The problem with old age….
Healthcare, especially in the present day, can be a very divisive topic. However, one thing we can all agree on is that improving services is critical. When entering a dated hospital, there can sometimes be the feeling that you’re stepping back in time to the 80s or 90s: consultants responding to pagers, clipboards at the ends of beds and medical records having to be digitised by human hand.
All of these manual solutions are a breeding ground for human error, and in the context of healthcare, this can be the difference between life and death!
So what if in a restaurant, the waiter mishears your order and instead of diet cola, you get normal cola? In the worst scenario, you have to wait a few moments before you get the correct drink.
In a hospital, if you get a drug dosage of 200mg instead of 100mg, that could be a mortal mistake. Very scary when you consider the handwriting of your GP!
There must be a better way, you think to yourself as your doctor drops papers all over the floor, and there is! However, one of the tallest hurdles, especially for the cash-strapped NHS, are costs.
Internet of Things (IoT), data flow and communications/collaborations are the key drivers for healthcare modernisation. Mobile electronic devices such as healthcare tablets and other mobile devices can meet these market needs head-on by improving efficiency, enhancing workflow and mitigating errors. However, their initial cost can seemingly be too high for a mass deployment.
What’s the painkiller for that?
The better way does exist: in the space between mass produced and bespoke specifications. Through the customisation and enhancement of economical commercial tablets, similar to that used within Captec’s own specialised range, devices can be manufactured to meet the specific needs of the healthcare industry, while still maintaining economic viability. However, due to environmental exposure, there are a number of absolutely critical considerations that have to be made when specifying healthcare tablets.
Cross-contamination is a very real threat, and something traditional hand sanitisers and exhaustive cleaning routines only go some way to mitigating. Paper, found on clipboards, notoriously does not play well with liquids, so often has to be wasted rather than cleaned, reused or recycled. Healthcare tablets with an antimicrobial coating inhibits the spread of bacteria, meaning diseases are less likely to spread between individuals. Furthermore, this coating is usually paired with an underlying material which is strengthened against chemical wear, so can be thoroughly and regularly cleaned using alcohol and antiseptics. The final defence against germ warfare is a sealed and fanless design, completely eliminating particulate dispersal.
The ability to balance these elements with cost is unique to small form factor devices; to get the equivalent sealing and coating in desktop and rack configurations is completely unfeasible for a healthcare application. Furthermore, you gain the additional benefits of mobility. For example, emergency responders can update patient status in real time via an in-vehicle tablet as they travel to the hospital. The hospital team can then review the data as soon as it comes in via handheld PDAs as they rush to receive the patient.
More and more utilities are being packed into tablets as miniaturisation improves, and healthcare tablets are no different. RFID readers quickly and accurately identify patients, with dual-band Wi-Fi pulling up their records in a flash. Barcode scanners can also ensure the right medication gets to the right bed in the right amounts, completely avoiding any typos or handwriting failures.
Remember to take your (healthcare) tablets…
The cost of delays and inefficiencies of traditional methods are infamously hard to measure, both in terms of reputation and expenditure. When considering this alongside the improvements made to business processes by automating workflow, and not only the workflow automation improvements to business processes, but also the calculated total cost of ownership (something other industries are partial to) over the lifespan of bespoke devices, suddenly the decision gets becomes a whole lot easier!
For more information, visit: www.captec-group.com/healthcare