medical grade PCs

You Can’t Stop Clostridioides Difficile In The Hospital, But There Is Hope

If you work in a hospital, you may be familiar with Clostridioides difficile (C. diff), a bacterium strain that causes antibiotic-resistant infections. While the prospect of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, commonly known as “superbugs,” are scary enough on their own, a new study in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy has given us a new reason to worry about C. diff. The study, spearheaded by Kevin Garey, a professor of pharmacy practice at the University of Houston in Texas, shows that C. diff is highly resistant to seven of the most commonly used cleaning agents in hospitals. So, what can be done to stop C. diff?

The study concluded, ”no disinfectant was able to completely eliminate C. diff embedded within biofilms.” While this was in a laboratory setting, the ramifications of this conclusion are apparent: normal cleaning is not enough to stop C. diff. Surfaces that are regularly cleaned, like those of medical computers, are still at risk of housing superbugs. Even worse, medical grade PCs are constantly being touched by different medical personnel, each potentially spreading or contracting superbug bacteria.

Tangent Medix T19B
Tangent Medix T19B

Luckily, medical grade PCs from Tangent have a few key features built-in that can help ward off potentially infectious superbugs. Tangent’s lineup of medical computers feature an antimicrobial coating, which mitigates the growth of bacteria. While this coating does not outright kill bacteria, it prohibits the growth of it, effectively eliminating newly placed bacteria over time. This allows medical grade PCs from Tangent to be safely handled by multiple medical personnel and reduced the likelihood of a superbug spread. 

Medical computers from Tangent also come equipped with passive cooling technology, which is completely fanless. Without fans, Tangent medical grade PCs reduce the spread of airborne pathogens and do not build up bacteria cesspools in their enclosures over time. Fanless cooling technology allows Tangent medical computers to be fully enclosed, ensuring that they do not contribute to stagnant, germy environments.

medical grade PCs
Medix KW Series

Because of these airtight enclosures, Tangent medical computers are also rated for IP water resistance. This allows them to be easily cleaned with common cleaning agents. While Professor Garey’s study concluded that no regularly used cleaning agents in hospitals were effective at completely killing C. diff, they did find that Clorox, OPA, and Virex were the most effective at reducing C. diff spores. These cleaners, in conjunction with Tangent’s antimicrobial enclosures, can help curtail the growth and spread of superbugs like C. diff.

With antibiotic resistance on the rise everywhere around the globe, it’s more important than ever to keep your hospital as safe as possible from potential superbug infections. Tangent medical grade PCs can help your hospital stay clean, and remain a place for patients to become healthier.

Doctor Burnout from Computer Usage

Preventing Doctor Burnout From Computer Usage

It’s no secret that the majority of doctors choose their profession because of one ideal: they truly want to help people. Being a doctor means meeting with patients face-to-face, listening to them, and comforting them. Sadly, in our digital age, people are increasingly becoming more and more isolated as screens take the place of people. This phenomenon has unfortunately spread to doctors, who are spending as much as twice the amount of time looking at screens as they do looking at patients. This can help lead to doctors suffering from occupational burnout, in which doctors may feel powerless or too stressed to work at optimal levels.

 

The World Health Organization has recognized occupation burnout as an actual medical condition, and taking the condition as seriously as they do can drastically help your hospital.  A study by two Stanford researchers found that burnout costs the U.S. economy up to $190 billion dollars every year

Better Access

This phenomenon is not unprecedented, as our technology advances so too does it’s complexity. As decision making on how medical computers are deployed and what software is on them shifts from doctors to management, it is important that doctor’s concerns are taken seriously and their input taken into consideration.

Medix KW Series
Medix KW Series

As doctors have to interact with multiple medical computers throughout the day, saving them the hassle of having to remember a litany of passwords may help ease their stress. Attempting to keep track of multiple passwords for separate medical computers, and then having to contact IT for a password reset can be a time intensive process that turns doctors off from using their medical computers as often as they need to. Medical computers like the Medix KW come equipped with both smart card readers and RFID readers, meaning that doctors can log into these medical computers in the blink of an eye.

