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Portables Medicine Hardware

Review of Atom-Powered Toughbook Medical Tablet 54

An anonymous reader writes "Intel has spent years talking up the digital health sector, and now Panasonic has come up with a product to make that category worthwhile. The Toughbook CF-H1 is a fully rugged mobile computer designed for the medical profession. Of course it can be dropped and doused in water, but it's got some other cool tricks too like a built in RFID scanner, wireless smartcard reader and a barcode scanner. It's also using the 1.86GHz Atom, which is rarely seen." I'd like this: a small, low-power tablet suitable for klutzes.
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Review of Atom-Powered Toughbook Medical Tablet

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  • handle (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    More machines need handles like that. It makes skipping down the street while singing a song so much easier.
  • From TFA:

    Will the ToughBook CF-H1 revolutionise the medical profession? Probably not, but it will certainly make the lives of medical professionals easier.

    Medical professional easier to do work = more contended = less need to raise pay = save salary money in long run!

  • Oops (Score:2, Funny)

    by sstpm ( 1463079 )
    That would be a heck of a thing to leave inside a patient after surgery.
  • Secure? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ParanoidJanitor ( 959839 ) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @05:45PM (#26659049)
    It doesn't seem like such a good idea to integrate an RFID reader into the tablet as a security device. Any hospital that can afford equipment like this will probably have tons of people walking down the hall with RFIDs that can grant access to these things. The only way that this could really add to the security is if it's part of some multiple authentication system (i.e. require two methods of authentication to log in out of three, but even that sounds like a bad idea.)

    There was also no mention of any encryption of the medical records stored on these things. I definitely wouldn't trust Windows permissions to keep the records on these safe. Don't get me wrong, I think this is a great step toward making hospitals more efficient, but they need to be secure or they'll just be a liability.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DAldredge ( 2353 )
      Think reading the RFID from the patients wrist band to verify the correct records are being used.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      RFID tags are good for more than just authentication... they're used for tracking things too, remember? There was an article a while ago I think about RFID tagging surgical instruments to help avoid them being left in the patient. I'm not sure if this thing will be able to be brought into an OR or not, but you could conceivably have pharmacists scanning things before giving them out, nurses/misc. staff scanning things before use, etc.

      There's no reason for records to be stored on them at all, that's what VP

    • Re:Secure? (Score:5, Informative)

      by QuantumRiff ( 120817 ) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @07:08PM (#26660113)

      Many hospitals are using RFID not as an authentication, but as an identifier. IE, this is patient X, and these are their 13 medications, without having to scan all 13 medications at the same time. Embedded in prescription labels and wristbands and such.

    • Leaving aside any security-specific use of RFID reading (such as checking that the person trying to get information from the computer has the correct RFID badge, which he took when he was taking the computer), RFID readers do have a lot of potential use in hospitals - tracking medication, reading patient ID bracelets to make sure you've got the right set of records and meds for the patient, making sure this is the anesthetized patient who needs their leg cut off, not the one who needs their appendix out, in

    • by Ironica ( 124657 )

      Patient records in EMR systems are not stored on the client.

      If you do it right, the RFID reader should automatically log out a person if their tag gets too far away, so that you can put down the device and go get a cup of coffee with less risk of someone sneaking in and looking up records while you're away from the machine.

      Ideally, of course, this thing would have a cupholder, so you wouldn't need to put it down to get a cup of coffee, but maybe next version.

    • "they need to be secure or they'll just be a liability"

      Better, let's take the profit motive completely out of the health industry and then absolve the providers (all non-profit) of liability except in cases of negligence.

      As long as %30-95 of all health costs are siphoned off as profits, the system is going to suck.

      • That's just stupid. Before we start screwing around with our healthcare, I suggest we need to do a test run. Take the profit motive out of the sports industry first.

        If socialism works out well for SuperBowl and such, we might do the same for healthcare.

  • But... (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by markdavis ( 642305 )

    does it run Linux?

    SOMEBODY has to ask, you know.

  • Was I the only one whose first thought was about the stupidity of putting an RTG in a laptop?

    • nope.

      (and I really curious about the backlight - Cerenkov radiation?)

    • by Tycho ( 11893 )

      No, I just thought that pairing an Intel Atom processor with Windows Vista in any device that needs to be considered usable in some capacity was stupid. This device manages to violate and manage to fall even farther below whatever standards I originally had as to both the uselessness and stupidity present in both the Atom Processor and Windows Vista individually.

