Making a decision about medical computer hardware can be like navigating without a map. Some of these factors may seem obvious, but for software people making hardware decisions, it can be easy to overlook crucial points. Get clarity for what you need on each of these factors and your medical PC project will go much smoother.
Top 10 Key Factors to Consider
- Hardware Security
- Cleaning Agents
- Processing Power
- Screen Size/Type
- Integrated Readers/Scanners
- Application Specific Needs
1. What certifications are required?
Certifications are the number one consideration for many medical PC buyers. The latest medical electronic device certifications are required for a growing number of settings. Teguar has, and is continuing to update, all product offerings to meet IEC 60601-1 4th edition which keeps us on the leading edge of medical computer hardware technology. To find more about what this certification means, read more here.
2. What security measures will be deployed?
Security should be a concern for applications running EHR (Electronic Health Record) software or handling any other sensitive medical data. Medical software security begins with computer hardware protection. Most CMIOs (Chief Medical Information Officers) want to have a TPM (Trusted Platform Module), Intel’s Active Management Technology (Intel AMT/VPro) option, and the ability to remove storage in case critical patient data is stored on the PC. Teguar has customized products which meet demands to have secure access to SSD/HDD & easy access to additional types of storage media.
3. What are the disinfecting and cleaning chemicals used?
While most medical PCs have an anti-bacterial coating, they still need to be cleaned. A commonly asked question for project is if our products can resist bleach, chemical wipes, alcohol, etc., for multiple wipe downs and cleanings. Teguar has experience providing chemically resistant products to our clients as well as embedding and/or coating our products with antimicrobial properties such as silver Nano-material to paint, plastic, and touch surfaces to prevent the growth of bacteria. In extreme cases where the harshest chemicals are used, stainless steel waterproof computers have been chosen by customers who need more durability than medical grade computers with a tough plastic housing.
4. How much processing power will the healthcare software require?
It is important to determine if your software applications are limiting you to specific hardware specifications such as screen resolution and CPU performance. It is common for IT professionals to find the latest and fastest CPU available even though the software doesn’t require it. To make the best medical hardware choice, review this before spending extra dollars, especially since most of the CPU loading is transitioning to the Cloud. Many Teguar clients choose our TP-4040 series of medical computers for cost savings and power efficiency. However, we offer the highest performance CPU options available in a medical All-in-One and box form factors when heavy-duty processing loads are required.
5. What will be the connecting I/Os and are isolated I/Os needed?
List what the medical PC will need to be physically connected to, even for a short period of time. Common connections are: secondary display, internal network, data collection equipment, external cameras, catheter, audio, and medical monitoring devices. When connecting to any other medical devices and/or patients there is need for isolated I/Os to protect equipment and patients from any electronic interference or shock. Standard isolated ports are RS232, USB, & LAN. The quantity of isolated ports can vary per model due to real estate and expansion capabilities. Teguar has the capability to customize the quantity of isolated ports when necessary.
6. What type of mobility is needed?
When your application requires you to go mobile with a medical computer there are various options to fulfill this task. Medical tablet PCs or mobile medical cart computing are the most common options. Consider if you want the ability to hand carry or dock a medical tablet at will. Would it be helpful for practitioners to keep the same medical PCs with them as they travel throughout a healthcare facility, or will mobile they be dedicated to specific applications performed in changing locations?
“Get clarity for what you need on each of these factors and your medical PC project will go much smoother.”
7. Is a battery needed, if so, how long of a battery life is necessary?
If your application requires a larger screen with external peripherals attached there are a few battery solutions that will give you full operation time from 20 minutes to infinity thanks to hot-swappable battery technology. Some users require less than 20 minutes of battery life to allow them to move the computer from room-to-room or as a backup battery in case of power loss to provide a safe shutdown of the OS. Teguar offers internal or VESA mountable backup battery solutions across our PC Medical line. To get a large screen with a long battery life you will find mostly Workstation on Wheels (WoW) that includes a heavy rechargeable battery at the base to power all of your equipment. However, more users are choosing to benefit from user-friendly and economical hot-swappable battery solutions built-in to an All-in-One medical computer. For example, Teguar’s TM-5510-22 allows you to work non-stop off a trio of easily removable hot-swappable batteries without interruption.
8. What screen is optimal?
Review who is going to look at the screen (if one is needed) and for what purpose. Bedside entertainment terminals have different requirements than surgical displays, but both users likely want an HD screen. The most common limitations regarding screen size and resolution are software compatibility, image clarity, the requirement of DICOM® (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine). Sometimes healthcare practitioners just prefer a specific screen size. Teguar is able to provide HD resolution on a 10” PC Medical panel, screen ratios of 5:4, 16:9, and 16:10 across the product line and DICOM® capability on various models. If you require a large screen with an HD display & touch for surgical accuracy and automation, the TP-5040-32 is currently the only 32” Medical AIO available in the market.
9. Is any type of reader/scanner needed?
Equipment, personnel, and patient tracking are a vital part of the digital healthcare environment. The most popular options for this are built-in to medical tablets and All-in-One medical PCs. A barcode scanner, RFID/NFC Reader, Smart Card Reader, and biometric fingerprint authentication are the most common tracking methods to look for. The application, security needs, and software will dictate what is needed.
10. What are the application specific needs?
Depending on your PC Medical application, you can select a wide range of products to complete your tasks. Teguar often works with Medical OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and medical software companies who have proprietary designs with unique computer hardware needs. Medical equipment developers may need expanded I/O options or integration with customized hardware. A factor that is often overlooked is how a computer is physically handled. Will it be stationary or constantly adjusted, bumped or cleaned? Understanding how many of these types of interactions a day will occur dictates the form factor and housing needed.