By Aaron Johnson, senior product manager, ATEN Technology, Inc.
With the continued spread of COVID-19, it’s more important than ever for healthcare organizations to continue implementing ways to keep employees and patients safe, while improving patient care and keeping patient data secure. Many healthcare organizations are turning to KVM (keyboard, video and mouse) solutions to help with the increasing need for smarter and safer healthcare solutions.
A few examples:
- Remote IT admins – IT admins can access critical servers when working remotely. Remote desktops only allow one connection to one server at a time, but a KVM provides a Windows explorer view of ANY server connected to that KVM.
- Remote lab automation – Employees can stay safely away from contaminated areas using a KVM over IP device to access devices in lab areas.
- Remote nurse station monitoring – video extenders and KVM extenders allow nurses to obtain real-time patient data from a remote station without being physically inside the room with the patient. This allows for a controlled, clean and secure environment.
- Command and control through security and surveillance – Security employees can monitor all entry ways, control opening/closing and locking or unlocking doors from a distance.
Trends in Smart Healthcare
A few trends driving the need for these solutions include:
IoMT and Connected, Integrated Smart Healthcare Systems
The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is a connected infrastructure of medical devices, software applications and health systems and services. Integrating different healthcare delivery systems into one mechanism has created the concept of smart healthcare. Not only has this pushed the focus from just caring for the sick to promoting the general health and well-being of people, but it has driven technological advances that connect various health IT systems for ease of control and communication.
Smart technologies, such as virtual health, wearables, sensors and biometrics are already driving this transition to new healthcare delivery models that focus on streamlining processes and making use of cutting-edge digital innovations and information systems. Such developments, including those in artificial intelligence, cognitive technology and robotics are accelerating automation, while telehealth, digital medicine and remote monitoring are already part of larger connected, integrated smart healthcare systems.
Increasing Demand for High-Precision Medical Imaging
Reliable video has always been an important component to healthcare IT, predominantly related to the exponential growth in picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) used to securely store and digitally transmit electronic images and clinical reports. As the volume of digital medical images grows, and data analytics of those images becomes more prevalent, the demand for video at the highest possible resolutions for the most detailed images continues to increase.
The seamless and stable transmission of high-resolution video has become a prerequisite that medical imaging systems are expected to handle (up to 4K), and delivery must be low latency across long distances with no signal degradation. In addition to high-precision audio video signal extension devices, other infrastructure equipment, such as KVM switches, must be able to support the required resolutions and refresh rates.
Digitization Driving Demand for Increased Security
The move toward patient-centered healthcare models and medical information systems is requiring unprecedented levels of security and data protection. Alongside the digitization of healthcare records of electronic medical records (EMRs) is the push for paperless hospitals and the increasing government regulations surrounding data management and patient privacy. Secure KVM switches that are commonly seen in government and military environments are now enabling medical staff to easily switch between sensitive patient data and non-private applications on the hospital network.
Healthcare Use Cases
Medical Imaging: Live Surgery, Remote Monitoring and MRI Diagnostics
A hospital decides to implement a state-of-the-art medical imaging transmission system to enable doctors to perform surgeries and real-time diagnoses more effectively. The solution needs to transmit content, such as live surgery video from the doctors’ head-mounted cameras, patient vitals, medical records, MRI equipment and a picture archiving and communication system (PACS), accessible from various locations inside the hospital.
- Medical imaging needs to be instantly accessible from various locations throughout the hospital.
- Requires clear and stable video images for monitoring.
- Compatibility with a wide range of medical equipment in a hospital environment.
- A tailored solution for medical-grade applications with easy-to-use media distribution management software.
The solution: Integrating seamless switching will deliver instant and stable video over long distances over a single cable, while converting various resolutions to ensure top quality. Additionally, adding HDBaseT KVM extenders will allow MRI equipment to be accessed and operated with zero latency while uncompressed video with pixel-to-pixel quality is reliably delivered to the operator’s room for real-time diagnosis.