Why Medical PCs Still Have Serial Ports

When everybody’s using USB ports, having a medical computer with a serial port can seem like you’re ten steps behind everyone in the tech world. 

That’s not true.  

Serial ports are not obsolete. They’re usually used to connect older hospital equipment with new computers. But is that the only reason serial ports are still used today? Let’s find out.  

What Are Serial Ports?

A serial port is a connection interface used to join serial devices, such as modems, to a computer. It allows the computer to transfer one bit at a time. 

Serial ports were invented in the ‘80s and are the oldest types of interfaces currently being used. They are usually used as communication devices for flat-screen monitors, bar-code scanners, and GPS receivers. 

Uses of Serial Ports

Serial ports are used to connect some of the following serial devices: 

  • Mice, usually on computers without USB or PS/2 connections.
  • Modems, such as cable and DSL modems.
  • Printers, mostly older models.  
  • Network devices like switches, webcams, routers, repeaters, bridges, etc. 

Serial Ports vs. USB Ports

There are several differences between USB and serial ports, such as:

  • Serial ports transfer data at the speed of 1 to 10 Mbps, while USB (Gen 1) ports transfer data at up to 12 Mbps. 
  • USB ports can provide power, but serial ports cannot. 
  • Serial ports use fragile pins that are easy to bend or break. In contrast, USB pins are stronger and more difficult to damage. 

So, if serial ports are so bad, why are they even used anymore? 

Why Do Medical PCs Still Have Serial Ports?

Despite being slow in our modern age, serial ports are used in the medical industry because they are easy to use, do not require custom drivers, and are supported by most operating systems. 

Moreover, a lot of the medical equipment currently used in the health care industry features serial ports because of their ease of use and reliability, and the only way to transfer data to legacy tech is through serial ports, making them invaluable.

The Takeaway

Serial ports aren’t obsolete or bad. Instead, they are some of the most useful connection ports in the health care industry. They connect medical PCs and serial devices together. 

Moreover, they also link legacy devices to computers, allowing the transfer of data that otherwise would’ve gone unused.    

So, we should give credit where it’s due, and in the case of serial ports, their efforts have gone unrecognized for too long. 

Medical PC Explained

Medical PCs are one of the best technologies for ensuring healthcare quality and safety. Hospitals must be selective in technology as not all technologies improve patient safety. Utilizing computer and information technology for electronic health records (EHR) has become a standard practice in health care.

In hospitals, medical computers are also becoming more common. Some advantages may be familiar to you, like storing, accessing, and sharing patient information. A medical computer is designed specifically for use in healthcare settings, reducing the time healthcare providers spend on non-essential tasks.

Medical PCs reduce human error, enhance clinical outcomes, facilitate care coordination, improve practice efficiency, and keep data track. There are computers everywhere today, including at the bedside of patients, on nursing carts, at nurse stations, laboratories, and in operating rooms. This article discusses how healthcare professionals use computers in various situations.

Surgical & Diagnostic

A Medical PC can benefit patient care due to its imaging capabilities. Computers with the correct graphics processor, CPU performance, display, and software compatibility can provide surgeons with a clear picture of a patient’s inner workings when guiding them during surgery. 

A computer displays MRI and CT scans for radiologists, providing them with critical information about the patient’s condition. Diagnosticians can now see better and quickly detect what they want with new software and high-definition screens.

Care of Critically ill Patient

Some therapeutic interventions are necessary to optimize a patient’s odds of survival when critically ill. These interventions require regular monitoring of variables and the availability of the resulting data to clinicians and nursing staff. If the data is not presented clearly, the significance of the information recorded can be lost. 

Computerized data management is now possible in the intensive care unit. Data management includes entering, integrating, and monitoring all vital signs, medicines, intake and output volumes, and laboratory values. 

Medical Imaging

Computers have been used for high-resolution image generation in the past decade. But now, specialized medical PCs are used for generating images like CT scans, MRIs, or ultrasounds. Connecting these computers with the main hospital information system is possible. Using three-dimensional pictures of real human anatomy, regional physiology, and disease-related biochemistry is normal.

