Tangent knows this, and that’s why medical PCs from Tangent can be customized to have RFID reading technology. Medical PCs like the

 KW series can easily be customized to include RFID readers without the need for a third party peripheral. Likewise, Tangent medical PCs can be equipped with barcode scanners right out of the box for use in the hospital.

 

 

Tangent Medical Computer T22B
Tangent Medix T22B

 

vPro

IT departments in every sector use vPro to monitor activities on company computers. vPro can be used to diagnose computers without IT needing to be physically present, and can greatly increase productivity. However, not every medical PC needs this technology right out of the box, and Tangent knows this. That’s why medical PCs like the Medix 22B have the option of including vPro, but not the requirement. This customization allows you to decide when and where vPro is used, and not worry about having unnecessary features.

 

Medix E22B
Medix E22B

 

Cameras and Microphones

One of the greatest advantages of having All-In-One medical PCs from Tangent is their versatility; a medical cart and operating room can run on the same exact medical PC. Take the Medix E22B and E24B from Tangent for example, these computers feature  the Hot-Swap battery technology to be used on medical carts, but can also be customized to include a front facing auto-focus Camera and microphone. This allows the E22 medical PCs to be used to check in on patients in recovery, host remote meetings, and take pictures and videos. This customization option has limitless medical applications, and all on a computer that can be used in any situation!

 

And Many More

These are just a few of optional features that Tangent medical PCs have to offer. Smart ID reading, VESA mounting, and expanded storage options are also available for Tangent medical PCs. Whatever your computing need is, you can be sure there’s a customization option that will make a Tangent medical pcr your number one choice.

 

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. 

 

Medical Grade PCs

Medical Grade PC for Hospital Performance and Efficiency

The introduction of computers in the workplace has made a litany of everyday tasks more manageable and efficient. Nowhere else is this as clearly seen than in the medical setting. Computers in hospitals have evolved from being simple filing systems to being fully integrated and specialized tools that are indispensable to everyday operations. These computers have forked from traditional workplace computers, and fall under the umbrella term, “Medical Grade PC.” Medical grade PCs are custom tailored for the hospital setting, being able to fit directly into your existing networks and customized for every situation.

 Medix KW Series

Medix KW Series

Safe And Sanitary

Medical grade PCs differ from conventional workplace PCs in many ways that directly cater to hospitals. For instance, all Medical grade PCs come equipped with an antimicrobial enclosure, which mitigates the growth of bacteria and pathogens on the surfaces of the PC. This is vital to keeping the spread of inter-hospital diseases like MRSA or E. coli at a minimum, as medical grade PCs see multiple users(thus germs) throughout the work day. Medical grade PCs give workers peace of mind, allowing them to work freely on their computer without worrying about theirs or their patient’s risk of infection. A healthy workplace is an efficient workplace, and medical grade PCs ensure that your workstations are efficient ones.

 

Versatile And Efficient

Medical workstations on wheels, also referred to as medical carts, are vital to providing medical services throughout the hospital. When equipped with medical grade PCs, these carts become invaluable to administering care to multiple patients. Conventional workplace computers rely on mounted batteries that would force medical carts to spend time out of commision while charging. Medical grade PCs such as the Medix T24B from Tangent come equipped with hot-swap battery technology, allowing for medical carts to remain fully active throughout the day. Being able to swap out batteries means that you don’t need multiple medical carts to cover ones that are charging, one medical cart with a medical grade PC equipped will perform more than adequately.

Medix T24B
Medix T24B

Clear And Accurate

Having accurate information is critical to patient care, a misdiagnosis or misinterpretation can have a lasting impact on not only your patient’s health, but your hospital’s reputation. Medical grade PCs are built with this fact in mind, and when paired with a Medical LCD Monitor from Tangent, produce precisely accurate information through DICOM technology. This technology constantly analyzes display information from your medical grade PC, compares how it should be displayed with how it will appear on screen, and adjusts the resulting image correctly to ensure that the information displayed is accurate. Whether displaying medical records or x-rays, medical LCD monitors are the best way to display information from a medical grade PC.

