Healthcare facilities rely on technology for a range of functions, from recording vital signs and patient information to operating sensitive medical equipment. The integration of technology into numerous healthcare processes can reduce input errors, streamline patient care and improve patient outcomes. As technology advances, the possible applications for computers and tablets in the healthcare industry only continues to grow.
Healthcare computers must provide the power, reliability and fast processing speeds necessary to perform these essential functions in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. When purchasing medical computers for healthcare, devices that are designed specifically for use in healthcare facilities will be durable to withstand constant use, while meeting standards for sanitation and data security.
The right healthcare computer system will offer a complete solution to meet the needs of your healthcare facility. In this piece, we will discuss essential considerations when buying medical computers and provide 12 critical questions to ask when purchasing computers for a healthcare facility.
How Medical Computers Are Changing Healthcare
As the capabilities of technology continue to expand, computers have been incorporated in new and unique ways in the healthcare industry. Once used only for simple administrative functions, medical computers can now be used to operate X-ray equipment and MRI scanners, monitor patient vitals and conduct medical consultations in remote rural areas. In modern medical facilities, computers can be seen everywhere from operating rooms to patient bedsides.
When buying healthcare computing products, these various applications can help direct you toward the right medical computers for your needs. Here are a few ways medical computers are changing the healthcare industry through new uses and applications:
- Streamlining and Protecting Patient Data: When nurses and doctors can take notes directly on computers or tablets, it eliminates tedious manual data entry that can result in errors in medical records or on prescriptions. Collecting patient data on computers also ensures all notes are clear and legible. New security features of medical computers ensure all patient data is kept private and safe.
- Operating Medical Devices and Equipment: Powerful and fast computers can now be used to control medical equipment and devices to perform MRIs, CT Scans, X-rays, ultrasounds and blood tests. After X-rays and scans are taken, physicians can easily show these images on the computer screen. During appointments, computers can also be used to display pictures or videos to help patients understand their condition or treatment.
- Assisting in Surgical Procedures: During surgical procedures, computers are used to monitor vital signs and display video during the procedure. Medical-grade computers are safe for use in operating rooms and provide high-definition displays for easy and accurate monitoring.
- Monitoring Patients: Modern medical computers can be used to monitor vital signs, operate blood pressure monitors and control other essential patient monitoring equipment. If something goes wrong, the software can notify nurses immediately through an automated alert. When computers are used for patient monitoring, they are also continually collecting patient data for future use or reference.
- Increasing Access to Medical Information: During patient consultations, nurses and doctors can use medical computers to access medical databases or patient records quickly. If hospital staff want more information about a treatment plan or specific condition, medical computers put that information right at their fingertips. Quick access to patient records also allows for more efficient care when patient history, medication allergies and other vital information is immediately available.
- Enabling Telemedicine: A more recent development in the healthcare industry, telemedicine allows doctors to provide care to patients in other locations, such as in rural areas or after a natural disaster strikes. Through tablets, computers and smartphones, physicians can communicate with patients to assess their condition and provide a diagnosis.
- Maintaining Inventory: Keeping an accurate record of medications and medicines that are in stock is crucial to providing adequate care. By monitoring your inventory electronically, hospital staff can receive alerts when the supply of a particular medication is low. Tracking inventory through healthcare computer systems also reduces the possibility of drug abuse or incorrect prescriptions.
When choosing the right healthcare computers for your facility, consider how you plan to utilize your healthcare computer systems to best serve your patients and hospital staff.
Advantages of Modern Medical Computers
Modern medical computers are equipped with various features and capabilities for effective use in healthcare facilities of all types. New technology has made medical computers for healthcare environments faster, more energy efficient, more reliable and more secure. Increased focus on user experience has also produced healthcare computers with improved user interfaces and better accessibility and mobility.
Here are a few advantages of purchasing modern medical computers for your healthcare facility:
- Improved User Experience: As more healthcare practices seek to integrate technology into their processes, medical computers are now designed with user experience (UX) at the forefront. Improved UX design means nurses and doctors can access crucial information more quickly. New technologies and software make it easy to write prescriptions electronically, locate patient records, send medical bills and perform many other administrative and healthcare-related tasks with ease.
- Touchscreen Capabilities: Many healthcare computers and tablets are now available with intuitive touchscreen designs. Users can scroll, zoom and type on-screen for improved usability in operating rooms and other medical environments. Touchscreen healthcare computers often offer multi-touch capabilities and can even be used while wearing surgical gloves.
