ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 12, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that health-care software and hardware vendors are increasingly adopting the Microsoft® Windows® CE operating system to provide mobile, point-of-care solutions.
“Windows CE-based health-care applications let medical providers access patient care information any time, anywhere, which increases productivity, reduces costs and enhances the quality of care,”
said John D. Carpenter Jr., worldwide health-care industry manager at Microsoft.
“Windows CE brings the full power of computing to mobile computer users, enhancing workflow and clinical documentation at the point of care.”
For example, Avera McKennan’s Home and Community Services Department in Sioux Falls, S.D., is using Home Care Manager point-of-care clinical documentation software, developed by Patient Care Technologies (PtCT), and mobile computing devices to enhance patient care and create operational efficiencies. This new technology and software solution has encouraged many home care clinicians to enter the age of computing, according to Twila Kuchel, systems leader and triage nurse at Avera McKennan.
“Home Care Manager has increased our home-care clinicians’ productivity by eliminating paperwork and reducing travel time,”
“Mobile computing has enabled our clinicians to take even better care of patients in their home, which has reduced costs and helped our agency run more efficiently. These are the top priorities of Avera McKennan’s home care department as we compete in the managed-care environment.”
The point-of-care documentation solution and mobile technology have enabled Avera McKennan’s clinicians to travel fewer miles each month. As more Windows CE-based handheld devices are integrated into the department in the near future, Kuchel estimates the home-care department will see substantial savings from staff mileage reimbursement. In addition, she said Windows CE will enable clinicians to store and retrieve complete patient charts.
“Our old mobile devices had limited memory capabilities; if a patient had a complex medical history, clinicians couldn’t access enough of it. In some cases, they weren’t able to complete the patient documentation in the home. Our new Windows CE-based devices solve this problem.”
Kuchel noted another advantage of the Windows CE operating system:
“The Windows CE-based device is more visual and allows our new clinicians to get up to speed more quickly on the system.”
“Home-care clinicians are the most mobile of all health-care workers,”
said Dr. Mark Braunstein, CEO of Patient Care Technologies.
“To be accepted by clinicians, computer technology must be easy to use without intruding on patient care. Windows CE-based handheld computers will enable mobile computing to emerge as the ultimate tool for the point of care in home care.”
Hardware Vendors Develop New Products for Windows CE
Hardware vendors including Marquette Medical Systems Inc., Network Computing Devices Inc., (NCD), Data General Corp. and Sharp Electronics Corp. are manufacturing a variety of mobile devices designed for the health-care industry and powered by the Windows CE operating system.
Marquette Medical Systems , a leading supplier of monitoring, diagnostic and information systems worldwide, has selected Microsoft Windows CE as the operating system for its new home-care monitor and information product line expected to be on the market by early 1999, pending FDA approval. Recognizing the need to extend health care to the home environment, Marquette is in the process of developing a product to connect a patient in the home with the care provider. Microsoft Windows CE will enable Marquette to develop the product in record time by providing key functionality needed in today’s embedded applications.
Network Computing Devices Inc., a leader in thin client computing, provides thin client hardware and software that enables access to any network application. NCD’s ThinSTAR family of Windows-based terminals is powered by Microsoft Windows CE. NCD ThinSTAR is a cost-effective, easy-to-install and easy-to-administer Windows-based terminal accessing Windows-compatible applications via RDP or ICA protocols. Access to legacy systems (e.g., 3270, 5250, VTXX) is provided through the NCD ThinSTAR family of connectivity software products.
HBO & Co. (HBOC) now offers its customers the ability to implement HBOC’s software application solutions using Connect 2000, HBOC’s thin-client computing solution, and NCD’s ThinSTAR client hardware. HBOC delivers enterprisewide patient care, clinical and financial software, and outsourcing and other sources to health-care organizations throughout the world.
Planar Display Solutions and Network Computing Devices plan to co-develop a Windows CE-based thin client device, integrated with a flat panel monitor and designed specifically for the medical market. This device will meet the important UL2601 specification (a restrictive electrical standard designed to protect patients and caregivers from electrical shock) for patient environments. Planar Display Solutions is a leading developer and supplier of specialty information display products for the health-care environment.
Data General Corp. will introduce WiiN-Pad, a Windows CE-based handheld computer designed specifically for the health-care industry. The design goals for WiiN-Pad include low cost, ease of use, durability and long battery life. According to officials at Data General, Windows CE introduces a new gauge of simplicity for point-of-care computing. For example, the need to boot up and shut down is eliminated by WiiN-Pad’s instant on/off feature, which enables health-care providers to immediately access patient records any time, anywhere. WiiN-Pad will be made rugged to provide high reliability.
Patient Care Technologies , an early adopter of Data General’s WiiN-Pad, will use the device for its Home Care Manager point-of-care applications for home care.
“In many ways, home care presents the ultimate challenge for computing technology,”
said Mark Braunstein, M.D., and CEO of PtCT.
“Home-care clinicians travel many miles under difficult conditions to visit patients during the course of a day. These clinicians have no support infrastructure with them, and must function independently using their point-of-care device. WiiN-Pad allows them to do this.”
