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.

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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.

 

Cerner Certified

Medical Computers Explained

Medical Computers Explained

 

Medical computers are constructed and tested to go above and beyond the capabilities, usage, and expected lifespan of standard consumer grade computer systems and components. They are purpose built for use in clinical environments where infection control, patient safety, durability, and uptime are of the utmost importance. Infection control is achieved and supported in a number of ways. Depending on the specific component, the plastics of a true medical computer will either be embedded with antimicrobial additives or treated with an antimicrobial coating on the exterior. This ensures many years of use and cleaning without any degradation of the computer’s antimicrobial properties. Thorough and frequent cleaning and disinfection is required for infection control in medical facilities, so medical computers must be protected from liquid and spray ingress. For that reason they are rated in accordance with the IEC standard 60529 for IP (or “Ingress Protection”). Medical computers are usually rated IP54 or higher, indicating that the enclosure is dust tight and rated to withstand water pressure to varying degrees. Another important measure for patient safety that is a required standard for medical computers is electric shock protection. The IEC 60601-1 is an international technical standard for the safety and required performance of medical electrical equipment. A medical device with this certification indicates that it is protected from electrical frequency leakage making it safe to be used in close proximity to a patient, and it is shielded as to not interfere with other sensitive medical equipment.

 

Medical Computer Variations

 

Medical Computers tend to fall into two main categories: all-in-one panel formats that are typically used on medical carts, arms or on a desk stand, and handheld tablets for lightweight, portable computing.

All-In-One-Medical-Computer
All-in-one medical computer
Medical Tablets
Medical Computer Tablets

All-in-one medical panel PCs come in a variety of screen sizes and features to suit the needs of a medical practice. Fanless operation, PCAP multi-touch touchscreens, hot-swappable batteries, smart card readers, and VESA standard mounting are popular features on such medical computers. Hot-swap batteries allow the workstation to run on batteries uninterrupted throughout the work day, and PCAP multi-touch provides a highly responsive touchscreen experience. Smart-card readers provide a fast and secure method for user identification and login. Medical panel computers are often offered with a fanless option which means lower power consumption, no buildup of dust in the computer, no dust particles being circulated, and no moving parts within the PC.

Medical grade tablets are built with very durable, rugged exteriors to protect against drops, and they are protected from damage resulting from shock and vibration.  They can range from very compact to relatively large, but are built with being lightweight in mind. Medical tablets can be equipped with many of the same features of the larger all-in-one panel PCs like barcode scanners, hot-swap batteries, and RFID, but offer a greater mobility for tasks that involve traveling amongst several locations. Many tablets can be fitted with hand straps or set into a docking station.

 

Methods for Selecting a Medical Computer Manufacturer

 

Once the decision to invest in medical computers is made, the next task is to select a manufacturer that not only can provide an appropriately catered and certified solution package, but will also partner to provide efficient and expert support along with excellent product warranties. Tangent’s innovative products have received numerous industry awards including Network Products’ Product Innovation Award, and has had Windows Magazine recommend their products. Tangent’s medical computers are validated by Cerner and are Epic compliant.

 Cerner

The demands of patient care and strict quality assurance regulations require medical computer systems to maintain continued uptimes far over anything consumer devices can offer, and they also require a computer vendor to be equally available. Tangent has service and sales offices located throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and China to provide support when and where they are needed.

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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.

 

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An Ideal Medical Computer for Mobile POC

An Ideal Medical Computer for Mobile POC

 

A common technology feature encountered in most medical facilities is the mobile point of care (POC) cart. In an effort to provide efficient and accurate care and response rates in areas that are often short on space, carts were fitted with casters and small form factor medical computers to allow staff to have the convenience of in-room patient data access without the cost and headache of installing a computer in each exam room. As smaller all-in-one computers became more commonplace, the carts have been able to be fitted to be even more lightweight, customizable, and stable. Point of care carts are usually employed to administer medical tests, but medical carts are also generally used for a variety of medical applications like medication distribution, anesthesia or IV dosage, rapid code response, bedside care, and more.

