REDMOND, Wash. — May 25, 2011 — Imagine your last visit to the doctor’s office. If you weren’t temporarily blinded by a severe fear of needles, chances are you remember encountering highly technical medical equipment — whether it was a powerful MRI, an X-ray machine or even the computer system the technician used to log your medical history. You may not realize that many medical devices are using the Windows Embedded platform to help bring effective technology to not only doctor’s offices, but also clinics and homes around the world.
QIAGEN, a global provider of sample and assay technologies, along with InHand Electronics, leading provider of low-power embedded systems to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), joined forces with Microsoft to create a cancer screening device powered by Microsoft Windows Embedded CE 6.0 R3. Named the careHPV Test, the machine effectively screens women for cervical cancer and HPV even in regions of the world without access to electricity and running water. With cervical cancer, as with most diseases, prevention and early treatment is critical. The availability of the Windows Embedded-powered careHPV Test will help increase early detection of the disease and provide test results to patients within a few hours instead of days.
QIAGEN selected Windows Embedded CE 6.0 for the platform’s ability to instantly detect equipment failures as well as its easy programming environment, which helps to quickly install application updates. The careHPV Test machine also provides a simple, clean, graphical interface that minimizes the number of steps for physicians, greatly reducing errors. Now women in the developing world will have access to cervical cancer screenings regardless of their proximity to a hospital.
Another way Windows Embedded is working in the medical field is with GE Healthcare’s CardioLab and Mac-Lab recording systems, which run on the Windows Embedded Enterprise operating system. The CardioLab is used specifically in electrophysiology labs where technicians monitor the electrical properties of the heart, and the Mac-Lab is used in hemodynamic labs where physicians examine a patient’s blood flow and circulation. Both devices accurately collect and record data and interface with other systems in the lab and across the shared network, making it easy for doctors to collaborate and gain access to information remotely.
The CardioLab and the Mac-Lab were both initially introduced more than two decades ago running MS-DOS. Now, following the natural progression of Windows Embedded, each device runs on Windows Embedded Enterprise. With the use of Windows, the Windows Embedded platforms create familiar and trusted devices for physicians who are already comfortable working with PCs in their personal lives.
A simple and easy-to-use interface is especially critical in hospital labs where a diverse group of users — from administrators to physicians, cardiologists and IT professionals — are all interacting with the devices on a daily basis. This information flow dramatically helps improve a hospital’s ability to effectively and efficiently treat a patient.
For more information on these topics, be sure to also read the Microsoft case study on QIAGEN and the Microsoft case study on GE Healthcare. Don’t forget to visit the Windows Embedded News Center for more medical industry articles, and follow the @MSFTWEB Twitter handle for the latest Windows Embedded news.