- Increased Connectivity: New technology in healthcare computers allows them to be connected to a multitude of other devices and equipment. Modern medical computers can be connected to barcode scanners, printers and additional displays to streamline workflow. They can also connect to a range of medical equipment, from heart rate monitors to X-ray machines. This increased connectivity allows data to be transferred quickly between medical devices and provides nurses and doctors with real-time access to patient vitals and other critical data.
- Improved Security: Security is a major concern for patient records and other sensitive medical information that is stored on hospital computers. However, nurses and doctors still need to be able to access this private information quickly to provide effective care. New computer technologies can provide improved security through efficient data back-up and secure file protection, as well as improved access through new options like fingerprint readers, smart card readers (SCR) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) readers. Instead of passwords or pins which can easily be stolen, these advanced security options are faster and more secure.
- Better Mobility: Because of advancements in technology, tablets and other portable devices can now offer the same processing power as standard PCs. Doctors and nurses can now use portable tablets during consultations or to perform triage efficiently in hospital waiting rooms. All-in-one (AIO) computers make it possible to move medical computers throughout facilities as necessary. Improvements in run time and battery life also mean computers on wheels (COWs) and workstations on wheels (WOWs) can be used for longer durations, making them even more mobile than before.
Healthcare facilities of all sizes — from local dental practices to large hospitals — can benefit from these advantages offered by modern healthcare computers. When buying AIO computers for your healthcare facility, look for devices that offer these new advantages and suit the needs of your facility.
12 Questions to Ask When Purchasing Computers for Your Healthcare Facility
By considering the needs of your facility and planning for future computer applications, you can choose the right medical computers for your healthcare facility. Here are 12 important questions to ask when buying computers for a healthcare facility.
1. Are the Computers Reliable and Durable?
Reliability is an essential feature for healthcare computers, especially those that are used for patient monitoring, equipment operation and other critical processes. If a medical computer crashes or malfunctions, it can lead to fatal consequences. When purchasing medical computers, look for devices with proven reliability for long-term use. The best healthcare computers are designed with low power consumption and long battery life for continuous operation.
Medical computers must also be durable in case of accidental drops or bumps. If a medical tablet or device falls and breaks, critical patient data may be lost, or medical equipment might malfunction. When shopping for durable healthcare computers, look for devices with solid state drives that will not be disrupted by bumps or damaged from drops. Rugged materials and design also protect medical computers from physical damage for greater reliability and an increased lifespan.
2. Is the Company Reliable?
In addition to the computers themselves, the company must be a reliable source for healthcare computers. Medical equipment is required to meet certain standards and regulations that consumer-grade electronics are not. This means purchasing computers for a healthcare facility from a consumer brand may lead to compliance violations if the devices cannot be properly sanitized or do not provide the necessary security and privacy features.
When choosing a supplier for healthcare computers, look for a company with experience in the medical field and knowledge of relevant regulations and standards. A reliable company will also offer adequate technical support and warranty options to keep your healthcare computer systems operating properly.
3. Are the Computers Cost-Effective?
When buying healthcare computing products, it is tempting to let the price tag dictate which product you choose — however, finding cost-effective medical computers involves more than just the upfront price. Medical computers designed for low power consumption will reduce your facility’s energy costs for long-term savings. Medical computers with a solid state drive all have no moving parts, meaning they incur less wear and tear and typically last longer than computers with hard drives. Devices that offer a long lifespan reduce the costs of purchasing replacement computers in the future.
When comparing prices of medical computers, take into account the lifespan, power consumption and overall durability of each option. When you purchase cost-effective healthcare computers, your facility can enjoy monthly energy savings and lower long-term technology costs.
4. Are the Computers Designed Specifically for Healthcare Applications?
Computers for healthcare facilities are designed to perform specialized functions that consumer-grade computers are not able to perform. Healthcare computers must be compatible with patient monitoring equipment, operating equipment and other specialized medical devices, and they must be able to support electronic health record (EHR) software. Medical computers must also be designed to hold and process high volumes of data at fast speeds. For reliable use in healthcare applications, medical computers must operate continuously with unwavering reliability.
5. Do the Computers Use the Most Modern Technology?
Technology is constantly evolving, offering innovations for improved UX, faster processing, lower energy consumption and new possibilities for applications in the medical field. When buying medical computers, look for devices with up-to-date technologies and features to make the most of your investment. When you start with the most modern technology, you can continually update your system when new software is released to keep up better with technological innovations and advancements.
6. Are the Computers Compatible With Existing Technology and Software?
When buying medical computers, look for devices that are compatible with your existing technology and software. This allows for seamless integration of your new healthcare computers with your current EHR software. Medical computers should also be compatible with medical equipment and devices for the greatest utility. The right healthcare computers will run on your preferred operating system for a smooth transition and minimal training time.