Conclusion

Medical PCs are frequently used in psychiatry, physiological testing, medical teaching, literature searches, operating, keeping a record of patients, and more! Having a medical PC at a health center ensures the patient’s safety and proper treatment. It can even record thousands of patients’ data. 

Do medical computers need touchscreens

Do Medical Computers Need Touchscreens?

When people refer to their “phone” these days, it’s more than likely they mean their “smartphone.” Smartphones have become ubiquitous in our society, and are becoming increasingly necessary for everyday life. But what caused these smartphones to take over their older cousins? One of the defining features that played a large role is the humble touchscreen. Touchscreens have become a must-have for phones for the ease of use they create. As  the adoption of smartphones and even tablets into the workplace have shown, touchscreens play an important role in the evolution of technology and how we use it. But what about their use in the medical field, do medical computers need touchscreens?

Why Medical Computers Need Touchscreens

Medical computers work perfectly in the medical setting. As such, we can broaden this question out a bit more and consider whether computers need touchscreens. On a smartphone, touchscreens allow for a style of control that mouses and keyboards lack: gestures. 

A gesture refers to the ways in which your touch(es) can be interpreted by a touchscreen enabled phone, tablet, or computer. For instance, you’ve probably “pinched” your phone’s screen before to zoom out on a photo — that’s a type of gesture. Standard computers are also capable of zooming out on a photo, but often have dedicated buttons or keyboard shortcuts to make these functions happen. With touchscreen computers, these gestures come across as second nature to end users. Because they are routinely using touchscreens on their phones in their daily lives, the shortcuts encapsulated in their gestures come as natural.

In a literal sense, no, medical computers do not NEED touchscreens. However, when taking into consideration ease of use, efficiency and practicality, the need for touchscreen medical computers is compelling.

With touchscreen computers, staff are able to interact with computers in a much more intuitive fashion than they could do with mouse and keyboard shortcuts. This can lead to increased staff productivity. 

Versatility 

medical computers

Touchscreens are completely optional, there are no drawbacks to the user experience with the inclusion of one on a medical computer. Medical computers with touchscreens like the Medix T22B are completely capable of being used with a mouse and keyboard. Users who may be less inclined to use touchscreens can treat the screen just like any other monitor. Staff will fall into a mix of using both the touchscreen and their mouse and keyboard fluidly to accomplish tasks. Computers with touchscreens allow doctors and nurses to quickly zoom in on data or pick information cells in EHR software with just a tap.

Stay Progressive with Your Medical Equipment Selection

Gen Z is hitting the workforce in increasing numbers, taking their intimate knowledge of smartphones and computers with them. By selecting medical computers with touchscreens for your hospital, you are helping improve the way your medical staff can perform their job. For more information, contact Tangent Sales today.

RFID Ready Medical Computers

RFID Ready Medical Computers

What Is RFID?

RFID stands for Radio-Frequency Identification. The technology standard is made up of RFID tags and readers. These tags have small radio receivers and transmitters inside them. When in contact with a reader, the tag will respond and transmit information it is carrying to the reader. 

These tags can be used for a wide variety of tracking applications across the hospital. One area in which they can be used is in the tracking of patients in the hospital. Patients can have tags built right into their wristbands. These wristbands can then be used to access various doors and areas in the hospital. Your facilities team can set up each wristband to allow for certain privileges and access to specific areas. With these tags, you can ensure that the right people are in the hospital in the right areas. 

Medical Computers With Wireless Readers

RFID readers are the other half of the RFID equation. They pick up the information from tags and display it on devices. Many medical computers rely on clunky RFID reader adapters. These adapters take up ports on the medical computer, as well as desk space. Further, they are prone to being accidentally disconnected and lost.

22b-24b-main-new-medical-computer

Medical computers like the Medix 22B feature an integrated SSO RFID. This reader allows doctors and nurses to quickly and easily sign onto the medical computer with ease. They can simply wave their enabled badge to the medical computer’s reader to gain access to their computer. This solves two problems in one. 

