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US Army Burn Center deploys specialized Panasonic tablets for critical patients

by Michael Singer

October 22 2013

This specialized Panasonic H2 tablet can follow a patient even into the shower.
This specialized Panasonic H2 tablet can follow a patient even into the shower.

Treating a major burn injury requires complex and continuous care which is why the Army is relying on a ruggedized Panasonic tablet that can withstand the rigors of round-the-clock use.

The US Army Burn Center is part of the Army Institute of Surgical Research located at San Antonio Military Medical Center. As the sole Department of Defense center specializing in burn care for combat casualties and civilian emergencies, the Center is known as a leader in innovative, state-of-the-art medical care for burns.

A critical part of a burn patient’s treatment is the administration of fluids intravenously within the first 24 hours. This means medical staff must assess a patient’s condition hourly and adjust fluid amounts accordingly, to ensure patients are not being over or under hydrated. Monitoring fluids must be done even when the patient was immersed in water, a typical treatment, which proved problematic with past electrical assistants.

With the help of Arcos Medical in Houston, Texas, the Army Burn Center began deploying several rugged and portable Panasonic Toughbook H2 tablets equipped with custom software. Dubbed, the Burn Navigator system, the FDA-approved tablets run Windows 7 and Java.

“The Burn Navigator is better as a tablet than if it were attached to crash carts because patients may be near the bed, the IV pumps the ante room, or the shower room, which is something they could not do before,” Chris Meador, CEO and cofounder of Arcos told TabTimes.

Better results

The Army had developed the software in 2007, but Arcos had integrated it into the Toughbook H2 tablets. The devices have a 6-5 rating which means they are waterproof as well as protected against sand and grit. Nurses can also use disinfectant on the screens and chassis to prevent spread of bacteria.  

A clinical study found use of the specialized tablets led to patients being removed from a ventilator up to 2.5 days sooner and a 34% relative decrease in patient mortality rate.

The specialized tablets are also is in use at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. In June 2013, the Army began using the tablet in its field operations and is considering a broader deployment.

(Unlike off-the-shelf tablets, ruggedized devices come with their own lexicon and rating criteria. Download this whitepaper now to help you navigate the terms and acronyms so you can make informed decisions.)

Michael Singer is the Business Editor for TabTimes

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