      Combining these two products has actually made them both worth even less than the products would be separately. Using these components, this tabl

      • You're underestimating at least one little detail. It's fanless and free of moving parts. Working in surgery, I can tell you that is extremely important if it is to be used anywhere near the operating room enviroment. Even netbooks like the EEE still get hot enough to incorporate a fan. Leaving it out means that there has to be some other cooling system. Then there is the fact that it has no outer openings (also very important), meaning there are no vents.

        It doesnt need to be running anything very powerful,

  • Cool Hacking Device (Score:4, Interesting)

    by powerlord ( 28156 ) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @06:07PM (#26659395) Journal

    Okay, so let me get this straight, in one Tablet you've got a wireless smart card reader, an RFID reader, a barcode scanner, a finger print scanner, a 2Mpixel camera w/dual LED lights, can house two battery packs, 802.11 a/b/g/draft-n, Bluetooth 2.0+EDR,

    and according TFA

    You can also specify an integrated 7.2mbps HSDPA adapter, or even a GPS receiver.

    Except for the 1GB RAM, and the Atom processor, this sounds like a Security Crackers dream box (for information gathering, or anything where you won't need quick keyboard access).

  • It looks like a really nifty piece of kit. Rugged, good-looking and portable. And easy to steal (let's ignore the fact that you'd look like a complete tit if you tried to fence of of these things down the pub).

    I'd hope to God that sensitive patient clinical data is either very well secured on the machine (e.g. encrypted hard drives), or accessed remotely.

    Well, I'm not saying that it would be any harder to steal than a paper patient medical record file (which aren't all that hard to steal or interfere with

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      At the hospital where I work, all of the data is held on the servers and accessed through a Citrix client. As painful as that is some days, it does solve that problem, as far as anyone running off with the computer, anyway. Not sure how everyone else does it, though, but we use one of the more popular software packages from CERNER--and how I hate their package in our environment lately, but it's practically my job.

  • Yes, but... (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by KGBear ( 71109 )

    ...Does it run Linux?

    • I have seen ambulance officers here in Victoria, Australia using hardened laptops. I took a peek and they appear to run windows.
  • will it make my electric meter run backwards?

  • by mqduck ( 232646 )

    Funny, I was pretty sure that my computer, myself and my heater were all atom-powered.

  • by Symphonix ( 901135 ) on Thursday January 29, 2009 @08:57PM (#26661157) [] I have the Motion C5 here right now on trial, and can't help but notice the similarity.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Atom processor, dual batteries, and the Toughbook name. I'ld say those are three distinct differences. Before you pointed it out, I had no idea that motioncomputing made ruggedized laptops. Granted, I don't do anything requiring ruggedized laptops, but I knew that Panasonic made the Toughbook. So having said all that, I'll just touch up one other point. The reason I called out the Atom over the Core processor on your C5, is that the Atom is lower powered, thus generating less heat over time, and it'll
  • by Soulfader ( 527299 ) <sig AT sigspace DOT net> on Friday January 30, 2009 @01:30AM (#26662803) Journal
    We used a Panasonic Toughbook in Afghanistan in some pretty nasty places, and it held up very well. Never had any problems except for the screen, which just couldn't take the dust contamination and the scratches, and even that could have been alleviated somewhat by not using the stylus.

    We had an adapter that allowed us to charge the thing off one of our standard 5590 SINCGARS radio batteries. Even batteries too discharged for the radio would power the laptop for a few more hours; a fresh one would run the laptop for 24 hours or so.
    • by fm6 ( 162816 )

      Sounds like a good laptop. But it's a tablet, which adds something like $1K to the cost of the thing. That money is pretty much wasted if you can't use the stylus in the environment the "tablet" was supposed to be designed for.

      • In all fairness, I don't think the system designers who picked out the Toughbook expected us to be using it out on top of a hillside while people were shooting at us. The cumbersome and heavy nature of the rest of the equipment bears that out; it was "nominally" man-packable, but really designed (I suspect) for someone to use from a nice hotel somewhere... The Toughbook was probably just a scheme to add a few Gs to the overall price. The software interface WAS designed for touch screen, unfortunately, whi
  • $2000 is cheap for a device as versatile as this.

    Think shipping and receiving docks, law enforcement, bars restaurants (digital order taking, entertainment), and many many more industries where something like this would be awesome.

    My biggest issue with computers today is the idea that a keyboard is required, or even necessary.

    I would love to see far more development focused on purpose built computing using general computing equipment. Kinda like they are doing with the netbooks. This would make devices li

Karl's version of Parkinson's Law: Work expands to exceed the time alloted it.