First, your medical staff need strong, long, and complex passwords. By having your IT department tie badges to safe passwords, your hospital can have an increased layer of cyber security. Second, this allows your medical staff to have long passwords without having to remember them exactly or input them slowly everytime they access their computer.

RFID Ready Medical Computers

RFID tags and readers are quickly becoming a required tool in every workplace, including the hospital. Medical computers with built-in readers help your hospital stay on top of the future and prepare for what’s next. Make sure your hospital has the right tools by calling Tangent Sales today and asking about their range of RFID enabled devices.

HygienicComputers

Hygienic Medical Computers

Cleanliness remains a top priority for hospitals everywhere. Since the introduction of handwashing into the medical field, efforts to curb disease spread in the hospital have been largely successful. Still, medical institutions must remain vigilant in their hygienic practices to ensure that the risks to patients are minimized. Hospitals need quality medical computers that help to create a safe and clean environment for both staff and patients.

Why Medical Computer Hygiene Matters

Your doctors and nurses are constantly moving from one room to the next in your hospital. Throughout their busy day, they visit numerous different patients and co-workers. While they may not directly come into contact with each other, they no doubt all use the same medical computer in any given room. These computers become a breeding ground for harmful pathogens as staff use them throughout the workday. 

But not all medical computers are afflicted by this issue. Many of them feature an antimicrobial coating to help protect against microbes. 

Antimicrobial Coatings Add A Layer Of Protection

An antimicrobial coating mitigates the growth of pathogens on whatever surface it is spread on. These coatings work along the same lines as naturally occurring antimicrobial materials, like copper. Antimicrobial materials  interrupt a bacteria cell’s respiratory and metabolic functions. Over a brief period of time, this leads to the cell being unable to create energy and proliferate.

Medical grade computer for emergency room us, the KW line from Tangent

Medical computers like the KW15 from Tangent feature an antimicrobial coating across its surfaces. The KW15’s enclosure mitigates the growth of pathogens, which helps create a safer hospital environment overall. The cast aluminum enclosure is also built to last, and features a fanless cooling system. The KW15 also features other sanitary features, such as a washable touchscreen to help make it even more hygienic.

Washable Medical Computers

Doctors and nurses routinely wash their hands throughout a shift to minimize the risk of spreading pathogens around the hospital. Likewise, medical computers should be routinely cleaned to minimize disease transmission. Computers from Tangent feature antimicrobial enclosures to help mitigate this transmission. But they also sport IP rated touchscreens as an added layer of protection.

The Medix 22 from Tangent features an IP65 rated touchscreen that can be easily cleaned. This touchscreen can withstand standard cleaning agents without damage to the screen. Doctors and nurses can give their computers a quick cleanup before and after use. Combined with its antimicrobial layer, the Medix 22’s IP65 rated touchscreen can give medical staff peace of mind about the sanitation efforts being employed.

Customizable Medical Grade Tablets

Medical Tablets

EN 60601-1 Certification 

Among the most important features for medical grade devices is EN 60601-1 Certification. Medical tablets with the certification are shielded from Electromagnetic interference both from receiving and also from producing it. EN 60601-1 is a certification that distinguishes a medical tablet from a consumer grade medical tablet. 

Medical Tablets with Antimicrobial Surfaces 

When you think of tablets, you probably first think of the ones available to consumers. These tablets are designed for home use, but have increasingly found a home in the commercial and creative world. Despite their growing popularity in the workforce, they have some fatal flaws that make them a poor choice for use in the medical world. For starters, nearly all of them lack an antimicrobial enclosure.

An antimicrobial enclosure is a medical grade tablet casing that mitigates the growth of pathogens across the tablet. These coatings help reduce the spread of germs in a hospital. Traditional tablets lack these coatings, and can pose a serious risk as they are passed around from one worker to another. 

Medical Tablets also feature components designed to run medical programs. The T13 from Tangent can be customized to include an Intel Core I7 Kaby Lake processor. This processor is more than fast enough to run all the electronic health records and medical programs your hospital employs with ease. 

With up to 32 gigabytes of RAM, the T13 from Tangent is a multitasking machine. It can run numerous applications at once without lag. Doctors and nurses won’t have to pick and choose which programs they can run, they can simply trust that their equipment is capable of doing what is needed.

