The medical industry has always had a strong incentive to optimize efficiency by incorporating new technology into care. Better efficiency lowers operating costs and errors, and also increases positive outcomes.
Image Credit: Advantech
It makes sense that information technologies (IT) have been readily embraced by the medical community over the last several years, with their almost limitless potential to streamline processes at all levels of care.
Yet, there are certain challenges posed by the employment of IT in a medical setting. These vary from practical concerns such as sterilization, to more complex issues of data security, workflow, and theft protection.
A leading provider of purpose-built medical IT devices, Advantech, has been able to create a variety of successful medical IT solutions by developing a holistic approach to product design.
This starts with a thorough assessment of the specific environment where the device will be utilized, in addition to the requirements that it will have to adhere to. Some of the challenges inherent to medical use are predictable, and intrinsic to a medical context.
Infection control properties rank highly among these; infections that are transmitted within a hospital, not only result in significant cost to the provider through lost reimbursement but also put patients at obvious risk.
It is crucial that a device can withstand frequent cleaning without loss of function or deterioration, which standard devices simply are unable to do.
Breakage is another basic parameter and problem that consumer-grade electronics cannot satisfy without consumer cases that present a whole new set of infection control concerns or costly cases that retrofit consumer devices to healthcare standards.
Medical IT requires patient trust, in addition to meaningful investment, so theft prevention is a high priority. The loss of a device can be costly, but when data is compromised it can also potentially involve serious privacy concerns.
Measures to address this issue can be as simple as customizing the physical appearance of a device to make it less attractive or more easily identifiable, or as sophisticated as creating organization-specific Basic Input/Output Systems (BIOS) to eliminate unauthorized use and disabling USB function to prevent the easy duplication of data. These concerns can also be alleviated by Mobile Device Management (MDM) software.
In some instances, medical providers will know some of the specifications that are needed for their unique application as they will have previous trial-and-error experience with IT devices.
Utilization in a non-clinical area will be different from employment in an operating room where a fanless design becomes vital to prevent the circulation of pathogens. The ability of a device to be customized enables a more efficient, higher-performing ecosystem.
Advantech will also assess the individual requirements of use beyond these considerations, within each care setting, and customize accordingly. For example, each organization will have particular cost requirements and workflow.
Advantech’s 60601 medically certified AIM 55 tablet is a result of years of experience working with medical device developers and health systems. The AIM-55 was built from the ground up to meet the requirements of healthcare. The tablet is sealed, can get wet, can stand up to hospital grade cleaning agents, be dropped, and be used while gloved.
These built-in features can be “personalized” in multiple ways with a diverse range of extension modules like a magnetic strip, barcode scanners, or smart card readers and RJ45 connector, creating a highly adaptable and powerful device which meets the granular requirements of a wide range of healthcare organizations from administration to surgery.
Produced from materials originally authored by Tim Mitchell, healthcare district sales manager at Advantech, from Amplify magazine.
With decades of proven experience and trusted by 23 of the top 30 medical device manufacturers, Advantech is a leading player in the global healthcare market. Advantech partners with leading medical equipment manufacturers and system integrators to transform healthcare and elevate patient-centered care. Advantech’s medical device safety certifications and FDA registration, paired with high-performance and customizable products, meets the healthcare industry’s demands for both turnkey solutions and comprehensive design and manufacturing services.
Global headquarters located in Taipei, Taiwan, North American headquarters in Irvine, California and design center in Cincinnati, Ohio, Advantech is a global market-leader in industrial PCs and medical grade PCs. Offering a high degree of customization to meet unique customer requirements with in-house design and manufacturing, along with the deliberate selection of component, processor, and chipset for product designs, Advantech products are designed and manufactured with the primary intent of longevity and availability.
Advantech has been ISO 13485 certified for medical devices since 2003; its North American Service Center located in Milpitas, CA is also a FDA Registered facility. Advantech’s medical product portfolio includes medical-grade PCs, medical displays, medical tablets, mobile workstation and telehealth carts and healthcare information terminals. Medically certified for patient safety (60601), fanless and sealed for infection control, Advantech’s purpose built products specific for healthcare use cases are configurable and customizable, built for both acute care and non-acute care healthcare facilities.
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