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.  

A Medical Grade Family of Products

Medical Grade Family of Products

Integrating technology into hospital workflows has been massively transformational to a great many health care systems and providers.  An article from Healthcare IT News discusses how a hospital in New York was able to leverage technology to monitor patients and reduce transfers to the ICU by 63%. Staff at Saratoga Hospital were taking patients’ vital signs that were manually logged into the electronic health record to be assessed by nurses. This manual process made it slow and difficult for nurses to identify flags that a patient was deteriorating and needed intervention. Because of this, many patient’s states were degrading to the point of needing to go to the ICU. Through the use of the newly installed patient monitors, data was input directly into the EHR, reviewed by nurses with far more efficiency, and care was provided in a much more timely manner. With that, patient transfers to the ICU plummeted.

Patient monitors can come in a variety of applications and installations. Quite often you will see a mobile cart or a retractable swing arm on the patient’s room wall. In work areas, the PCs can be mounted directly onto the wall for ease of use in small offices. Mountable industrial PCs are versatile, modular, and powerful machines for both hospital and industrial settings. Tangent takes a holistic approach to providing whole project solutions for mountable industrial PC setups; they offer a variety of both industrial and medical computers, and mounting options for them to suit the unique requirements encountered at each patient care facility. Tangent offers easy fold IT stations, arm workstation systems, variable height mounting solutions, and monitor arms that can handle dual monitors. Tangent’s cart solutions range from top of the line, smartly featured, inductive charging mobile workstations, to lightweight, uncomplicated stands. Each product is tested to be durable, reliable, and versatile.

 

Medix C24 Medical Computer
Medix C24 Medical Computer

For hospital environments, a medical grade mountable PC is perfect to help ward off infection and provide features clinical settings most often desire. The C-series from Tangent ranges from 17” to 24”. With VESA mounting options, they can be installed on most any carts, arms, walls, or used with an optional stand as a desktop device. The same type of mounting options are available for many of Tangent’s industrial grade PCs. The computer in a clean room doesn’t need an antimicrobial coating as with the PCs in patient areas, it needs to be able to be washed with solutions and hot water for complete sterilization. Be it with patient monitoring systems or with automating hospital inventories, replacing manual processes with streamlined tech solutions is proven to create drastic improvements in safety, patient care stats, and efficiency.

 

coMING OF AGE

Coming of Age of a Medical Computer

Coming of Age of a Medical Computer

 

In the 1990s, the term “medical computer” didn’t mean much more than a PC in a doctor’s office, or computers set up specifically for order entry, medical database access, or patient surveys. The equipment itself wasn’t anything special or purpose built for the medical field. Nowadays, a medical grade computer is expected to provide clinical resources, constant uptime, and also protect patients and staff from the spread of infection. Mobile clinical carts use medical panel PCs for in-room patient care, staff use tablets to put in patient meal orders or pharmacy orders, and even the LCD monitors are of a certified medical grade.

 

Modern CDC guidelines require that medical computers be UL/IEC60601-1 certified after in-depth testing for safe use near patients, other medical equipment, and performance compliance. Antimicrobial coatings on medical computers have the capability to kill or inhibit the growth of microbes on their surface or surrounding environment. The antimicrobial agents are formulated for low toxicity, minimal environmental problems, and prolonged lifetime of the computer components the agent is applied to. Tangent’s medical computers are not only 60601 certified and antimicrobial, they are also IP rated to prevent ingress of water or contaminants. The Medix C24 medical computer has an IP65 front panel. It’s also loaded with I/O ports and mounting options so that it can be used for carts, arms, desktops, or anywhere it’s needed.

 

In addition to being suited to safety and sanitation needs, medical grade computers have to stay at the forefront of technological advances in order to serve ever-changing clinical requirements and advances. As soon as touchscreen technology became widely available, they started being integrated into medical devices and hospital workflows. Tangent’s M24T medical computer offers PCAP multi-touch, up to 32GB of memory, Intel Core processors, advanced graphics capabilities, and a built-in webcam. Why is a webcam important?  Telemedicine or “virtual visit” doctor appointments have become a popular alternative to in-person visits. Patients can conduct live video chats with a doctor 24-7 via web meetings. The M24T medical computer also has a UPS battery backup. If a doctor is meeting with a patient and the power goes out, the meeting can still proceed uninterrupted. Tangent’s computers are also validated to work well with popular EMR software packages like Cerner or Epic.