Customization Options For Medical Grade Tablets

Tangent offers a wide range of customization options for their medical grade tablets. This helps ensure that they can be a dynamic part of your hospital’s arsenal, capable of taking on multiple roles. The T13 from Tangent can be customized with different processors and amounts of RAM. Tangent’s T13 also features hot-swap batteries. 

Hot-swap batteries from Tangent are removable batteries that can be replaced without interrupting a medical grade tablet while in use. Simply remove one battery, put it on an external charger, and swap out a freshly charged one to have continuous use of the tablet.

The ability to operate redundantly makes the T13 great for pop-up clinics or other non stationary applications. 

The T13 features a front facing camera, RFID reader, Barcode Scanner, and much more. There are countless roles for the T13 in any hospital. Some applications can be to catalog inventory in the pharmacy, keep track of medication en route to patients, and serve as a communication device. 

Customize Your Hospital With Tangent

Tangent’s line of medical grade tablets are designed to help keep your hospital running efficiently. For more information about Tangent’s tablet offerings, contact Tangent today.

medical pcs with removable batteries

Medical PC With Removable Batteries

Hospitals are dynamic workplaces. As this pandemic has shown, hospital administrators need to be willing to change up their strategies constantly. This may mean bringing on more staff at some times, or completely shifting around a hospital’s layout in others. Many hospitals have had to set up popup clinics in their parking lot during this pandemic. These clinics provide testing, vaccinations, and more. While some hospitals were prepared to create such popups, others were not. They had to use their office medical computers attached to external power generators in these outdoor clinics. This sort of situation and others can be streamlined with the use of a medical PC with removable batteries.

Why Removable Batteries Are Important In A Medical PC

Hospitals have adapted to the digital era at a breakneck pace. Over the course of the pandemic, they have transformed primary care with Telehealth, and created new methods of treatment. Nurse medical carats have seen an immense evolution. Each one is now equipped with a medical PC in order to run various programs. The medical PC has become a vital platform for these carts, allowing nurses to use a variety of tools that are plugged into it.

But one major downside to these carts using medical computers now is their reliance on battery power. A cart typically has a battery, or their medical PC does, that requires time out of service to recharge. This can effectively cut your fleet’s usable time by a third or more. But with Removable batteries that can be swapped out, your fleet of carts can enjoy 100% battery uptime. If a medical PC can store multiple batteries, a nurse can simply swap out a low one for a fresh one, and then place the low one on an external charge. 

Tangent employs this hot-swap battery technology in their lineup of medical computers. A Tangent medical PC is careful to drain one battery at a time, instead of drawing from two or more simultaneously. This helps make charging simply and easy for staff.

Medical PC With Hot-Swap Batteries

Medix T24B

The Medix T24B is one such medical PC from Tangent. The T24B comes with three Hot-Swap Batteries. These batteries can be routinely swapped out to keep the T24B running for hours. This makes it perfect for popup clinics, where it can run entirely on battery power for the entire work day.

Other medical computers like the E22B can run on a 24/7 basis thanks to its hot-swap batteries. The E22B is perfect for medical carts, and features standard VESA mounting to fit anywhere your hospital requires.

E22B and E24B from Tangent: built for emergency room use Medical PC
E24B from Tangent

Tangent: Built To Run 24/7

Not every medical PC is built equal. Many are unable to run on a 24/7 basis without being plugged into an outlet. Tangent has designed medical computers that are up to the task of operating whenever and wherever they are needed. For more information, contact Tangent Sales today.

medical computers with built in nfc readers

Medical Computers With NFC Readers

Wireless communication is playing an increasingly important role in Healthcare. From doctors transitioning away from pagers to smartphones, to their increasing reliance on email communications: hospitals rely on wireless communication. But one area of wireless communications that is easy to look over is near-field communication (NFC). These devices allow your doctors, nurses, and medical staff to easily and safely perform routine tasks in the blink of an eye. With medical computers that have NFC readers, your hospital can take full advantage of NFC devices — without needing a mountain of adapters and dongles.

