Philips joins Intel for handheld advances
Royal Philips Electronics announced its plan to design, manufacture and ship a Mobile Clinical Assistant (MCA) at HIMSS07 last week. The tool is designed to enable nurses and physicians to improve bedside patient care by using an integrated, wireless device to connect to patient information stored in electronic medical records. The MCA is a new category of mobile point-of-care devices that was designed with input from clinicians and through clinical workflow studies, interviews and ethnography research conducted by Intel Corporation. Philips plans to produce the MCA in the fourth quarter of this year.

The Philips MCA brings a number of technology features together into a single platform, including an easy to read 10.4 inch XGA touch-screen, RFID and barcode scanning, Bluetooth, wireless LAN connectivity and a digital camera. The portable, always connected device is designed to require minimal training and provides significant benefits to the clinical users, helping to reduce medication errors, positively identify staff and patients, fill out charts, capture vital signs, write up reports and validate blood transfusions as well as the ability to closely monitor the healing of wounds.

Designed as a fully sealed device without any unnecessary I/O ports, the MCA can easily be wiped clean with disinfectant to reduce the spread of infection as nurses move from patient to patient. Moreover, its durable design makes the MCA suitable to withstand knocks, drops and the general daily activities within the hospital.  Its medical grade compliance allows usage in many clinical areas, including intensive care units and surgery theatres.

The Philips MCA also comes with a revolutionary feature to swap the long-life battery with a fresh one in the docking station without disrupting applications currently in use.  The grab and go docking station has been designed not only to charge the device but also to use it as a back-office desktop device in combination with a mouse, keyboard and high-speed Ethernet connection.