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Convertibles make health care IT flexible

doctor using tablet computer at workComputers have traditionally come in one of a few carefully defined forms. Desktop computers are systems that you go somewhere to use. Laptop computers are machines you can carry different places to use. Tablets are devices you can use while standing up.

Health care professionals and administrators would choose the platform that would be most useful to them in most situations and make do when circumstances changed. Now, though, convertible computers blend qualities from all three of the former formats into devices that professionals can use anywhere.

How flexible are you ready to be?

On the one hand, you can look at the incredible flexibility convertible devices provide and wonder how there could ever be a downside to their purchase. On the other hand, as with almost anything in health care, you have to look at all the ramifications and implications of bringing a new type of device into the infrastructure to see how it

1. Can improve patient care,

2. Work within the regulatory framework, and

3. Keep the accounting department happy.

For convertible devices, the key can be deciding what kind of device it truly is.

Is it a laptop?

One approach to the convertible is to decide that it is a laptop computer than can act as a tablet when circumstances warrant.

When a practice or company follows this path, the convertible will be treated as a laptop. It will have laptop user authentication and remote management capabilities. The authentication is critical because patient information has to be kept private—and privacy requires that only those authorized to see records have access to them.

Is it a tablet?

Another approach is to treat the convertible as a tablet device that can sometimes have a really good keyboard and touch pad attached.

This approach means the device will fall under the organization’s mobile data management regime that also manages tablets and smartphones. Once again, this will have implications when it comes to user authentication and the way data is partitioned on the workstation hard drive.

Universal considerations

In either case, in deciding which convertible models to add to a health care fleet, questions will have to be answered.

1. Can the screen unit be completely wiped down with sterilizing wipes?

2. Is the keyboard sealed?

3. Will choosing a device that is thoroughly sealed and heavily armored mean the tablet side of the unit is too heavy to be used as an actual tablet?

The answers to all these questions matter.

A convertible workstation can be ideal for health care, allowing doctors, nurses, and other health care providers to enjoy

1. The portability of a tablet while on rounds, and

2. The I/O flexibility and usability of a laptop when in the office or at the end of rounds.

As an IT professional, you can provide valuable guidance concerning convertibles after you’ve decided how your organization will view these flexible devices and what that viewpoint will mean for your management systems. Top of Form

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