In mid-October 1998, Sharp Electronics Corp. will introduce Mobilon TriPad, a Windows CE-based product that offers the height of flexibility in a new class of ultra-portable computing devices. TriPad represents one of the first of a new generation of Windows CE-based computing devices to offer a full VGA notebook PC-size color LCD screen and a large keyboard. In addition, TriPad can operate as a Windows CE-based thin client capable of communicating wirelessly to a back-end Windows NT 4.0 Server Terminal Edition. TriPad’s unique hinge design allows it to be configured in three ways, supporting standard notebook, tablet and easel modes of operation.
Health-Care Developers Build Windows CE-Based Applications for Point of Care
Health-care software vendors including MasterChart Inc., QuadraMed Corp., Physix Inc., Data Critical Corp., Odyssey Software Development, Patient Care Technologies Inc. and Translink Software are developing a rich array of Windows CE-based solutions that will lower costs, increase productivity, improve communication and enhance patient care.
MasterChart and Lanier Worldwide Inc. are piloting Cquence CE a digital dictation and information-viewing application, which provides the functionality of a tapeless, handheld digital recorder. Running on Palm-size PCs available from numerous vendors, Cquence CE also has advanced integration and synchronization capabilities. Cquence CE delivers voice to existing dictation systems and can download and display valuable patient information and medical documentation.
QuadraMed has announced the new OneLook Portable for Windows CE. OneLook Portable for Windows CE enables Handheld PC users to access patient data from any legacy HIS system, including leading mainframe- and midrange-based systems from HBO & Co., Shared Medical Systems, Medical Information Technology Inc. and IDX Corp. Physicians can check lab results, enter orders, access patient information and electronically sign reports from a patient’s bedside, remote clinic, home or office. Health information management staff can also use OneLook portable to access patient information and update chart locations in real-time, regardless of location.
OneLook Portable, based on Galileo technology from QuadraMed technology partner Health+Cast, supports any standard Windows CE-based Handheld PC, as well as the new Windows Terminal Server for the Windows NT® operating system.
Physix Inc.’s PocketChart electronic medical record and charting compliance tool combines mobile flexibility with charting functionality. Health-care providers can capture and access every element of critical patient information at the point of care with Windows CE-based Handheld PCs. This comprehensive charting tool builds on user-defined clinical templates to help clinicians quickly create thorough, HCFA-compliant patient notes, generate prescriptions after accessing the pharmaceutical reference database, and apply billing codes to the patient encounter, all of which improve patient care and physician compliance. In addition, Physix will provide an optional Windows CE-based mobile client for Compendia, its client/server and enterprise solution.
Data Critical Corp. has developed a Windows CE-based home health-care application that receives patient waveforms recorded and sent by cardiac patients over a cellular or regular telephone. A recording device the size of a credit card is worn by the patient and transmits a trans-telephonic signal to a Microsoft Windows CE-based Palm-size PC. The Windows CE-based application then translates the signal into waveforms, which are displayed on the Palm-size PC’s screen. These time-critical waveforms can then be used by physicians to make a diagnosis wherever they may be, whenever they are needed.
Odyssey Software has developed a connectivity suite that provides applications running on Windows CE platforms with online wireless access to data within health-care information systems. Odyssey’s CEfusion product suite takes full advantage of the rich set of connectivity technologies available on Windows NT and extends these technologies to Windows CE-based health-care applications. Using CEfusion, Windows CE-based health-care applications can utilize open database connectivity (ODBC) for database access, Windows NT Server 4.0 Terminal Edition for calling middle-tier transactional business logic, Microsoft Message Queue Server for reliable delivery of data, and SNA Server for integration with 3270- or 5250-based applications. The professional version of Odyssey’s Cefusion is currently being shipped; the Enterprise Edition will ship in November 1998.
Patient Care Technologies (PtCT) shipped a Windows CE 2.0-based version of Home Care Manager software in February 1998. PtCT’s Home Care Manager is the most widely installed clinical information system in home care, with more than 9,000 home-care clinicians based in some 500 agencies. PtCT’s solution incorporates a computer-based patient chart used at the point of care and is one of the first integrated home-care clinical information systems with integrated pathways, outcomes and benchmarking.
TransLink Software is a leading provider of health-care software solutions that accelerate the delivery of mainframe transactions to Windows CE and new distribution channels. Designed for high-volume health-care enterprises, TxAccess Server effectively integrates new distribution channels with existing patient-critical applications. TransLink delivers cost-effective, flexible and highly interoperable health-care information across all Windows platforms. Windows CE-based devices and TransLink’s host transaction integration will begin to replace
administrative processes with faster, more reliable, and accurate services at a reduced cost. Windows CE technology and TransLink’s solution place patient-critical information in the palm of a care provider’s hand.
“It all boils down to being able to provide more effective patient services,”
said Mike O’Brien, president of TransLink Software.
From the bedside, at the clinic or on the way to the
hospital, Windows CE provides mobility while TransLink delivers real-time enterprise information. The combined solution provides a real improvement in the delivery and costs of health-care services while utilizing existing operations.
“Because Windows CE is based on Windows technology, it will be quickly adopted by health-care providers because of its affordable cost and easy-to-learn features,”
said Microsoft’s Carpenter.
“Health-care providers don’t have much time to learn a new device with the pressures of managed care. They need a device they can pick up and learn quickly. Windows CE operating system offers them that benefit.”
Windows CE is a modular 32-bit operating system designed from the ground up to be optimized for connected digital devices and a variety of embedded applications for both business and home use.
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