Understand the Specific Requirements Needed for Telemedicine Platforms
November 15, 2021
If it’s possible for something good to come out of the pandemic, you could point to the increased use of telemedicine, and the positive impact this technology has had on society.
So many more people are getting to “see” their doctors through virtual meetings, and doctors can more easily diagnose patients thanks to the technology that’s available at their fingertips. This is true for both industrialized nations as well as more remote countries where there are fewer doctors.
Vecow’s trusted Telemedicine Platform can handle medical imaging, real-time diagnostics, remote communication, and other remote health-care applications.
Previously, scores of people would sit in a doctor’s waiting room, potentially infecting each other, especially with the super infectious COVID-19 virus still at large. Today, they can sit in the comfort of their homes, out of harm’s way, and far less inconvenienced. This is particularly true for the elderly.
At the same time, doctors are making use of technology to help in their diagnoses. In some cases, they are inputting data and allowing the computer to assist in the diagnosis and treatment. But today, it’s not uncommon for the medical device to directly interact with the patient and, using artificial intelligence (AI) techniques, administer an immediate treatment. The speed and accuracy in which that treatment occurs can potentially save lives and significantly reduce the medical expenses.
To that end, some of the world’s governments are stepping up to the plater to hasten the development of telemedicine technology. For example, the US government launched a $200 million telemedicine promotion program last year, while Taiwan’s Ministry of Health and Welfare recently relaxed its telemedicine regulations, attracting support from more than 8000 hospitals and clinics.
Telemedicine Platforms Push the Technology Envelope
When you dive deeper into the technology, you can see what’s really taking place. First, designing hardware platforms for telemedicine applications is not without its complications. When your target is human beings and savings human lives, curing a disease, or making the right diagnosis, there is little to no room for error. There are also examples where time is of the essence, when emergency personnel are involved, or the medical device is used in an emergency or operating room.
Note that most medical devices must pass muster with the FDA, at least in the US. Any device that has contact with a human body requires FDA approval. This includes an endoscope, a glucose meter, an ultrasound machine, or any type of medical laser instrument. Devices that do not come in direct contact with a human body may not be subject to FDA approval. When selecting a partner for telemedicine products, be sure to select a vendor that’s CE and FCC certified, especially for EMI and EMS. That’s one simple way to ensure that the computing engine meets the necessary regulations to protect the overall platform and its users, and operates reliably.
Designing products for mobile applications brings yet another level of difficulty. Mobile can have multiple meanings when it comes to medical applications. It could mean that the device operates from AC mains, but can be easily transported from room to room via cart. The more difficult design is where the device must actually operate from a battery pack. That typically mean a more compact, lighter weight design. It might also mean that wireless communications must be integrated.
A simple method of adding features such as the ability to communicate wirelessly is to work through a SIM socket, where a 3G/4G/5G or WiFi card could be plugged in. 5G, while not being fully realized yet, can enable real-time HD video data streaming to private medical clouds, with very high speeds and low latencies. A secondary, yet important concern for system developers is ignition control, which is obviously a necessary function for in-vehicle operation.
Vecow’s ECX-2000 fanless AI computing system serves as a multifunctional workstation for experts located in telemedicine centers.
In Telemedicine, Security Is Paramount
Then there’s the ever-present issue of security, one that seems to be growing faster than the development community can track. This area cannot be taken lightly. Medical applications must include things like a private medical cloud, internal intranets for hospitals and other medical facilities, and medical CRM software. Minimum compliance must include support for smart and remote management features and functions, TPM 2.0 for Windows 11, and lockable storage.
Another challenge, both in terms of security and usability, is the potential for unsophisticated users, including physicians and emergency medical personnel. Hence, user-friendly interfaces are a must. And there must be a way to ensure that only authorized users can gain entry to the system.
Longevity for a telemedicine product should be along the lines of IPC products, which must also consider version control. Updates must be closely monitored and regulated to ensure 100% compatibility, interoperability, and security. Again, this is far different than consumer products, where simple re-boots solve many issues. In one specific application, the OEM is providing a comprehensive range of products to efficiently transfer visualization data and diagnostic findings, and store medical audio, video, and image data with it ever leaving the hospital via an intranet.
Vecow’s EMBC-5000 3.5-in. SBC is a performance-driven mobile telemedicine workstation solution for medical imaging applications.
Products That Check the Boxes for Telemedicine
One solution that meets most of these criteria for use in telemedicine applications is the Vecow EMBC-5000 3.5-in. embedded single-board computer (SBC) that’s based on an 11th Gen Intel Core i7/i5/i3 processor (Tiger Lake), which delivers up to 28 W TDP (a specification detailing power efficiency). This means that fanless operation can occur in environments ranging from -40°C to +75°C.
Real-time inferencing applications are possible thanks to the inclusion of a SIM socket which, as discussed earlier, allows access to the latest wireless mediums and additional functions. A host of other I/O help round out the EMBC-5000.
Vecow’s EMBC-5000 3.5-in. SBC offers a trusted solution for real-time imaging, remote diagnostics, and other clinic-based health-care applications.
One system that takes advantage of the EMBC-5000 enables co-operation between hospital-based medical personnel and those in other areas, like specialty centers or even home offices. The integrated wireless communication platform allows for real-time operation, including radiology imaging and complete data exchange. An integrated 3D-audio system maximizes audio quality, independent of the room’s acoustics, without the need for a headset.
If AI model training is required, developers can move to the Vecow ECX-2000 series fanless embedded system, which harnesses the power of a 10th Generation Intel Xeon Core i9/i7/i5/i3 processor (Comet Lake). The workstation integrates multiple 2.5GigE/10GigE RJ45/SFP+ Fiber LAN, and up to six USB 3.0 connections. It includes surge protection and ignition control, and operates flawlessly in harsh and rugged environments.
Find a Partner with the Right Roadmap
When working with Vecow on systems aimed at telemedicine applications, engineers can expect a departure from the competition. They will be introduced to the latest Intel Core SoC platforms; higher system and graphics performance with less TDP; optional OpenVINO Tool kits to accelerate AI performance; 2.5G LAN (at a minimum) for faster data transfer; Mini PCIe adapters for video capture, rugged SUMIT expansion for additional communications ports; and the security commensurate with the application.
To ensure that you’re on the road to success, discuss the latest Vecow products, including the ECX-2000 and EMBC-5000, for telemedicine applications with the team at Vecow. You’ll find a one-stop shop for all your needs, today and in the future.