 

Tangent CL24 Touch Screen Medical LCD Monitor
Tangent CL24 Touch Screen Medical LCD Monitor

 

Medical Computers

Medical Grade Computers: What makes them Medical?

There’s no doubt that medical grade computers have helped hospitals and other medical institutions in unimaginable ways. But what exactly is a medical grade computer, and do they live up to the hype surrounding them? In short, there are no requirements for a computer to be labelled as a medical grade computer, however there are some standards that have been widely accepted by suppliers, buyers, and regulators. Ensuring that your medical institution has medical grade computers that not only meet these standards, but surpasses them is paramount to supplying quality care to patients and driving down costs.

 

Today’s medical grade computers meet certain regulatory guidelines in order to be placed in the medical setting, including CE, FCC class A and/or B, UL60601-1 and EN60601-1, and CDC guidelines. In tandem with these guidelines, other factors such as DICOM Support, antimicrobial casing, and HIPAA compliant electronic health record (EHR) support play into calling a computer a medical grade computer. These factors blend together to provide medical institutions with capabilities only medical grade computers can offer, a few are listed below.

 

EHR Accessibility

Quick access to patient’s records is key to quality patient care, and paper based health records are slow, inefficient, and can be easily damaged. Medical grade computers are HIPPA compliant, meaning that they are legally allowed to utilize EHR software. EHR software minimizes the risk of human error when creating health records, provide the fastest possible access to all aspects of a patient’s medical history, and do not require a massive filing system. In addition, the antimicrobial coatings of medical grade computers ensures that the spread of germs is far less likely than with paper-based records that get passed from hand-to-hand. For even quicker access, Medical Grade Tablets provide the same access to records as medical grade computers, and can be used on the go.

Medix T13
Tangent Medix T13

DICOM Support

Without accurate, color correct images on screen, doctors are prone to make easily avoidable mistakes while looking at x-rays or other medical scans. Medical grade computers with DICOM support continuously run small programs that compare how images are supposed to look with how they are being presented, and corrects the resulting image accordingly. DICOM supported Medical Grade Computers are a must-have in any diagnostic room where accurate diagnoses are required.

Tangent M24T Medical Computer
Tangent M24T Medical Computer

Antimicrobial Enclosures

As previously mentioned, medical grade computers have antimicrobial enclosures which inhibit the growth of bacteria, promoting a germ-free environment. Computers in the medical setting see a constant stream of new hands throughout the day, each pair carrying a new and distinct cocktail of bacteria. Normal computers would be a festering pool of bacteria in this environment, which is why having antimicrobial enclosures is so important. The Touch Screen Medical LCD Monitor from Tangent has this critical antimicrobial enclosure, allowing for various medical staff to access this panel without worry of spreading disease.

Tangent CL24 Touch Screen Medical LCD Monitor
Tangent CL24 Touch Screen Medical LCD Monitor

 

Medical grade computers are an essential tool for making your hospital a clean and efficient setting for patient care. Medical grade computers and peripherals from Tangent are a league above commercial computers, and ensure that your hospital is at the forefront of innovation.

EHR and patient care ready

EHR and Patient Care Ready

Epic Systems is world-renowned for their electronic health records software, but their portfolio has expanded to do much more than just maintain records in the patient care space. They understandably have specific system requirements for successful use of all their powerful features. The recommended screen resolution on a system running Epic is 1920×1080 with at 24” widescreen flat panel screen. That is a bit of a jump from the 22” monitors people normally use. Epic has so much to display on the screen that smaller monitors will require scrolling to see the entire work window. They also recommend a sixth generation Intel processor and 8GB of memory. A strong processor and ample memory is necessary to run the application at full bore without any freezing or slowness. A computer running this software will often be in a clinical setting and needs to be of a high quality and safety standard. All these requirements added up together points to a need for a medical grade PC to adequately handle the job. Let’s explore why that is.