 

Medical computers have come a long way over the decades; they are safer, sturdier, more secure, and reliable than ever. Tangent’s industrial and medical PCs have far too many features to mention in one article, but they are all built to provide the most utility, versatility and value to its users.

 

Is RFID Safe?

Is RFID Safe?

RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology has been found to generate considerable cost savings and increase efficiency in a variety of sectors like supply chain management, asset management, and information technology departments due to its ability to capture data without any human intervention.

 

Utilizing RFID in healthcare has been explored with great interest in recent years not only because of a legislative mandate to use new technology in healthcare, but for its potential to benefit patient safety, provide accurate patient and asset tracking, and enhance efficiencies in patient care. For example, RFID systems can identify medical staff, patients, medications, and blood sampling data all in real time.

 

The adoption of RFID in hospitals has been somewhat slow due to questions about data security, privacy, and concerns about radio frequency interruption due to older infrastructure in many facilities. However, apprehension about these risks largely stem from unfamiliarity with the technology and poor implementation strategies. These issues can be mitigated with in-depth analyses of risk/benefits, return on investment analyses, extensive testing prior to implementation, educating staff on the technology and its benefits, and taking steps for appropriate security measures to ensure patient privacy.

 

Tangent is well aware of the national mandate from the HITECH (Health Information Technology for Clinical Health) Act of 2015 to implement new health information technology and improve healthcare delivery. With that, they aim to stay at the forefront of technology that can be integrated into their medical devices.

medixt13

An excellent example is the Tangent Medix T13  medical tablet PC. This tablet is packed with a treasure trove of useful features for only being 13” inches. The enclosure is factory treated with a medical grade antimicrobial coating and is rated at an IP54 level of protection against contaminant or liquid ingress into the unit. The touchscreen is a PCAP multitouch, the computer’s Ultramobile processor can be an Intel Core i7, i5, or Celeron, and the unit has TPM 2.0 support.

 

The Medix medical tablet has a full-slot smart card reader and SD card readers. This allows for clocking in, secure logging in to the system, accepting payments and a great number of other uses with a card. An optional barcode scanner can allow for scanning of medications or patient wristbands. A  desktop charging cradle, wall and vehicle mounting accessories, and a handheld wrist strap for the T13 medical tablet provide numerous ways to interact with the device.

And keeping with the topic of this blog entry, an optional RFID reader in the T13 medical tablet allows hospital staff to identify, track, and retrieve data on most anything in the facility.

 

As hospitals and clinics are urged to adopt newer technologies by governing bodies, it’s important for providers to stay ahead of the curve on offering these features in their computing devices. Tangent’s mission is to provide medical care providers all the tools they need to give the best care and to stay up-to-date  with regulations and recommendations. When implemented correctly, technologies like RFID can create highly visible benefits to both patients and care facilities.

 

Old hardware put into container

Toss the Mouse and Keyboard, the Future is Touchscreen

Toss the Mouse and Keyboard, the Future is Touchscreen

We are truly living in the age of touchscreen technology. According to eMarketer, 2.4 billion people were using smartphones worldwide in 2017, and 1.2 billion people were using tablet devices. The adoption figures are projected to increase even more over the coming years. An entire generation of children have now grown up using touchscreen tablets and telephones. So considering that most of the world is comfortable with touchscreen computing, it makes perfect sense that touchscreen panel PCs are gaining a lot of traction in businesses.

 

For a very long time, keyboards and mouse devices were cumbersome requisite peripherals to the computing experience. The roller balls in computer mice were like magnets for dust and lint and that would foul up the device very quickly. Optical and wireless mice were an an improvement, but contaminants could still block the sensors and running out of battery was a major inconvenience to one’s work day. The amount of gross things a keyboard can collect over its lifetime is a whole topic on its own. And at the end of the day, if either device failed, one had to pray that they had a backup on hand lest they lose valuable work time.

 

An industrial grade panel PC with a touchscreen that is built to work with gloved hands is perfect for medical settings where contamination or infection control is a critical factor for health and compliance. The Vita KW series of panel PCs from Tangent offers a wide range of sizes from
15 inches to 24 inches and many mounting options to suit a variety of uses, for example, a patient information kiosk, a medical cart panel PC, an in-room computer, a medical records and billing panel PC, and so much more. For medical computers that don’t require the use of gloves, but do need to be kept clean, the KW series panel PC can be sprayed and wiped with disinfectants without any threat of harming the panel PC or worry that it won’t be completely cleaned. The  KW series panel PCs are rated at an IP65, meaning that they highly protected against dust and water ingress. That cannot be said of keyboards or mice for the most part. Unless a waterproof mouse and keyboard are used (which are also offered by Tangent), there’s a good chance that contaminants are lurking in the cracks and crevices of the device.