 

Better Involvement

While it may seem like the IT department in charge of keeping your medical grade computers have little in common with the doctors using them, a strong relationship between these departments can go a long way. Making sure that the maintainers and users of medical grade computer systems are in touch can help communication of computer problems go much faster. After all, medical grade computers have a large amount of specialty software, and the quickly evolving landscape of digital medical care requires constant learning. Organize meetings between your IT department and medical staff regularly to ensure that all staff are on the same page about medical grade computer usage.

 

Better Usability

Doctors aren’t medical scribes, and their work hours shouldn’t be taken up trying to type on a keyboard hooked up to a medical grade computer. Touchscreen based medical grade computers can save doctors vast amounts of time, as their intuitive interface can be interacted with in the same way doctors use their own smartphones. These medical grade computers should have a strong antimicrobial coating, to ensure that use by multiple medical staff does not cause bacteria build up. 

 

Don’t Give Up

Technology, and medical grade computers, aren’t going anywhere any time soon. While long periods of usage can cause medical grade computers to become a source of burnout, it doesn’t necessarily have to. Keeping your staff updated on how to use their medical grade computers can drastically help alleviate stress they may feel when using them. Updating your medical grade computers to ones with quality of life improvements such as smart card readers can also help. In the end, communication can make a huge difference in preventing occupational burnout.

medical computer safety

Keeping Your Hospital Safe From Hackers and Malware

Many of us seldom think about who—or what— is watching us as we browse the internet. Many websites make use of cookies, which are snippets of code that help keep track of data such as passwords or shopping cart items while you browse the site. While cookies are mostly harmless, similar technologies can be deployed to mine your personal data to gain access to your not only your personal, but work accounts. Keeping your and your staff’s personal data safe on hospital medical computers is crucial to preventing system-wide hacks that can lead to extortion, or worse.

How Do Hackers Infiltrate Medical Computer Networks?

While it’s fun to think of hackers as super-smart, leather trench coat wearing folks sitting behind multiple monitors smashing away at keyboards, the reality of hacking is that many hackers rely on their victim’s human errors. Phishing emails, short and easy-to-guess passwords, and outdated software can turn one medical computer on your network into a hacker’s playground.

 

  • Phishing emails are designed to appear as legitimate emails, often giving off the impression of being sent by a supervisor, IT, or even a friend. These emails typically give a long, contriving explanation as to why certain sensitive data needs to be sent to the phisher immediately. Users of medical computers who are not trained to detect such emails are lured into the false urgency of the email, and send off their personal information without thinking about who it is going to. 
  • There are many misconceptions about passwords, namely that having difficult, complex passwords is the best way to protect your data. While complexity is a factor of how hard a password is for hackers to guess, it often leads to personnel forgetting their passwords to their medical computers and having to constantly reset them.
  • Outdated software on your medical computers constitutes one of the easiest backdoors that hackers have into your network. Outdated software is susceptible due to hackers having more time to figure out how to hack into the software, and being able to use the same method across multiple medical computers.

 

What Damage Can Hackers Do To Medical Computer Networks?

Simply put: it’s a hacker’s world, we’re just living in it. Charles Henderson, global head of IBM’s hacking unit X-Force Red, took to the stage at this year’s Blackhat cybersecurity conference and hacked an ATM, turning it into a cash dispenser in just a few minutes. If a computer exists, it can be hacked and likewise, your medical computers can be hacked. But it’s not just medical computers either, even pacemakers or insulin pumps can be hacked by nefarious folk.

 

While the prospect of patient’s life saving apparatus suddenly being disabled by deviants is justifiably terrifying, most hackers aren’t out to cause such chaos. Instead, they are after one thing: money. Hackers have taken to infiltrating hospital’s medical computer networks, and locking down all files until a ransom is paid. This ransom takes form in the form of untraceable bitcoin, allowing for the hackers to make a clean getaway without ever having set foot in your hospital. Hancock Health was forced to pay hackers $55,000 in 2018 in order to re-access their files that hackers had encrypted and held for ransom. 

 

Preventing Medical Computer Hacking

It’s more than likely that your hospital would not like to pay hackers for access to your own medical computers. Preventing hackers from infiltrating your medical computer network is not as simple as we may like to think, but there are certain ways you can stay one step ahead of the dark web. 

