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● Tablets

Education, Panasonic. T ie provided the following insight: T e tablet’s portability, fl exibility, and ease of use have made

them a great fi t for health business applications of all kinds. In many cases, tablets are so attractive to users that many of them have not waited for their employers to issue them; they’ve brought their own personal devices to work. In other cases, healthcare providers have issued devices to their staff that are bet- ter suited for consumer use and lack critical security, durability, and functionality features. T is has resulted in a fragmented IT management landscape consisting of myriad devices with dif- ferent operating systems, security challenges, and support needs. Recently, the technology industry has seen a shakeup that could play a large role in addressing this issue. Last fall, Micro- soft released Windows 8, the most dramatic overhaul of its operating system since 1995. Off ering a redesigned interface and several new features, the operating system is built for mobil- ity, security, and manage- ability. And when paired with enterprise-class hardware, Windows 8 opens the door for healthcare providers to embrace the benefi ts of tablets, without sac- rifi cing on security, functionality, and management capabilities. One of the most obvious benefi ts of Windows 8 is its redesigned metro interface. Built to take advantage of touchscreen technology, the interface off ers enterprise professional users the fast and fl uid effi ciency and personalization found on today’s popular con- sumer devices. T e operating system’s use of swipe, tap, and drag gestures allows users to easily switch between applications and multitask. While multitasking is a business reality, it’s a challenge for some tablet operating systems, potentially limit- ing worker productivity. T e Windows 8 interface also includes live-updating tiles that can help business users retain situational awareness. With the recent boom in mobile devices, many healthcare

and familiar operating environment across all their devices. Security is a critical need in healthcare technology, and

Windows 8 off ers several features not found in many other tablet operating systems. Secure Boot, for example, is a boot-up process that helps prevent malware from running at startup. From an IT management perspective, a key benefi t of Windows 8 is its ability to work with existing software and hardware. Many business-critical applications, especially in the healthcare segment, are designed to run on Windows. It’s also integrated into the enterprise in other ways, such as the many third-party cloud and software-as-a-service provid- ers using Active Directory for identity management. Equally important as the operating system is the right hardware. Purpose-built tablets, designed specifi cally for challenging en- vironments, off er the durability, ease of use, and warranty support that healthcare providers require, without compromising on security or manageability. Before investing in a

tablet deployment, verify that the device will off er the features your

Toughpad 4K UT- MB5 with Windows 8.1 Pro photo courtesy Panasonic

care providers and healthcare facility demand. Something as simple as a user-replaceable battery, which many consumer devices lack, could be a potential life-saver for doctors and nurses remotely accessing critical patient data. In other cases, it may be as simple as a tablet

with a daylight-viewable screen, which ensures a clinician can work effi ciently regardless of lighting challenges. Some hospital workers may need a device that can be used with a digitizer pen for signature capture or an all-touch interface for easy manipula- tion of medical images or text. T e most common causes of mobile computer failures are

IT departments have been forced to integrate incoming tablets – with alternative operating systems and potential security risks – into legacy device management, security, and system integration structures. It can be diffi cult to securely and effi ciently integrate mobile devices with newer operating systems like Android or iOS into a legacy Windows IT infra- structure, and this often puts healthcare administrators into a ‘troubleshooting’ mode instead of devoting their resources to ensure optimal patient care. With Windows 8, users have the ability to use the same operating system in desktop and tablet environments. Not only is the IT department support- ing a single operating system, users benefi t from a seamless

18 December 2013

drops and spills. T ese dangers are magnifi ed for healthcare mobile workers. Tablets should be engineered to be rug- ged enough to withstand a fall to a hard surface, sealed to withstand spills and dust, and easily sanitized help to ensure reliable operation. With computer hardware such as tablets, it’s also important to understand the diff erence between price and cost. Even at an enterprise level, it’s natural to gravitate toward the lowest sticker price. However, if that device has a high failure rate, hinders productivity, lacks enterprise-level support, or has a short standard warranty, it will end up costing more in the long run – not just in replacement costs but also labor costs, ineffi ciency, the loss of critical data, reduced patient satisfaction, and more. T ink about products in terms of their total cost of ownership in order to get the most for your money.

HMT HEALTH MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY www.healthmgttech.com

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