 

For harsher environments that are even tougher on a panel PC like industrial meat packing plants, food production facilities, and any other enterprise requiring high levels of sanitation and hygiene, the Tangent S Series panel PC is best suited to the job due to it’s IP69K rated, fully waterproof enclosure. The S series touchscreen panel PC can be sprayed with hot, high pressure jets and endure stringent wash downs without any damage to the unit. The S series is also offered in a variety of panel sizes and mounting options. Workers can used gloved or ungloved hands on the touchscreen equally well to conduct their business. It’s quite remarkable how a touchscreen panel can be both sensitive and very durable at the same time. This is the level of ingenuity and quality that Tangent offers.

Medical tablets for sabitafions

Medical Tablets for Sanitation

Medical Tablets: Handheld and Sanitary Computer Solutions    

 

People tend to forget that public computers and touchscreens are prime breeding grounds for bacteria and infection. Just this week, a study done by a British newspaper, Metro, announced that they found gut and fecal bacteria on the touchscreen computers in all eight of the McDonald’s chain restaurants that they checked. The main bacteria found was coliform but the dangerous listeria bacteria was also found on some of the screens. The restaurant chain responded that the touchscreens are regularly cleaned, but how much stewardship and regulation goes into a restaurant’s computers cleanliness? There didn’t appear to be much foresight into how easily communicable germs and bacteria are.

It’s no small surprise that infection control is one of the top priorities within medical facilities. Any reputable hospital system has written and publicly published policies and procedures related to infection control for everything including computer equipment. An industrial panel PC from Tangent is the optimal choice for tackling the threat of infection. For example, the KW series panel PC is rated with an IP65 level of protection which precludes any sort of dust or contaminant ingress into the panel PC, and can also withstand direct water jets and cleaning solutions. The panel PC can be sprayed and wiped down an innumerable amount of times and never get damaged from it.

The industrial grade metal enclosure offers a rugged, corrosive resistant surface that is also treated with an antimicrobial coating to further protect patients and staff from the spread of infection. The inside of the panel PC also plays a large part in promoting cleanliness and durability. The computer operates entirely without fans or moving parts. Failures within a computer are often attributed to components that wear out. The Tangent panel PC requires less maintenance, has more uptime, and doesn’t blow any dust particles around.

Another feature that’s making panel PCs the new norm in medical facilities is their compact size and all-inclusiveness. Having no separate PC box or cabling drastically cuts down on the space needed. Keyboards and mice are notoriously hard to keep clean, so the option to cut them out of the equation is very possible and attractive with a Tangent panel PC. They are offered with 4-wire resistive touch or PCAP multi-touch screen to provide a range of functionality based on the client’s needs. Optional Intel Wireless AC-7260 and Bluetooth functionality also adds to the cord-cutting versatility of Tangent’s panel PC line.

Tangent took the extra step of ensuring that their medical tablets and industrial panel PCs are validated to be fully compliant with both Epic and Cerner applications, two of the biggest providers of health information technology solutions and services in the world. A lot of effort was put into creating a line of purpose built industrial panel PCs that would give medical practices powerful computing capabilities, ease-of-use, reliability, and to help avoid infection scares like with the fast food touchscreen fiasco. It’s a big enough scandal for a big name restaurant, but it would be catastrophic for a small health facility.

 

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.

630C2840-3245-4D14-841E-9D103FD0C6F8

Computer Redundancy: A Matter of Life or Death in Medical Environments

Computer Redundancy: A Matter of Life or Death in Medical Environments

For most people, a power outage constitutes a moderate inconvenience. Cooking dinner or watching TV is out of the question for a few hours, but soon enough life returns to normal with little consequence. For a medical facility, however, a power outage can be quite catastrophic and even life threatening for patients. A sustained loss of power can cause downtime on respiratory devices, medical computers, monitoring devices, and critical equipment for patients in neonatal,  intensive care or cardiac units. Emergency or time critical procedures cannot be performed and loss of refrigeration can severely affect medications and stored blood and tissues. Without any power, medical computers cannot access electronic patient medical records and other hospital data, and orders for medication or procedures cannot be completed. With worsening weather patterns around the world and the prevalence of rolling blackouts, the outlook seems fairly bleak, but this is not the case for well prepared hospitals and care providers. Many facilities now employ a mix of powerful backup generators and equipment with hot-swappable batteries or UPS (uninterruptible power supply) systems for critical devices.

