Freitag, 10.12.2010

MICROSOFT© Case Study :

PENTA System Helps Hannover Medical School Drive Digital Revolution in Healthcare Compatible with Thousands of Medical Software Applications.

Hannover Medical School, a leading university medical center in Germany that sets national and international standards, is driving the digital revolution in healthcare. When the university needed to purchase a new fleet of computing systems for critical patient facilities, intensive care units, and operating rooms, it turned to the PENTA Medical Express system running Windows Embedded Standard 7.
PENTA delivered the system in less than a year, meeting demanding and specific healthcare requirements, including connectivity to a wide range of medical devices and compatibility with thousands of healthcare software applications. The systems also help the school save time, increase productivity as well as improve data accuracy in managing patient information.

Situation

Around the globe, the practice of medicine is being computerized. Healthcare practitioners have found that using medical computing systems can improve the quality and effectiveness of care while reducing its cost.

In Germany, the Hannover Medical School (Medizinische Hochschule Hannover), is helping lead the way into the digital age of medicine. Founded in 1965, Hannover Medical School is one of the world's leading university medical centers, with more than 1500 hospital beds and 2,800 students. Hannover Medical School has over 7,000 employees, including approximately, 1,200 doctors, 1,400 nurses, and 350 research scientists.

Hannover Medical School is the German medical university with the greatest volume of national medical grant funding, and its research and patient care sets national and international standards. As a result, the school’s recent decision to purchase medical computing systems sets new best practice standards for other hospitals and medical centers.

Maximilian Weber, Dipl. Inform., advises the university on information technology purchases and helped secure the German government grant that funded the procurement of the new equipment.

“We have been bringing computing systems into the University’s clinical environment for years in order to gain the benefits of reducing medical errors, improving data access and storage, and boosting staff productivity,” says Weber.
“Most recently, we needed to update nearly 200 systems located in operating theaters, intensive care units, and other hospital areas that have special technical requirements.”

In the hospital, computing systems play a central role in the delivery of medical care to patients. The systems are directly connected to medical equipment such as diagnostics, vital signs monitoring devices, and endoscopic instruments.

“The medical staff uses these on-site systems for documentation, creating and updating patient records, ultrasonic and endoscopic imaging, and a wide range of other applications,” adds Weber.

The computing systems located in critical patient care areas have other hardware and design requirements. They must perform reliably and offer connectivity to legacy binary interfaces found in medical devices, such as galvanic isolated RS-232, which is critical, as well as newer digital standards.

Medical computers must be germfree and stay so, in order to be deployed in infection-endangered and aseptic areas and to minimize the risk of nosocomial infections. Because they are in sterile environments, these systems also must be thoroughly washable for disinfection and hygiene,
which means there can be no vents or openings of any kind.

Finally, the equipment must not create electromagnetic interference that can cause problems for nearby medical equipment.

Solution

In 2006, Hannover Medical School purchased its first medical computers from PENTA GmbH, an Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) that specializes in designing and building reliable, low maintenance computing systems for the healthcare, industrial, and logistics/transportation markets.
The company claims the number one market share position in German speaking countries, and is a leading OEM in Europe and the United States.

For the medical market, PENTA makes encapsulated systems that have a touch screen interface, but no joints in the body casing. Usually mounted on walls, ceilings, or equipment carriers, the equipment can be sprayed and wiped with disinfectant. Besides being more convenient, this hygienic enclosure is a greener solution than disposable protective covers.

A passive cooling system eliminates fans and vents,
which not only makes the PENTA product more durable and reliable but also hygienic and quiet enough to be located at a patient’s bedside.
Isolation of certain components ensures the system won’t interfere electromagnetically with medical devices.

Since it was founded in 1994, PENTA has chosen and developed with Microsoft Windows technologies.
“I would estimate that 99 percent of our products run on a version of the Windows operating system,” says Paul Wierobski, Marketing and Sales Manager, PENTA.

He continues: “We use Windows Embedded operating systems because they are reliable and flexible, have small footprints, and are compatible with virtually all of the existing applications running on our customers’ equipment.
Plus, Windows Embedded is built on known software standards, which helps speed our development efforts by giving us a solid OS foundation out of the gate.”


