Medical Grade Computer

Medical PCs for Cloud Applications

The biggest trend in patient care and work efficiency has certainly been the introduction of mobile devices for health care providers. According to reports published in 2017, nearly 80 percent of physicians use mobile devices for tasks like transferring patient records. It’s long been a challenge for the healthcare industry to adopt mobile devices because of compliance, audit, and IT security requirements, but more and more organizations are now able to securely offer them to their workforce. However handy mobile devices may be, a medical professional can  still only do so much work on them. At some point, they arrive at their office and need to see the same applications and data on a larger screen. Companies like Tangent have made great strides in providing cross-platform solutions that can allow users to move from one work device to another and maintain the same access to their applications in a virtualized environment.

Medical LCD Touchscreen Monitor

Whether a healthcare organization decides to achieve virtualization with thin clients, web clients, or virtual machines, Tangent supplements those efforts by providing medical grade touchscreen monitors and touchscreen all-in-one panel PC solutions to best complete a health professional’s setup. Offered in 15″, 21″, or 24″ sizes, Tangent’s medical LCD touchscreen monitor features a 16:9 aspect ratio widescreen display and optional DICOM support for reading radiologists. It is IEC 60601-1-2 certified to be compliant with CDC guidelines for environmental infection control, has an antimicrobial treated casing, and is at an IP65 level of protection against ingress of water or contaminants. It’s perfect for use around patients and with thin clients connected to a  farm or industrial mini PCs that are running virtual desktops. The medical touchscreen monitor also has optional anti-glare film for privacy which is important for protecting a patient’s personal health information from passers-by. 

Medical Panel PC
C24 Medical Panel PC

Medical companies looking to connect to their cloud applications via the web will need a powerful PC solution that also protects patients and staff against infection. Tangent’s C24 24” medical panel PC may look strikingly like the aforementioned touchscreen monitor, but it is truly an all-in-one solution. The C24 still has the PCAP multi-touch screen, an IP65 front panel, and an antimicrobial surface, but the touchscreen panel PC also features an Intel 6th Gen Core i5 or i7 processor, a multitude of I/O ports, and an optional UPS battery for continued work capability in case of power outages. With up to 32GB of memory, this machine will allow medical staff to multitask on several internet windows and run resource-heavy applications without a worry of slowness or crashing. Tangent’s medical touchscreen monitors and PCs are an ideal pairing with virtualized, remote, or cloud applications in order to support a growing mobile workforce.

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Maintain a Healthy Workforce with Tangent

Promoting clean and sanitary work areas isn’t just incredibly impactful in medical settings. Illness costs US employers $530 billion per year in lost productivity, per a 2018 report from the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI).  Thomas Parry, IBI’s President says that the cost of poor health to employers is greater than the combined revenues of Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Netflix, eBay and Adobe. Although illness and sick days are inevitable in a workforce, there are measures that businesses can take to mitigate the spread of germs and infection in their offices. Tangent offers several solutions to bolster healthy habits and reduce easily preventable ailments.

The L24 24” all-in-one desktop computer is the latest offering from Tangent’s business computer series. Being an all-in-one system already cuts down on cluttered desktop space and dust gathering on components and cables. Unlike most desktop computers, the all-in-one PC is treated with an antimicrobial coating that helps prevent the spread of bacteria and the growth of mold spores. The coating has the added benefit of preventing degradation of the plastic materials, giving the computer’s enclosure a longer life and the resilience to stand regular cleaning.  Speaking of cleaning, this all-in-one PC’s enclosure is also rated at an IP65 level of protection against water and dust intrusion. The screen can be sprayed with sanitizer and wiped down without any adverse effects. The L24 comes with both touch and non-touch screen models to best suit business needs. For those requiring touchscreen, the ability to thoroughly clean the screen is monumental to healthy utilization.

Businesses that prefer a traditional mouse and keyboard setup will also need antimicrobial protection and disinfection. For those use cases, Tangent offers antimicrobial, washable keyboards and mice. Most workplaces don’t give a second thought to all the bacteria, old food, and grime on these peripheral devices, but they can be the difference between a productive day or someone calling out. These antimicrobial treated items are an excellent complement to the L24 all-in-one PC.

If a business only has a few antimicrobial protected all-in-one systems deployed but wants to apply protection to their remaining systems, Tangent also has a solution for that. SmartShield is a spray that provides an invisible antimicrobial barrier on computers and components for up to 90 days. It’s easy to apply, eco-friendly, binds safely to any surface, and sets in 3-5 minutes. It’s a wonderful temporary work around until the organization can invest in fully protected all-in-one PC solutions that don’t need to be re-sprayed every few months. It’s quite brilliant how easy it is to prevent illness in an office setting simply by providing computer equipment that will combat infection. It’s an investment that will boost business productivity and have a healthier, happier workforce.

mini pc

Ports Ports Ports!

The Tangent E2 industrial mini PC is a literal lightweight at 4.6lbs and a petite 7.28″ x 7.75″ x 2.26″ frame, so it is shocking that there are over 21 input/output ports packed into it. Not only are they plentify, some are brightly colored for ease of use in the dark. Why in the world would one need that? For the many in-vehicle applications this like mini PC can offer, of course! From news vans, to stretch limos, to mobile clinics, the E2 can provide the computing power of a PC several times larger than it with the same reliability and performance. A limousine needs to be able to run both video and audio throughout its cavernous cabin while maintaining a sleek presentation that’s free of cables. A mobile clinic needs assured uptime and application speed to enter patient data.