7. Can the Computers Be Customized to Meet Our Needs?
When buying AIO computers for healthcare, consider the unique needs of your healthcare facility. Do you need a device that can scan barcodes for tracking patient medications or connect to surgical equipment for monitoring? Choose a healthcare computer that can support these features through customized accessories and add-ons.
Working with a computer company the offers customization options also allows your healthcare facility to choose only the features you need in your medical devices. This can cut costs by eliminating unnecessary functions, while also streamlining user experience by providing only valuable features.
8. Are the Computers Sanitary for Medical Environments?
When working in a healthcare environment, proper sanitation is essential for preventing the spread of infectious diseases and protecting immunocompromised patients. Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) accounted for 72,000 patient deaths during hospitalization in 2015, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one in 31 hospital patients has an HAI on any given day.
Consumer-grade computers that are not designed for hospital use can carry bacteria in their cracks and crevices that can lead to HAIs for patients with weakened immune systems. Standard computers are also quickly damaged by cleaning chemicals and cannot withstand the disinfection process necessary for use in healthcare environments.
Computers designed for healthcare environments are constructed with durable, waterproof materials that can withstand frequent sanitation. Many medical computers even have an anti-microbial coating that helps prevent the spread of bacteria. The seamless and sealed design of healthcare computers means they are less likely to transport bacteria and can be cleaned with strong disinfectants to remove pathogens and biohazardous materials.
9. Are the Computers Fanless?
Most computers require a fan to prevent overheating— however, these fans can also contribute to the spread of infectious diseases by dispersing bacteria and dust into the air. Medical-grade computers have a fanless design that allows them to be used safely in operating rooms and hospital clean rooms. Instead of fans, healthcare computers use special heat pipes that pull heat away from the computer and vent the air with cooling fins.
In addition to allowing for improved sanitation, the fanless design of healthcare computers also offers quieter operation. When combined with a solid state drive, medical computers can have an almost silent operation, so staff can use them near patient beds and in operating rooms without causing a disruption.
10. Are the Computers Built to Medical-Grade Standards?
Computers for healthcare environments must meet standards from the International Electrotechnical Commission for medical electrical equipment safety and essential performance. The international standard IEC 60601 provides technical standards that healthcare computers and other electronic equipment must meet, including design standards, usability standards and other general safety and performance requirements.
When purchasing medical computers, verify that they are constructed with appropriate materials, designs and functions to meet these international standards.
11. Do the Computers Meet Security Requirements?
Medical computers are also subject to strict security requirements under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.
HIPAA provides standards for protecting sensitive patient data and health information through specific security measures and privacy measures. Any computers that process or store protected health information (PHI) must be compliant with HIPAA standards through physical and technical safeguards.
The HITECH Act was implemented in 2009 to help enforce HIPAA compliance. The HITECH Act imposes penalties for failure to adhere to HIPAA standards and aims to promote meaningful use of technology in healthcare environments.
When purchasing medical computers, ensure they are HIPAA-compliant and have adequate security features to keep sensitive patient information safe.
12. What Type of Warranty and Extended Support Options Are Available?
Once you have found medical computers that fill these requirements, make sure they come with a sufficient warranty and extended support options. A reliable healthcare computer company will back their product with an extended warranty and fair policies for maintenance and repairs.
When buying AIO computers for healthcare, ask about the warranty options available and what their service and repair procedure looks like. Before finalizing your purchase, select the right support options to protect your investment and keep your medical computers in top operating condition for years to come.
Healthcare Computers From Datalux
Healthcare computers serve many essential functions in modern healthcare facilities, and in an increasingly competitive healthcare market, medical computer products are experiencing constant innovation. New technologies allow medical computers to be customized to meet the specific needs of individual healthcare facilities, while still meeting standard requirements for reliability, durability, sanitation and exceptional performance. When purchasing medical computers for your healthcare facility, you can find a solution that suits your facility’s needs and fits your technology budget.
If you’re looking to upgrade your medical computers, explore the healthcare computer systems from Datalux. We offer cost-effective healthcare computers and mobile medical-grade tablets to suit any healthcare environment. All our medical computers are equipped with a fast and efficient Intel Core i7 or Core i5 processor and designed for reliability and lasting durability. Equipped with the latest technology, healthcare computers from Datalux can be customized to meet the specific needs of your healthcare facility. Contact Datalux for more information about purchasing medical computers for your facility.