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.

medical grade computers vesa mounting

Medical Grade Computers For VESA Mounting Systems

This pandemic has taught hospitals a number of lessons. They have had to be resourceful with PPE, adapt to ever-changing guidelines, and always be ready to accept change. Above all, your hospital has learned to be efficient with its resources. Standardization exists to aid in efficiency. Needles sizes come in certain standards, as do surgeon scalpels. One area that you may not associate with standardization is your computer monitor’s mount. Nearly all mounting systems are VESA mounts, but not every computer is compatible with these systems. Medical grade computers should be VESA compliant to avoid unneeded adapters, maintenance, and cut down on inefficiencies.   

What Is Vesa Mounting?

The VESA Mounting Interface Standard, which is also referred to as the Flat Display Mounting Interface, is a collection of standards that applies to wall mounts. Specifically, VESA standards encompass the mounting of panel monitors, televisions, and other digital displays on walls or mounts of any variety. The standard was created in 1997 and has seen widespread adoption for its ease of use and rigid design. VESA mounting is used in nearly every industry, as well as in homes everywhere. It is one of the most common mounting standards. Even for mounts that are not VESA compliant, many adapters exist to ensure that they are always compatible.

The benefit of using medical grade computers that are VESA compliant is their ability to function right out of the box. Therefore your IT team will not have to worry about finding adapters to mount the computers onto your existing desk and wall mounts. Being VESA compliant also ensures that spare parts are always readily available from a variety of sources, and cuts down on the amount of inventory your IT needs in spare parts. Having all of your medical grade computers use VESA mounting keeps things organized and easily understood by all staff.

Tangent medical grade computers are VESA compliant, and can be mounted on a variety of different systems. They all feature four threaded holes in the correct rectangular pattern to be mounted on movable arms, desks, walls, and medical carts.

Medical Grade Computers That Are VESA Compliant

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

Medical Grade Computers like the E22B from Tangent feature VESA mounting systems. The E22B also has a full touchscreen. Therefore doctors and nurses can use the E22B while it is mounted to a wall, without needing a mouse or keyboard. It can be used in small offices or spaces where a full desk is not practical. It can also serve on mounted arms, allowing doctors to place the computer wherever they need.

Tangent: Efficiency at Its Finest 

Standardization has been used throughout the industrial and digital era to make systems and processes more efficient. Keep your hospital running smoothly and maintenance issues down by using VESA compliant medical grade computers. For more information, contact Tangent Sales 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 Grade PCs With New And Legacy Ports

Medical Grade Computers With New And Legacy Ports

The medical grade computers of today look a lot different from their predecessors. They are smaller, faster, and more hygienic than earlier computers. While you have probably noticed most of these changes, there is one subtle area that is easy to forget: input and output ports. Input and output ports, shortened as IO ports, have changed dramatically in the last 20 years. USB ports and cables have taken over as the dominant method to transfer data. However, many devices still use legacy ports, such as serial ports. These serial ports support many medical devices that hospitals continue to rely on.

What Are Serial Ports?

Serial ports work in much the same way that standard USB ports do today from a functional perspective. Serial ports can be used to connect printers, PC peripherals, and legacy medical devices to medical grade computers. From a technical perspective however, they differ drastically.

The term “serial ports” actually refers to a collection of different standard ports, much like how there are different versions of USB in use today. These ports are also referred to as COM ports, however this term actually refers to the software mark for reading the hardware port itself.  Three COM port standards were widely used, with the most common being the RS-232 version. This version is sometimes also referred to as RS-485/422. 

Do Medical Grade Computers Still Need RS-232 Ports?

RS-232 ports were once widely used for data transfer between devices. As USB took over serial communication ports, RS-232 ports were removed from motherboards to make room for them. Likewise, devices switched over to USB cables to better connect to new medical grade computers. 