A big consideration for in-vehicle computers is shock and vibration. Your standard off-the-shelf PC will clatter itself to death in a shaky car. Tangent’s industrial grade mini PCs have shock and vibration protection built into the enclosure and all the internals are purpose built to reduce movement. A solid state hard drive and the unique fanless casing ensure that there is no moving parts to break apart during operation. With stability precautions secured, the industrial PC can wow with its other capabilities. Two video ports provide for dual work monitors or flip-down entertainment monitors. Internet connectivity is achieved via an optional Intel wireless and bluetooth module and 2 wired LAN ports. Four USB ports offer connectivity for most any peripheral and the mic in/line out ports cover all the audio line needs. For serial components needing a solid and reliable connection, there are four DB9 Serial RS232 COM ports.

These industrial mini computers are no lightweight in terms of capability and utility. It’s a good thing that they are so durable and low maintenance. With their diminutive size, it’s easy tuck them away in tight vehicle cabin spaces without a worry about damage or having to fish them out for regular repairs. And with the varying types of power that can be encountered in a vehicle, Tangent made sure that the E-series mini PCs can be plugged into a wide range of voltages starting as low as 9 VDC and as high as 48 VDC. It really feels like they thought about all the variables involved with in-car computer applications and challenges.

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A Tablet to Fit Industrial Tasks

The job requirements for an industrial refinery’s quality control inspector are understandably  hefty. They are required to monitor mechanical works in progress and evaluate completed work to ensure compliance with applicable codes and safety standards. In their work day, they are often on-site reviewing and comparing mechanical drawings for code compliance and for requirements on piping, pressure valves or other hardware repairs. This is a challenging enough job from behind a desk, but quality control inspectors are expected to work outdoors and in inclement weather conditions, as well as to wear fire-retardant clothing and personal protective equipment such as steel-toe shoes, ear and eye protection. The hazardous environment of a refinery requires heavy precautions and experienced workers using the right tools to complete their job. As they need proper attire, inspectors also need similarly protected industrial grade computer equipment in their role.

With a hand-held industrial grade tablet computer, an inspector can actively pull up blueprints and requirements while looking at plant infrastructure, fabricated and welded parts, worker processes, take pictures of questionable or old pipe fittings, red flag components,  complete QA reports and sign off on work. The industrial grade quality of the tablet is important to ensure that it can hold up to the harsh environment, constant movement, and perform to the degree needed.

The Tangent R10 10” industrial tablet has a rugged exterior design that is tested to handily withstand drops of up to four feet. It has PCAP multi-touch, an IP65 rating to prevent water, dust, ash or other contaminant ingress into the computer, and is fanless to also prevent harmful internal buildup. The R10 goes above and beyond other tablets with an optional combo data input accessory that offers smart card, MSR, and fingerprint reader that can be extremely useful for quick and secure access. It also has F1 & F2 programmable keys for fast, and repeatable actions which is useful for an inspector to mark items as pass or not pass on a checklist, or switch between forms, applications or drawings.industrial tablet

This industrial grade tablet’s internal components can be customized to suit the performance and storage needs of its purpose, and it has an optional desk charging stand so the tablet can be used with a full size monitor in the office and immediate be on the go again. Utility, durability, and flexibility can make all the difference in the effectiveness of a quality control inspector, and that has a huge impact on the safety and compliance record of an industrial operation.

healthcare data security

The Importance of Security and Medical Grade Hardware

On May 14th, Simon Pope, a director at the Microsoft Security Response Center, wrote a blog post urging users of older Windows operating systems to install security patches on their computers and take steps to secure themselves from a known vulnerability that could be exploited and result in worm infections and/or cyber attacks. The remote code execution vulnerability was discovered in the Remote Desktop Services on versions older than Windows 8. This warning arises from the lessons of the 2017 “WannaCry” ransomware attack. Those attacks were highly destructive even though a Windows security patch for it had been available for months. WannaCry affected thousands of computers worldwide, bringing down hospital networks and causing the cancellation of over 19,000 medical appointments.

It seems incredible that a hospital’s IT staff would overlook such crucial updates, but it’s an unfortunate reality for many medical companies. Another problem is that many facilities don’t upgrade their hardware often enough to be able to run newer versions of Windows, and much of their computer inventory is not of a medical grade. Cost and budget constraints tend to be the reason for lack of security or hardware updates, but as seen with the WannaCry attack, the results can be more catastrophic to a hospital and its ability to service patients.

medical grade computers

Tangent offers thirteen different types of medical grade computers that can be customized to suit the needs of any medical facility. A multi-year analysis of cost and return on investment will reveal that having up-to-date technology and safety measures will end up saving more for the hospital. With Tangent’s medical grade fanless touchscreen computers, one can be confident that infection and contaminants will not be spread amongst patients from the hospital’s computer equipment. The enclosures are protected from water ingress so that they may be disinfected thoroughly. Many are equipped with hot-swappable batteries or UPS internal batteries for continuous use of the system even during power outages. The medical computers are also equipped with the latest version of Windows to help keep the operating systems and data as safe as possible. The list of available options is truly impressive and allows hospitals to find the right fit for their requirements and budget, while also ensuring that they are doing everything they can to prevent cyber attacks and downtime.

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.  

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.

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.

 

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.