What Is NFC?

NFC enabled devices can be us3ed for digital payments, sign-ins, and more

NFC is a type of communication protocol that allows for two electronic devices within 4 centimeters to communicate. This technology also falls into the broader RFID scope, which encompasses many types of communication protocols of various lengths and capabilities. These devices specifically however are designed for situations where one device “taps” another. You may have a debit card or smartphone capable of making payments with a simple tap — that is made possible by NFC technology.

NFC Applications In Healthcare

There are many different applications for NFC tag technology. We’ve already gone over their use for payments, but they have many other uses as well. In the medical field, tags can be used for a number of applications:

  • Building Access: tags can be used as “keys” in order to access sensitive rooms, keep the public out of specific areas, and keep medicine cabinets locked. tags can also track specific entries and exits made by tag holders.
  • Digital Access: tags can be used by doctors and medical staff to access various levels of digital information. For example, electronic health records can be kept behind a digital wall, made accessible only by medical staff with the proper clearance level on their tag.
  • Smart Patient IDs: Patient wristbands can be equipped with tags for better tracking and monitoring. On-call nurses can easily scan these wristbands to get a quick list of a patient’s allergies, dietary restrictions, and more.

Best Medical Computers With Built-In NFC Readers

Medix T24B

Tangent offers a number of medical computers with a wide range of RFID, Smart Card, and NFC capabilities. The T24B from Tangent comes with an optional NFC reader that can handle all of your digital reading needs. On top of these, the T24B also comes equipped with an optional RFID and Smart Card reader, covering all of the close-communication bases.

Tangent: Connect Better

Tangent strives to create technology that hospitals can not only use today, but also well into the future. NFC readers have become widely adopted in the healthcare industry, and their applications are near limitless. Medical computers from Tangent that feature these readers can help your hospital stay connected. For more information, contact Tangent Sales today.

Medical Computers vs standard pcs for medical carts

Medical Computers VS Standard PCs For Medical Carts

As the computing needs of hospitals have evolved, so have medical computers. The difference between medical computers and standard computers has only grown in recent years. Whereas before medical facilities could manage with standard computers, now such decisions only hold them back. Medical computers have become integral in healthcare for a number of reasons. They can help reduce workplace hazards like tripping, scale back the maintenance time required on medical carts, and much more.

How Computer Cords Can Be A Workplace Hazard 

Reducing hazards to patients and staff is one of the foremost considerations in healthcare environments. While they may seem trivial, falls are one hazard that can cause harm in the hospital. In fact, The National Patient Safety Goals (NPSGs) directly addresses fall prevention as a necessary factor to combat health care-associated harms. An effective fall prevention program includes environmental measures to combat falls, such as reducing the number of cords on a room’s floor. 

There are a number of ways that computer cords can cause issues in the hospital:

  • Most computers need a long extension cords, creating potential tripping hazards
  • Multiple cords plugged into one outlet can become a potential fire hazard
  • A plug can accidentally become unplugged, causing important patient information to become lost or corrupted

Medical Computers With Hot-Swap Batteries For Medical Carts

While traditional computers rely on power cords to function, some medical computers do not. Medical computers like the T24B from Tangent can hold up to 3 high capacity lithium ion battery cells inside its casing. The T24B only needs one battery to operate, allowing workers to charge the other two on the multi cell charging dock. With two batteries inside of it, the T24B will seamlessly switch from the one to the other when the first runs out of power. The unit will also activate a low-battery LED light, letting workers know it is time to swap out the batteries.

Medix T24B For Medical Carts

Although most hospitals have emergency electrical generators, they don’t always offer uninterrupted power. In the case of an outage, most computers will power off until the electricity is back online as provided by the on-site generator. The T24B won’t suffer from these hiccups. It’s built-in operational battery packs will keep this system alive whether it’s plugged in via the AC direct power adapter or operating off its batteries.

Power Anywhere And On The Move

The T24B Medical computer can recharge its batteries via the provided AC adapter or its built-in battery ports. During the pandemic, hospitals have set up outdoor screening tents and relied on small portable gas generators to power up their medical carts and EHR computers. Hospitals can eliminate the need for independent generators with medical computers like the T24B. A medical computer with these batteries can run for up to 30 hours.