With such varied requirements for mobile care within a medical space, it’s necessary to have a versatile medical grade industrial computer that can answer to those needs. Tangent’s C-series medical computers are a prime example of technological prowess, compliance with sanitation standards, and modularity. The casing is factory treated with an antimicrobial additive to deter surface contamination and prevent mold and bacterial buildup, helping keep patients free of infection. The IP65 rated front panel of the medical computer can be sprayed and wiped with cleaning solutions without damaging the enclosure or internals. The computer is shielded from electrical frequency leakage making it safe to be used in close proximity to a patient and won’t interfere with other sensitive medical equipment. These safeguards have earned the C-series medical computer a medical 60601 certification.

Medical carts and related apparatus come in a variety of sizes, and in response, the C-series comes with standard VESA mounting. They can be installed on carts, arms, or used with the optional stand as a desktop device. So too, the screens of the C-series medical computers are available in 17 inch, 19 inch, 22 inch, and 24 inch widescreen PCAP touch true flat-front panel sizes. The versatility is also shown in the available Intel 6th Gen Core i5 or i7 processor, the one or two terabyte hard drive, or the unbelievable 132GB of memory that could potentially be packed in. Yes, that figure is correct – 132GB of memory! Computing power like that means one could run several instances of any resource heavy application and never crash. The systems are built to run 24-7 and even have a battery backup in case of power interruption. It is so important that no data isl be lost if the power suddenly cuts out.  

The primary function of medical carts is to be highly mobile, which certainly requires a degree of cable free use. The C-series industrial medical computers have available Intel wireless and Bluetooth. Mobility invariably includes lots of shaking and vibration, which can be hazardous to normal computer systems with moving parts. Not only is the Tangent medical grade computer lineup shock and vibration resistant, it also is available with a fanless option. This greatly extends the life of the PC, and also ensures that it doesn’t circulate dusty air in a medical setting. Medical carts have a multitude of important purposes, and so Tangent’s medical computers can be customized to suit each unique setting.

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Fanless Computers: Progress in Silence and Longevity

Fanless Computers: Progress in Silence and Longevity

Prior to the mid 70s, computers were typically very large industrial or commercial machines, often housed in a dedicated room with an equally sized cooling system. Noise was not a notable issue for users because the computers were isolated industrial devices, viewed much like any other heavy duty machinery. The first personal/home computers that emerged in the 80s were quite low in power and could be run fanless, or with a low-speed fan that was used to cool only the power supply. However, as technology evolved and CPU clock speeds increased, the internals of computers started heating up and cooling was accomplished using a fan over the CPU heatsink, blowing air directly onto the processor. More years progressed and more fans were added to cases to provide cooling where heat dissipation was needed most, now including high powered graphics cards and power supplies.

Computer cases increasingly needed more fans to extract heat and this invariably meant more noise and potential for failure. Where there is air circulation, there a huge chance of dust and particle buildup. A normal ceiling fan is an excellent example; left long enough without a cleaning, massive amounts of dust will gather on the blades naturally. Similarly, computer cases are a magnet to collections of dust and contaminants that collect in the case and negate any cooling effects the fans may have. At some point, the fan is overworked and fails or the heat buildup causes other components to fail.

The claim to the world’s first noiseless and fanless computer case came in 2004 with Zalman’s Totally No Noise (TNN) series.  This case was large, heavy, and expensive, but soon other manufacturers were following suit in developing and improving on fanless computers for quieter, dust-free operation. The demand for fanless and cleaner computers was clearly seen from the public. It’s been a long evolution to get fanless computers to meet performance needs, maintain a cool environment, and also be cost-effective, but Tangent’s line of rugged fanless PCs hits the mark at every point.