PENTA leverages other Microsoft technologies to make its products more valuable to its customers.
These include Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0, which allows customers to utilize web services, and the Microsoft SQL Server family, which enables PENTA devices to connect to Windows Servers in hospital data centers for bi-directional exchange of information.

One example of a recent new product development is the Medical Express PC.
“In early 2009, we were asked by a leading endoscopic device manufacturer to develop a next-generation medical computer,” remembers Wierobski.
“Earlier systems were underpowered and unable to handle the massive computing and visualization workloads created by certain applications
 like endoscopic imaging. Our customers always needed more power and performance.”

PENTA designed the new Medical Express PC around the Intel Core2Duo processor with powerful multi-core technology that provides the bandwidth needed multi-threaded applications. To complement the processor,
PENTA chose Windows Embedded Standard 7, 64-bit version, as the software operating system.

“With increased use of graphics and imaging,
the sheer computing power required to run most medical applications has increased multiple times over the last few years,” says Wierobski.
“Most of our customers wanted to move from 32-bit to 64-bit machines for increased performance when running applications like Radiology Information System/Picture Archiving and Communication System (RIS/PACS) for filmless radiology and ultrasound,”

Immediate availability of a powerful set of integrated development tools—including Microsoft Expression Studio, Microsoft Visual Studio, and Microsoft Silverlight—helped the PENTA development team achieve a high level of productivity, resulting in a fast time to market introduction.

“We successfully made our deadline and had two operational systems to demonstrate at Germany’s annual Medica tradeshow in November 2009,” states Wierobski.
“In the end, it took us less than one year to bring the Medical Express PC from concept to tradeshow.”

“Even in a global recession, sales of the Medical Express PC have been going according to forecast – maybe even a little bit better,” Wierobski calculates.

Benefits

Hannover Medical School now leverages 170 PENTA systems,
which are used mainly by surgeons and other physicians, nurses, and technicians in operating suites and ICUs.
Anesthesiology, endoscopic surgery, and radiology are three common procedures performed with the aid of the PENTA product.

Built-in Connectivity with a Broad Range of Medical Devices
The Windows Embedded Standard 7 OS supports not only typicalconnectivity options like Wireless LAN (WLAN), USB 2.0, PCI-Card, 10/100/1000BaseT Ethernet, and IEEE 1394 (Firewire), but also specialized connectivity technologies for legacy medical devices used in hospitals and medical clinics.

“The PENTA system connects up to four medical devices via galvanic isolated RS-232, which is very convenient in an ICU setting where more than one life-support machine can be connected to it,” explains Weber.

He continues: “Windows Embedded also supports frame grabber devices, which is another very important requirement for our hospital.
Frame grabbers allow our imaging technicians to record still pictures and video sequences, such as an endoscopic operation, from a camera attached to a PC, and then store the data on the hard drive, burn it onto a DVD,
or transfer it using a PC card. Every major frame grabber vendor offers a Windows version of their device.”

A Familiar and Productive Desktop Experience just as Microsoft development tools are familiar to most developers, the Windows Embedded desktop environment is familiar to most users.


“Our users are more comfortable in Windows than any other computing environment, probably because they use it at home,” says Weber.
“It is much harder to be productive when you are standing in front of an unfamiliar machine.”

He continues: “Thanks to the Windows interface, there is a real workflow time savings for the medical practitioners at our University. Nurses, doctors and other staff save many each week by using the Penta system to access patient records and other critical information, to update the hospital systems, and to review endoscopic and radiological images.”

Application compatibility
Since most Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) in the medical industry support Windows, the use of Windows Embedded Standard 7 provides more flexibility to PENTA and its customers to choose the software that satisfies their needs.

The Medical Express PC is compatible with thousands of medical applications
in diverse areas like visualization (x-ray, c-scan, radiology, endoscopy, etc.), documentation, HIS, and data acquisition.

Confidence in reliable and stable performance
“We have a high level of confidence and comfort in the performance and reliability of new equipment and appreciate PENTA’s decision to use Windows Embedded Standard 7 to run the system,” says Weber.
“Because the purchase of this equipment was partially funded by the government, we had to solicit multiple proposals, and PENTA’s was the best bid. Since that time, their customer service has been quick to respond to any issue. The vendor relationship has been outstanding.”

Digitization of healthcare
The Hannover Medical School enjoys a host of other benefits that flow from the digitization of medicine.

Read the complete Article here on Microsoft homepage 


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