Hot-swap battery ready medical computers also eliminate the need for powered medical carts. Powered medical carts can cost your IT department both time and money in upfront costs and maintenance. With Tangent, when the time comes to replace a battery, all your IT department will need to do is call Tangent for a warranty replacement — there’s no need to dig out old manuals. There’s no need to ship out a large medical cart, and there’s no downtime either; just divide up your other battery cells until the new one arrives.

Medical Computers: Built Better

Our cart-ready medical computers run the same software and use the same processors and components of most mini PCs and small computers that are traditionally mounted on carts —  but the similarity stops there. Tangent medical computers are designed to not just be mounted anywhere, but specifically in the medical setting. There are many features that are unique to medical computers that cannot be found in traditional computers:

  1. Military grade components
  2. Capacitors designed to not leak
  3. Power supplies made for 24/7 usage
  4. Antimicrobial housing to reduce the spread of germs
  5. Touchscreens that are washable
  6. Specialized WiFi card to accommodate roaming in the hospital
  7. IP65/66 sealed for water and dust
  8. Fanless operation
  9. VESA mountable
  10. Built-in NFC, barcode and smart card login for Imprivata and patient IDs
  11. Legacy ports and custom ports for medical equipment

Medical Computers: Built For Healthcare And Medical Carts

Tangent medical computers offer hospitals a way to get the computing power they need, without the hassle and maintenance that traditional computers require. Tangent’s California-based team of technical support specialists is always ready to assist your hospital in the rare event that service is needed. For more information, contact Tangent Sales today.

Medical Computers With Over 8GB Of Ram

Medical PCs With Large Amounts Of RAM

As the years go by, computers of all kinds only seem to get faster. Computing trends have largely followed Moore’s Law, which states that the transistor density of processors doubles every two years. In non-technical terms, this generally means that computers should double in speed in the same time period. But one of the consequences of Moore’s law is that every two years, your medical PCs are effectively half as fast. While it may seem like your older computers have gotten slower with time because of their age, another explanation is that the software used on them is designed for newer systems with faster processors. 

While you can’t always outrun Moore’s Law, an increasing number of experts think the rule of thumb is coming to an end. The rate at which processors are advancing is slowing down, while other components of computers are gaining ground. Because of this, it is possible to plan ahead by supplying your hospital with medical PCs that have state-of-the-art processors as well as large amounts of RAM. Doing this can help ensure that your medical grade PCs work both today and tomorrow.

Why RAM Matters In A Medical PC

If you are not familiar with RAM, that’s alright — most people are not. RAM stands for Random Access Memory. Think of it as a slush fund of computer memory. When you open say, your hospital’s electronic health records program, a copy of the program is stored on the RAM. This keeps the program in a dedicated space where the processor can access it. The more RAM your medical PC has, the more programs it can run at once.

E22B and E24B from Tangent: built for emergency room use Medical PC
E24B from Tangent

Medical programs today are being designed with all ranges of RAM in mind. However, as the tail-end of older computers are retired, the average amount of RAM expected in a computer is increasing. While 4 GB of RAM was more than enough a few years ago, now 8 GBshould be the bare minimum considered. Even simple web browsers can eat up a large portion of a computer’s RAM.

Medical PCs With Large Amounts Of RAM

While it may be tempting to get medical PCs with only the minimum requirements to run software, they most likely will not be able to handle the programs of the future. M24T can sport up to 32 GB of RAM. It can run numerous medical programs, web browsers, and admin systems all at once without strain.

Tangent medical grade computers are the best medical computers
M24T Medical Computer

Similarly, the E24B from Tangent can also support up to 32 GB of RAM. Both medical PCs feature Intel processors as well as lightning fast SSDs, making them the perfect computers to lurch your hospital into the future.

Upgrade Today And Save Tomorrow

Tangent wants to help hospitals with not just their computing problems of the present, but also those of the future. For more information, contact Tangent Sales today.