  • Hold Trainings

The easiest way to prevent medical grade computer breaches is to train your medical staff to recognize the various ways that they are constantly under cyber-attack. Medical grade computers are hot-beds for attacks from all angles such as phishing. There are multiple courses, as well as DIY seminars that can teach your staff how to recognize phishing emails, and how to handle them properly. Never ask your staff for any personal information via email, and inform them that any such requests will take place in person. The urgency suggested by phishing emails may cause staff to panic and forget to check who is sending them such emails, but if they know that supervisors would never ask for such information via email they can handle the situation properly.

  • Better Passwords

Complex passwords are a good way of keeping your medical grade computers safe, but they lead to confusion and wasted time by staff trying to remember their logins. Try having your medical staff use passphrases to login to their medical grade computers instead. Passphrases are simply long, easy to remember sentences that staff can use as a password for their medical grade computer that would take a hacker literal centuries to crack. An example would be using “thisismygreatpasswordthaticanremember” instead of “password”.

  • Update Medical Grade Computer Software

If you haven’t updated your medical grade computer’s software in a while, the best time is yesterday. Medical grade computers have to run many different software packages, and while it may be a pain to keep every single one updated, it is crucial to your medical grade computer’s integrity.

 

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to keeping your medical grade computer network safe. Only a trained and aware medical staff can help keep hacking risks to a minimum. Medical grade computers are only as capable as their users, and keeping your users informed is the best practice.

Medical Grade Computers for 24/7 Use

Medical Grade Computers for 24/7 Use

In the hospital setting, emergencies can happen at any time. Not only should your medical personnel be ready to do their job at a moment’s notice, but so too should your equipment. Making sure that your medical PCs are able to operate on a 24/7 basis may be crucial to providing care to patients in critical condition.

 

Medical PCs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but all have key features that set them apart from commercial models. Firstly, medical PCs must be UL/IEC60601-1 certified for their electromagnetic leakage, which must be within safe levels for use around patients and medical equipment. Second, they should exhibit some level of dust and water resistance, as denoted by their IP rating. IP ratings vary, but medical PCs should at least be rated IP64, which denotes them as fully dust proof and resistant to water exposure and regular cleanings. Lastly, medical PCs should have an antimicrobial agent on their enclosure, which inhibits the growth of bacteria on the medical PC’s surface.

 

You may have noticed that the three key features of medical PCs do not include any metric for reliability. Reliability is not a standard in medical PC manufacturing, but is critical to ensuring that your hospital is able to provide safe and dependable care. Tangent’s lineup of medical PCs and medical all-in-one computers features PCs that are up to the challenge of a 24/7 work environment.

 

Hot Swap Batteries

We’ve all been there, phone at 5% and miles away from an outlet to charge it. In the medical setting, having your medical PC run out of battery while in use is simply not an option. Medical PCs on medical carts have to be plugged in when not in use to ensure that they have a full battery when they are needed, but this charging process requires the whole medical cart be put out of commision during charging. Medical PCs like the Medix E22B feature hot-swap batteries that can be charged on a separate docking station and swapped out with minimal disruption of service. Hot-swap batteries make medical carts infinitely more productive, allowing them to be in use 24/7.

Medical Computers

Uninterrupted Power Supply

While it is not fun to think about worst-case scenarios, it is critical to create plans for emergency situations. A power outage can greatly affect your hospital’s ability to perform live support. While all hospitals today feature generators or battery banks as a contingency, not putting unnecessary stress on these emergency systems is critical to ensuring their longevity. Medical PCs like the Medix C22 can be equipped with an emergency battery supply that allows the computer to function during power outages. Having your medical PCs not strain your emergency power system allows for greater assurance that power is being used where it is most critically required. Medical all-in-one computers with emergency power supplies allow medical personnel to work without fear of draining your power system.

 

Medical PCs are built to keep your hospital a safe and healthy environment to work in, but not every medical PC is built to be a reliable tool for your hospital. Choosing medical PCs with reliability features built in is a key way to ensure that your hospital can meet any emergency at any time.