Motorola has unveiled a new push-to-talk mobile device to withstand the drops and spills of a hospital environment. The Motorola MC75A0-HC Rugged Healthcare Enterprise Digital Assistant (EDA) allows doctors and nurses to enter patient data at bedside in a hospital environment where despite their presence in large numbers, ordinary smartphone connections are difficult to maintain according to a recent study by the Spyglass Consulting Group.
The Motorola EDA device allows health care workers to access patient information, measure medication, access drug libraries, monitor a patient's vital signs and record the data using a full QWERTY keyboard. Health professionals will also use the unit to perform blood transfusions, collect lab specimens and order prescriptions.
For communication with other doctors in the facility, the Motorola EDA includes push-to-talk functionality using the Motorola TEAM Express voice client. It also integrates with nurse-call systems, voice over LAN and VOIP (voice over IP) networks, said Vivian Funkhouser, principal of global health care solutions at Motorola.
"What makes this device unique is its reverse communication," Funkhouser told eWEEK. "It's able to communicate with other device form factors like two-way radios."
Motorola says the device should streamline workflows while allowing for tasks to be completed at point of care without paperwork. The EDA captures data on 1D and 2D bar codes and transmits information virtually from the patient's bedside to hospital IT systems, the company reports.
The Motorola EDA features a 3.5-inch color high-definition LCD and a 3.2-megapixel autofocus color camera, which captures high-resolution photographs, video footage and documents to improve workflow and provide a view of a patient's condition.
Funkhouser noted that nurses take pictures of patients' wounds for reimbursement and insurance purposes.
Unlike consumer smartphones, the device features plastics suitable for the health care field and can survive exposure to strong cleaning agents as well as drops and spills, Funkhouser explained.
"Some of the facilities are testing the smartphone form factor, but Motorola believes that nurses really need and demand a rugged device and also a device that is sealed from risk of infection," said Funkhouser.
The Motorola device conforms to rugged military standards on drop, tumble and sealing by the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) and the IEST (Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology), including the MIL-STD 810G military specification. It can survive 5-foot drops on concrete as well as exposure to water and dust.
In addition, the Motorola device meets HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) security guidelines.
Although the device accomplishes many tasks, Motorola wants the focus to remain on the patient and not the technology, according to Funkhouser. "It's a natural part of the workflow rather than a focus," she said.
Other devices recently introduced that target the health care field similarly feature a rugged structure. On June 22, Motion Computing rolled out its J3500 Tablet PC. Like the Motorola product, the Motion Computing tablet meets the MIL-STD-810G rugged military standard to guard against bumps and spills.
Another rugged device for the medical field is the Panasonic Toughbook H1 mobile clinical assistant, which offers a 10.4-inch dual touch display and has an IP65 International Protection rating.