4 Questions to Ask Yourself When Selecting the Best Healthcare Tablets
A typical day in the life of a healthcare provider can involve a wide range of tasks. Their duties can include completing patient check-ins, processing reports or data entry, accessing patient information, refilling prescriptions, showing educational videos, and reviewing test results to patients. Whether the environment is a hospital, small practice, pharmacy, assisted living facility, or any other type of healthcare office, medical tablets can be the most effective tool for completing these tasks.
Healthcare tablets offer mobile access at the point of care, which has several advantages:
- It saves time. When providers don’t have to run back and forth to a desktop computer to enter or access information, they can spend that time with patients instead and potentially see more patients per shift.
- It reduces errors. Information can be entered directly (and with the patient’s input) rather than having to be deciphered later from written notes or faulty memory.
- It improves patient outcomes. Providers can focus more on the patients, and they will have the most up-to-date information at their fingertips, enhancing the quality of care.
When you’re ready to upgrade the technology in your medical facility, here are some questions to ask when seeking the best tablet for healthcare.
Are antimicrobial screens and casings available?
The coronavirus pandemic has reinforced awareness that preventing the spread of germs is crucial. When it comes to a healthcare tablet that may be changing hands during shift rotations or patient consultations and traveling from room to room with staff, you want to offer the safest germ-free option. Look for devices made with materials that include antimicrobial additives that can kill bacteria, fungi, and mildew. Ask your provider if the tablet screens are rated by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) as able to withstand environmental hazards such as dust, liquid, or cleaning chemicals. Can the screen be repeatedly wiped down or cleaned without affecting performance? This question leads to a related one.
Is the healthcare tablet ruggedized enough to handle your environment?
Cleaning products aren’t the only potential hazard for your mobile devices. The fast-paced work environment can lead to bumps, drops, spills, and other mishaps, so you want a tablet that has some protection against damage. A tablet’s ruggedness is indicated by its Ingress Protection (IP) rating. This rating has “IP” followed by two digits. The first digit measures the level of protection (particularly for moving parts) against dust, dirt, and other foreign particles. The second digit reflects the degree of protection against moisture (ranging from splashed droplets to full immersion). The higher the IP rating, the more rugged the device is.
In addition, having a rubber casing can help ensure that the healthcare tablet is protected throughout a busy day, whether it’s dropped, gets wet, or is left in the wrong environment. Such casings can be durable, yet sleek enough for a modern medical office.
Does the tablet have the specifications to handle your applications and environment?
The best tablets for healthcare professionals have to be able to withstand not only the physical environment but also the technical demands of the workplace. The device’s Operating System (OS) determines the applications available to you. Make sure that the tablet you choose runs on the OS that aligns with the apps your practitioners and staff use.
Processing speed is also important. You’ll want a tablet that can work at the speed you need. Depending on the type of medical office you are in, you may have urgent appointments (or even emergencies) and a fast-moving environment. To accommodate this pace, you will need a tablet that has the best connectivity and processing capability. Look for a device that offers options like a Cherry Trail Processor.
Security features are also vital. While your patients’ health is a top priority, their privacy needs to be a concern as well. Look for a healthcare tablet that can connect to the apps you need, like biometrics or card swipe access control, to follow HIPAA guidelines and protect patients’ confidential and personal data. Other questions to ask include:
- Can the tablet be secured to prevent theft?
- Can it be maintained with mobile device management (MDM) software to push updates and security patches?
- Does it have a security-hardened design?
A little time spent researching the specifications you need will be well invested.
Is the healthcare tablet ergonomic?
The biggest uses of tablets in a healthcare setting are patient monitoring, data collection, reporting, scheduling, and prescription management. These duties are often done on the go as practitioners are traveling from room to room and patient to patient. If healthcare professionals are going to carry a device around all day, it needs to be lightweight and easy to hold for long periods. Many tablets that have a display of 7 to 10 inches usually weigh under a pound. In addition, the device should be able to hold a charge throughout at least one shift, if not multiples. If it needs to be charged constantly, that defeats the purpose of mobility.
Tablets provide mobility, durability, and reliability in the healthcare industry.
A tablet can benefit an office space by providing healthcare workers with a safe way to move through their day while optimizing their time. Make sure you explore all the factors that go into a healthcare tablet before purchasing, to ensure you get the best device to support your medical office and employee needs.
Mobilizing your workforce so they can interact with patients at the point of care is an essential best practice. Given current labor shortages (especially nurses) and the fact that hospitals and healthcare facilities are busier than ever, investing in technology that increases efficiency and productivity is crucial.