Purpose built medical grade computers can make a huge positive impact on service delivery during a power loss event. Tangent offers several all-in-one medical computers that offer battery backup options for such occasions. The Tangent T24B medical computer was designed with three easy-to-use hot-swappable batteries and battery bays to ensure a 24/7 runtime. This provides up to 10.5 hours of runtime without any interruption of power to the user. The T24B also offers antimicrobial treatment to deter the spread of infection, a 24 inch PCAP ten point multi-touch touchscreen, is shielded to prevent interference with other sensitive medical equipment, and has several options for mounting including cart arms, wall mounts, or a stand.

The Tangent M24T 24″ medical computer has an internal UPS battery backup that offers 30 minutes of uninterrupted power. This allows staff to continue working for a time without having to swap out any batteries. The M24T is a high performance machine that can be equipped with up to 32G of memory. The Tangent C24 24” medical computer also has an internal UPS battery backup that allows for 20 minutes of use without any external power. The C22 works very well on medical carts and arms due to it’s convenient front panel buttons, antimicrobial surface, and PCAP touchscreen. All the medical computers mentioned here are offered in a variety of screen sizes and with a variety of available system upgrades and optional accessories to best suit the needs of the care providers and their patients. Disaster recovery is a major focal point for many medical organizations, but the best prepared hospital systems avoid many potential disasters by using equipment and medical devices that offer internal or external battery backups. Several of Tangent’s medical grade all-in-one computers were designed for the continuity of patient care even in the face of unforeseen losses of power, while also delivering top level performance 24 hours a day.

Invisible Threats

Invisible Threats

Invisible Threats

Hospital equipment often is advertised as being antimicrobial, but how is it possible for a LCD monitor or tablet computer to ward off pathogens in a medical setting without being wiped down with disinfectants all the time? It seems odd for a collection of plastics and wires to promote any sort of health benefits, but medical advancements and information technology have long gone hand in hand. Antimicrobial additives can now be blended into plastic surfaces during the manufacturing process to provide lasting protection from microbes, harmful bacteria, mold, fungi and viruses. This minimizes the risk of the spread of infection, staining, smells, and material degradation. When you take into account that hospital associated infections have caused more than 100,000 deaths in the United States, it’s no wonder that great efforts are made to sterilize every surface possible.

Another benefit of antimicrobial plastic is that the additives have been tested to last for the expected lifetime of the treated product, like Tangent’s Medical LCD monitors. Once infused into plastic, antimicrobial additives don’t leech from the surface, cause discoloration or affect the clarity of the plastic. This ensures that the equipment can be confidently kept in medical spaces to keep patients safe for years without degrading the quality of the device. Every Tangent Touch Screen Medical LCD monitor comes factory treated with an antimicrobial additive to battle surface contamination. The 22” Medical LCD monitor also has an IP65 rated front panel, which means it’s rated as dust tight and protected against water projected from a nozzle. One doesn’t expect a random hose to be shooting water around a hospital, but strange things are known to happen. Actually, this provides a very beneficial added layer of cleanliness to the LCD monitor. The monitor can be easily cleaned and wiped down with no chance of damaging it’s internal components or adversely affecting its touch screen capabilities.  

Microbes and bacteria are a threat that is naked to the eye, and yet another invisible and potentially hazardous peril can arise from electronics in a medical setting. Before 1977, there was no standard for safety on medical equipment and electric shocks and shorts were commonplace. Since then the EN 60601-1 family of standards was developed. Its scope covers the safety, essential performance and electromagnetic compatibility of medical electrical equipment and related systems. Tangent’s Touch Screen Medical LCD is certified EN 60601 and is compliant with CDC guidelines. Painstaking measures are taken to ensure that these LCD monitors are safe, sanitary, and effective in a medical space. It’s VESA 75 mounting capability allows for affixing the LCD monitor to an arm, point-of-care cart, or stand.

Pair this sleek LCD monitor with one of Tangent’s antimicrobial, waterproof keyboards, and a rugged, fanless PC to truly experience a long-lasting, dependable, hygienic computer system. There is enough to worry about in a hospital settings without having to consider whether your computer components are making patients unwell or spreading dust and spores.

thinclientblog

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.