Take the Tangent Rugged G mini PC for example; it was designed to handle 12, 19, or 24V DC system power input and wide temperature operation, making ideal for dedicated video display or mobile computing. The Rugged G’s fanless design is essential for dusty environments.The fanless computer case is sturdy and has a fin-like surface that dissipates heat from the inside. The tested operating temperature on the Rugged G is 14°F to an incredible 131°F (-10° – 55°C). With no moving parts and an excellent performance record, the days of dust bunnies clogging up pivotal and expensive computer parts are long gone. The unit comes with a VESA 75/100 adapter plate and wall mounting brackets, offering a multitude of installation options on any work surface. A wide range of connectivity options also comes standard on this Rugged fanless computer. It is equipped with 4 COM ports, 6 USB ports, a Digital I/O port, and can be set up with optional Intel Wireless AC-7260 and Bluetooth. The desire for and development of noiseless, dustless, fanless computers have long been in play, but Tangent certainly has perfected their craft in the business.

 

Medicalgradecomputers

Consumer Grade vs. Medical Grade Displays

The importance of selecting Medical Grade Displays for your Healthcare Application

Although there is a wide availability of display solutions to meet the demands of hospital and diagnostic requirements, not every solution can provide the quality, consistency, or longevity necessary for successful operation and patient satisfaction. Hospital staff often do a double take when they see the price tag for medical grade displays, and then the obvious question rears its head: what is the difference between consumer grade and high-end medical grade displays? While medical-grade displays are recognized for providing higher quality screens compared to to consumer-grade alternatives, advances in commercial off-the-shelf display technology paired along with lower prices have understandably drawn the attention of many health care professionals. Is there really a noticeable difference between the two? Much debate has surrounded the issue, but the answer comes down to a solid confirmation that, yes, there are discernible and important differences.  

 

For one, medical grade monitors display more colors, about one billion colors compared to the consumer version that displays maybe around 16 million at best. Although the human eye is limited in how many colors it can see, providing more colors allows for greater accuracy, and doctors and surgeons use precise coloration-based assertions in medical procedures or when making a diagnosis. A minute difference is shades can make all the difference.  Another major difference between medical and consumer grade displays is the automation of the backlighting system, also known as the luminosity. Medical displays have a closed-loop control circuit to maintain stable luminance from cold start to full operational temperature. A medical display’s automated system can continuously adjust the desired peak luminance several times a second. On a consumer grade monitor, one has to use the brightness control to adjust luminosity which is manually set without any reference to a correct level of luminance.  A commercial display requires an unreasonable amount of manual calibration to provide the same consistency of a medical display. Another point of distinction is that the average certified medical display’s life span is generally rated to be four times longer than that of consumer displays.

So when considering all the factors of longevity, automated luminosity, and brilliant accuracy, a medical grade display is still miles and away more beneficial and cost effective compared to a consumer grade display. Tangent offers a 22″ Medical LCD monitor featuring a 16:9 aspect ratio widescreen display with PCAP 2-point touch screen, IP65 front panel and an antimicrobial enclosure. This medical display is certified with the EN/IEC 60601-1 standard of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Health Care Facilities Code (NFPA 99), under which monitors used within a patient care vicinity can’t exceed leakage current levels of 100 microamps or more. With VESA 75 mounting, this 22″ Medical LCD display can easily be installed in a variety of healthcare environments and still maintain the quality and performance expected of a professional medical device. It’s very easy to be attracted to good prices and promises of quality, but true professional and health-oriented clients require the assurance and certified superiority of medical grade displays.

 

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Thin Client

thinclientblog

All About Thin Clients 

 

A thin client is a lightweight hardware created for VDI- virtual desktop infrastructure solutions. Instead of storing data on a PC, a thin client enables storage of data on a data center or server.

 

Benefits of a Thin Client:

 

A thin client allows for easy deployment and management. It is inexpensive and saves energy and space. Thin clients enable IT department professionals to troubleshoot end -points support end users in one centralized location, at times even offsite.  

