Medical Electronics

are available with optional web cams, various touchscreen options, up to six USB 2.0 or 3.0 ports, and barcode scanners.

All models are based around the Intel QM387 chipset and feature Intel HD graphics, using in-plane switching technology to deliver clear, vivid display images, with no colour wash and no image distortion while using the touchscreens (ranging in size from 10” to 24”). Isolated design provides electric leakage protection for the various ports while the whole enclosure is IP54-protected.

Implementing IoT technology for medical applications

By Ard Schalkwijk, sales manager healthcare, Advantech Europe T

he medical sector is facing major challenges globally, but many of them can be met by adopting Internet of Things (IoT) solutions and developing ‘smart’ hospitals to deliver more ‘intelligent’ and patient-centred healthcare. Seeing more patients in a day, making faster, more accurate diagnoses and arranging for treatment to start sooner are all achievable goals.

The modern medical sector is looking to change from being curative – taking care of the aging and the sick – to being a system based on prevention, but for this to happen hospitals will need to move towards full interoperability. That means seamless and secure inter-communications throughout a hospital building and between sites that

can be many miles apart, even in different countries – delivering, sharing, analysing and acting on patient data in real-time. Currently, the vast majority of hospitals use their own closed IT systems that can only be accessed and operated by internal staff. However, there are major technological advances taking place already that are bringing the power of IoT into existing hospitals to provide tangible benefits for patients and staff alike. For example, Advantech has created a range of integrated platforms and services based around IoT technology. Solutions on offer include point-of-care (POC) computing, integrated operating rooms, intelligent wards, closed-loop medication administration, and telehealth applications.

iHealthcare division

Through its iHealthcare division, the company has provided a POC touch computer which has helped to minimise the need for clinical staff to work with paper records. A medically certified panel PC, the POC was conceived to be used across various areas in a hospital, including patient wards, operating theatres and intensive care departments. Models in the range enable different configurations to be achieved via Wi- Fi modules, smart card readers, battery packs, RFID readers, DVD drives or Bluetooth modules. The POC family offers memory capacities from 8Gb to 32Gb, storage of up to 128Gb, various operating systems (including Windows 10 IoT), and up to two Gigabit Ethernet (isolated) interfaces. With a choice of PCIe, mini PCIe or M.2 expansion slots, the POCs

Dispensing technology Another innovation that is transforming how medical care is provided is Advantech’s medication dispensing cart, which has a built-in medicine cabinet with individual bins that contain medication assigned to specific patients. In-patients are given a barcoded wristband which, when scanned, causes the bin to open. The collected data is then automatically uploaded into the hospital’s electronic record system, reducing the chances of records getting mixed up or misplaced, minimising the likelihood of medication errors, and ensuring all accessible information is up-to-date.

Features include electric height adjustment, quick change from passive to active mode and the ability to be augmented by various accessories. These include file storage and other drawers, a waste and needle container, intravenous (IV) pole, barcode scanner, printer and video camera.

There is also a mobile workstation that has been developed based around the medical cart which is supplemented by built-in enhanced Wi-Fi connectivity. This workstation improves telemedicine efficacy in intensive care units by enabling patient’s medical records, a doctor’s diagnosis and 24-hour vital sign monitoring results to be sent in real-time to a centralised nursing station. Having accurate data instantly at hand, can literally be a matter of life and death in such situations.

Advantech has also developed a video over IP solution which is digitising operating theatres. Capable of streaming 4K UHD video (4096 x 2160 pixels) over IP with almost zero latency and compression-less image quality to any surgical display, the medical grade video streamer enables an expert to supervise and provide support to surgeons in real-time from anywhere in the world. This smart and integrated way of working for staff in operating rooms – with multiple video sources displayed simultaneously on a screen with integrated video management – also enables users to switch video sources seamlessly.

Components in Electronics May 2020 19

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