While the transition to faster USB largely made sense, in some niche areas it did not. Medical devices that were meant to last for years were built with COM ports in mind. These devices are still compatible with modern medical grade computers in every other regard, but required adapters. 

While adapters are certainly fine for most applications, they can become a hassle when they inevitably become lost. As adapters require USB ports, there’s a good chance that doctors will have to unplug them when not using their legacy devices. Before long, doctors lose these adapters, giving IT more headaches.

Medical Grade Computers With Serial Ports

Not every medical grade computer company stopped including these ports, however. Many Tangent medical computers still come with legacy ports like RS-232. The Medix T-24B comes equipped with 4 DB9 serial ports standard. Doctors can make use of up to four legacy medical devices at once, without needing to keep track of a variety of dongles to do so. 

The KW Series from Tangent also features 2 RJ48 Serial ports for legacy devices as well. With a wide range of IO ports to choose from, Tangent’s lineup of medical grade computers has something for every medical device.

Keeping Legacy Equipment Online

Tangent medical grade computers are built with the reality of hospitals in mind. Sometimes your doctors and nurses will use older equipment that functions fine on a routine basis. Tangent’s computers are designed to keep this legacy equipment functional, and your hospital moving. For more information, contact Tangent Sales today.

Medical Computers the tech devices hospitals rely on

Medical Computers: The Tech Devices Hospitals Rely On

Commercial computers have found a home in offices, restaurants, and other places of business. But when it comes to the medical setting, standard computers are sorely lacking. A typical computer doesn’t have to be as sanitary as a medical computer as they are rarely in a sterile environment,. Designers create medical computers specifically for use in hospitals, with cleanliness and performance always factored into their design.

How Medical Computers Perform Better In Hospitals.

 Most computers feature a fan-based cooling system. This fan constantly circulates air throughout a computer, keeping its delicate components cool enough to operate. A side effect of this is that computers quickly build up dust. Without proper maintenance, this dust can reduce a computer’s lifespan. Worse, this dust build up poses a health risk, and can harbor pathogens.

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

Medical computers use a fanless cooling system to prevent overheating. A medical computer like the Medix E22B from Tangent uses a passive cooling system to dissipate its heat. Because of this, it has no bulky fan to cause dust buildup. The Medix E22B is perfect for situations where dust can cause serious damage.

Antimicrobial Enclosures For Better Sanitation

Standard computers also lack one key feature that can help keep hospitals clean: an antimicrobial enclosure. Medical computers that sport antimicrobial enclosures can help promote a cleaner work environment for your staff. An antimicrobial coating is present on these computers which mitigates the growth of harmful pathogens across the computer’s surfaces. 

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

Not only are medical computers Antimicrobial, they can also be water resistant. The M24T from Tangent features an IP-rated water resistant touchscreen. The front panel of the M24T is IP65 rated as well as washable with standard cleaning agents. With both an antimicrobial enclosure and water resistance, medical computers are built to be clean and promote a safer hospital.

Medical Computers: Unmatched Performance

One of the biggest struggles with using standard PCs is their lack of power. Small commercial computers are lacking in many areas. Their CPUs handle easy-to-run office programs, but not much else. Their storage may make use of an SSD, but most likely uses a slower disk-based HDD. Because they don’t have a high amount of RAM, they are unable to multitask effectively.

medical computers
Tangent Medix T22B Medical Computers

Medical computers are designed to alleviate these issues. The T22B from Tangent features a robust Intel processor capable of handling the medical programs your doctors rely on. It utilizes a NVMe SSD, which can run up to 35 times faster than traditional HDD systems. Best of all, the T22B can fit up to 32 GB of RAM, allowing your doctors to run numerous programs at once. With these fast components, the T22B will be able to service your staff today and tomorrow.

Tangent: Trusted And Relied On

When it comes to outfitting your hospital with the latest technology, Tangent medical computers are unparalleled. Their robust cleanliness features and lightning fast components make them the perfect choice for any hospital. 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.