 

Tangent Thin Clients:

 

Tangent currently offers three Thin Clients, the Z600, Z400 and Thin Client 160.

z600

Z600 Thin Client

This thin client comes is an HD 1080P monitor. It’s low wattage CPU saves energy and reduces consumption without sacrificing performance. Fanless in design, the Z600 thin client is silent. It comes complete with a Texas Instruments DM8148 1GHz Processor and supports Citrix ICA/HDX, VMWare View remote access protocols.

z400

Z400 Thin Client

Smaller than a pencil, low in cost and lightweight in design, this energy efficient thin client is an excellent option. The Z400 comes with dual monitor support, and High-performance TI ARM CPU at 1GHz.

tc160

 

Thin Client 160

Thin Client 160 features the integration of the powerful and energy efficient VIA 1GHz x86 processor into a compact and robust enclosure. Thin Client 160 provides a DVI (digital video interface) port and a VGA adapter for optimal display experience, and has an optional miniPCI adapter for internal wireless. With options for wireless networking and VESA-compliant mounting, Thin Client 160 is perfect for cable-free and space-saving applications. With durable, fanless construction, Thin Client 160 provides quiet and reliable operation and extended operating life, lowering the total cost of ownership.

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Importance of 60601-1 Certification for Medical Tablets

Importance of 60601-1 Certification for Medical Tablets

In the medical field, the general standard IEC 60601-1 is a widely accepted benchmark for medical electrical equipment. It deals with the basic safety and essential performance functions of medical electrical equipment and aims to ensure that no electrical, mechanical, or functional failure poses an unacceptable risk to patients or operators.  Compliance with the standards described in the manual (including newer editions) has largely become a mandatory requirement for electrical medical equipment in many countries, so adherence to it is paramount to any company manufacturing or selling such equipment.

Tangent takes safety standards very seriously for its line of medical tablets, ensuring that they not only meet those requirements, but also offer durable, full-featured, and user-friendly devices. Tangent offers five different medical tables, made to suit a variety of hospital technology needs, and range from nine inches to thirteen inches. All come standard with anti-microbial surfaces, at least an IP54 rated casing, a sleek, but rugged design to withstand the demanding environment of medical facilities, and of course is certified on the 60601-1 standard for medical equipment safety.

 

t13-13-inch-antimicrobial-tablet

The T13 thirteen inch medical tablet features the Intel Core i7 or i5 CPU, a projected capacitive touchscreen, full slot smart card and SD card readers. Optional features include RFID reader, front and back cameras, 2D barcode scanner, a 4G LTE module, detachable keyboard, charging cradle, and mounting accessories like a desktop charging cradle, and wall/vehicle mounts with VESA 100 ratings. Another great option for added mobility is a hand strap for the medical tablet and\or an integrated stand.  The IP54 rating on this means its protected from dirt, dust, oil, other non-corrosive substances and splashes of water. This workhorse is perfect for users that are on the move and need a reliable, clean, easy-to-read device.

M10i-10-inch-fully-rugged-tablet

The M10i ten inch medical tablet takes safety and durability ratings to a whole different level with being tested to MIL-STD-810G military standards and having an IP65 rated enclosure, making it safe to be sprayed and wiped clean without damaging the internal components. The MIL-STD-810G environmental testing proves that this tablet will excel throughout its service life in the medical industry by certifying that it can handle stress, vibration and shock. This is all in addition to the 60601-1 certification all Tangent medical tablets carry. This particular tablet features a 4th Generation Intel® Haswell Core™ i processor, and a high brightness multi-touch surface featuring a sun-readable Gorilla Glass panel and digitizer. Other features native to this impressive PC include a  hot-swap battery for 11-hours of uninterrupted operation, dual front and back cameras, TPM 1.2 support, WiFi and Bluetooth. It even has a docking port to easily make use of a monitor and keyboard. It’s an extremely full-featured medical tablet that’s ready to last a full day of work.

It’s tough keeping up with the rigorous standards of the day, especially in regards to medical equipment, but it’s a task that Tangent and its medical tablets happily take on and continuously work to improve.