An occasional trip to the doctors is inevitable. Even if we eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, and do everything possible to stay healthy, we can still find ourselves needing a little help from modern medicine from time to time. As touchscreens become increasingly ubiquitous in our lives, we take a look at some of the medical applications that benefit from interactive touchscreen technology.
First impressions count, this includes a patients first interaction with their healthcare services in the doctor’s surgery or hospital waiting room. As well as human receptionist, many clinicians are now offering digital self-service check-in for patients. These “queue busting” kiosks offer additional features such as appointment booking, interactive menus and quality of service feedback questionnaires.
An example of this can be seen with Qmatic’s Duet Virtua™ solution, an all-in-one unit which delivers multiple tailor-made services to its clients via its sleek bezel-less Zytronic, touchscreen interface. The customised projective capacitive touch screen designed especially for Qmatic, features a hygienic, fully flat, all-glass surface, where dirt and surface contaminants can be easy cleaned off, making the kiosk ideal for use in busy public environments such as hospitals, and clinics.
Wayfinding, Digital signage and patient info
Navigating the twists and turns of large hospitals, can be stressful and time consuming for anxious patients and visitors. However, the installation of interactive digital wayfinders could change all that, connecting people with the places they want to be
By providing detailed maps with step by step directions, department information, including staff profiles, and approximate waiting times, patients can feel well informed, and safer in the environment, and allow busy hospital staff to focus on critical tasks.
Abuzz Solutions in Sydney, Australia specialise in designing and manufacturing unique wayfinding solutions (both hardware and software) for a variety of markets, including medical. Zytronic has partnered with Abuzz for many years on a number of their kiosk designs, including their Edge™ and Landmark™ systems.
Diagnostics, in and outside of the hospital
The practical benefits of touchscreen technology are being utilised more and more for a variety of diagnostic applications.
K2, a medical technology company, specialising in the improving of maternity care, specified Zytronic’s durable, projective capacitive touchscreen technology for its Foetal Heart Monitoring System, the K2MS Platform™. A bedside terminal that allows patient data to be called up quickly and easily across a network. Commenting on the system, Dr. Robert Keith, Technical Director, K2 Medical Systems, “Touchscreens make advanced technology easy to use and accessible to all staff, even those with little or no PC training, which is essential in modern healthcare. But this environment imposes very specific demands. Touchscreens must be easy to keep clinically clean, offer good light transmission with no glare, and must be strong enough to pass medical device standards, which include a 2-inch steel ball drop test. Zytronic’s ZYTOUCH® touch technology delivered and surpassed all of these criteria”. The reliability of these systems, reassures patients, and allows medical professionals to access medical data almost instantaneously.
The usefulness of touch sensors doesn’t stop when medical procedures have been completed. An innovative new application of the technology comes from Dutch company, Recornect, who have developed CoWall™. This interactive communication surface utilises a highly durable, 46 inch ZYBRID® touchscreen, has been developed to help psychiatric patients in acute or long-term care facilities.
The CoWall™ touchscreen displays enable patients to control various aspects of their living space while under supervised care. This can include choosing different forms of entertainment, changing the ambient lighting, or conversing with family/friends as well as members of the medical team. The accessible applications (‘apps’) can be changed by the doctor, depending on the individual case and patient needs, for example, radio, games, videos, music and drawing apps, as well as a secure communication system can all be made available. While CoWall™ provides the patient with entertainment options, the system also collects useful data which supports staff; enabling them to monitor the patient’s condition, assess their recovery and modify their treatment accordingly.
There can be no doubt that touchscreen technology can greatly benefit both patients and healthcare professionals. Compared to other industries, the adoption for medical use has been slower, primarily due to budgeting, however this is changing as healthcare service providers increasingly recognise that the initial outlay costs can be recouped through greater staff efficiencies and most importantly, improved patient care and satisfaction.