Epic Logo

Medical grade computers like Tangent’s Medix T24B are purpose built for medical environments running memory intensive applications that must have reliable and near-constant uptime. From the performance side, the T24B guarantees fast and consistent functionality with up to 32GB of memory and an Intel Core i7 processor. From a hardware perspective, three hot-swappable batteries allows for up to 10.5 hours of uninterrupted run time in case of a power outage. This medical grade computer matches Epic’s requirements perfectly with a 24” wide multi-touch screen and 1920×1080 resolution. Being a medical grade all-in-one panel PC makes it space efficient, sleek, and professional looking. Patient data is efficiently entered as they work with their care provider and they can see that quality equipment is used at the facility.

 

Medix T24B Medical Computer

A medical grade PC also needs to promote health and safety in a medical facility. After all, computers are touched all day long by many hands, and the last thing anyone needs is for germs and bacteria to propagate and spread there. Like the T24B, Tangent’s C24 medical grade panel PC has an antimicrobial additive baked into its housing to reduce the growth and spread of contagion. The enclosure is sealed with an IP65 rating so that it may be properly wiped down and sanitized. A third, and often forgotten, safety precaution is confirmed by the device’s medical 60601 certification. This indicates that the computer is protected from electrical frequency leakage, making it safe to be used in close proximity to a patient. Running an EHR software suite with a stellar reputation on a powerful medical grade computer with built-in uptime assurance is a sure-fire path to a successful practice and satisfied, safe patients.

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.

 

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.

 

serial ports blog

Serial Ports, A Dated Yet Necessary Feature

Serial Ports, An Included Legacy Component

With as much new technology that Tangent packs into their all-in-one medical computers, one does not expect to see any sort of legacy components included. However, if you look at the I/O ports on the back of the Tangent M24T medical computer, something surprising is present: three RS-232 DB9 ports. For those of us that are not polished up on our knowledge of every serial port that ever existed, the RS-232 is a standard computer serial port for communication that dates back about five decades, and was used for a wide array of purposes like connections to modems, printers, mice, data storage, circuit protection, connectors, optoelectronics, passive components, uninterrupted power supplies, and more. This is all fine and dandy, but the questions still stand. What are serial ports from the 60s doing on new computers? What does this have to do with medical standards? Why don’t they just solely use USB?

Well, simply put, medical devices have varying ways of providing data to computers. Most still have uncomplicated serial ports, while newer ones have HDMI, ethernet or USB ports, depending on the protocol being used for communication.  A true medical computer needs to be able to fit the requirements of each medical device it’s connected to, as well as the clinical workflows of the medical facility and that particular care center’s IT environment. And the old RS-232 interface is an attractive alternative to the more temperamental digital interfaces for many medical device manufacturers because it’s robust, consistent, and easy to use. The adage of “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” applies heavily for the serial port standards in a great number of devices. Tangent’s dedication to providing convenience and value to medical care providers led to the inclusion of the trusted legacy ports. The M24T medical computer is able to connect to a kidney monitoring device, an ultrasound device, and a patient monitor using the serial ports, and still have 6 USB ports and an HDMI port free for other uses.

All the newer, fancy bells and whistles are bundled up into this incredible medical computer as well. It features a 24 inch PCAP touchscreen monitor, an Intel 6th generation Core i Series, fast memory up to 32GB, and high-performance NVMe storage. The M24T medical computer also has fanless cooling by way of heat pipes, it’s own internal speakers, and optional webcam and RFID. The medical computer has an uninterrupted power supply battery for up to 30 minutes of operation during a power loss event, and of course, is factory treated with an antimicrobial coating to ward off the spread of infection from bacteria or mold.

It’s easy to dismiss older technology as useless and disposable, but in the medical world, efficiency and consistency in the face of emergency situations often wins out over the new and questionable. Yes, strides are being made to upgrade older hospital systems to modern standards, but change in these sorts of environments can be slow. With so many devices still relying on legacy ports, it makes sense that medical computers still cater to their needs.