Today Panasonic is set to unveil its new Toughbook H1 medically oriented computer and clinical assistance device. As we had previously reported, the device features Intel’s new Atom processor, which requires no external ventilation, hence the computer is completely splash-proof. The Toughbook H1 also sports a “six hour battery life, dual hot-swappable batteries, standard daylight viewable screen and integrated Gobi™ technology,” according to the company.
H1 is not the first such device on the market. The current main player out there is Motion Computing‘s C5 MCA tablet. We had a chance to check out the H1 device about a month ago at a private showing. What we were told is that Panasonic, knowing full well its competitor, went ahead and spent a significant amount of resources to develop a device that has all the “standard” mobile clinical assistant features, such as a camera, RFID and barcode readers, as well as other functions to make the device attractive for a wide range of clinical scenarios. The company also told us that the H1 design has been thoroughly studied to make the device useful in a hospital and at the clinic. When we played with H1 we liked its ergonomic design and functionality: the tablet is light-weight, slick, sturdy, and quite fast. The interface is very intuitive and full of navigation and help features, such as easy to follow instructions for battery changes, or a suspension mode for cleaning and decontamination. The OS is Windows Vista, so H1 can function both as an MCA and an office computer. (The device has ports for external keyboard, as well as for an external screen.)
If you want to learn more about the device, the company posted a series of YouTube videos: Official H1 Video, H1 Product Overview, H1 Cleaning, H1 Drop Test.
More details from the press release:
The Toughbook H1 is based on Panasonic’s innovative engineering, resulting from its own proprietary global healthcare industry research and Intel’s mobile clinical assistant (MCA) reference design. The company visited clinicians around the world to solicit feedback for the product. The resulting device improves workflow and eases clinical loads for doctors and nurses, allowing them to access patient records at the point of care and document a patient’s condition in real time. The workflow advantages offered by the H1 can help healthcare organizations maximize efficiency, which is critical as the market faces an aging population, increased demand for healthcare services and a shortage of nurses.
The Toughbook H1 MCA can help to reduce medication administration errors while helping clinicians deliver faster, safer care. With integrated RFID reader, 2.0 megapixel auto-focus camera with dual LED lights, a barcode reader, contactless smart card reader and fingerprint readers, the new Toughbook H1 MCA is a secure and intuitive platform for barcode medication administration (BCMA), vitals capture and electronic medical records (EMR) capture and review.
“Intel developed the MCA reference based on significant ethnographic research, workflow studies and conversations with healthcare professionals worldwide,” said Louis Burns, vice president and general manager of Intel’s Digital Health Group. “By putting innovative technologies such as the Toughbook H1 MCA in the hands of clinicians, we are providing them with the tools they need to have the right information at the point of decision. Intel is committed to collaborating with companies such as Panasonic to help enable high quality, economical, and accessible healthcare.”
By leveraging Panasonic’s advanced battery technology and a low-power Intel Atom processor, the H1 offers a category-leading six hours of battery life, complemented by dual hot-swappable batteries that deliver extended life, allowing non-stop computing while on the move. This virtually eliminates down time, maximizing return on investment.
The Toughbook® H1 has been designed for easy disinfection, reducing the risk of germs being spread from patient to patient. The device is the first MCA to offer a fanless design – limiting the opportunity for germs to be transported by the device – and also features a smooth surface with sealed buttons, a gapless LCD screen and no exposed ports.
To further aid in disinfection, a Panasonic-designed software utility can be programmed to remind users to wipe the unit down at defined intervals. The utility automatically records a successful cleaning for the hospital’s permanent records.
The rugged H1 is MIL-STD-810F tested and is capable of withstanding three foot drops – similar to the height of a patient’s bed – while operational. The sealed unit is IP54 compliant for water-, rain- and dust-resistance and can easily handle being repeatedly sprayed and wiped with disinfectant.
In addition, Panasonic is using Intel’s MCA platform, together with the freely available Intel MCA Software Development Kit (SDK), to accelerate time-to-market for application developers by providing a development environment that is hardware agnostic. The company also offers dedicated developer support and sales training for its partners.
To meet the needs for mobility in both facilities and in-home health environments, the H1 offers a range of embedded wireless options including 802.11a/b/g/draft-n and Bluetooth® 2.0. The device can also ship with Qualcomm’s new Gobi™ technology, simplifying complex multi-carrier wireless deployments for IT departments. The H1 will be certified on all major networks in the US, allowing workers to stay connected regardless of their geography.
The H1 also comes with optional, next generation GPS technology allowing for location awareness with improved accuracy, faster satellite acquisition time and lower power consumption.
Panasonic Toughbook® H1: Select Features and Specifications:
Genuine Windows Vista® Business with Service Pack 1 (with Windows XP Tablet downgrade option) Intel® Atom™ processor (1.86GHz) Z540 with 533MHz FSB, 512KB L2 cache 1GB standard RAM configuration 80 GB 1.8-inch shock mounted hard drive 10.4” XGA sunlight viewable 500 NIT Dual Touch LCD screen (1024 x 768 resolution) Anti-reflective screen treatment Integrated 2.0 megapixel auto-focus camera with dual LED lights Fingerprint scanner Contactless smartcard reader RFID reader Fully rugged
— MIL-STD-810F and IP54 compliant
— 3 foot drop approved
— Magnesium alloy chassis
— Sealed all-weather design
— Rain-, spill-, dust- and vibration-resistant
Intel® WiFi Link 5100 802.11a/b/g/draft-n Bluetooth® v2.0 + EDR Integrated docking connector
Optional integrated WWAN / Gobi™-enabled mobile broadband (EV-DO and HSPA) Global position system (GPS) receiver 2D barcode reader (also reads 1D barcodes) 6 hour battery life Hot-swappable batteries 3.4 lbs (with batteries) 10.4” (W) x 10.6” (H) x 1.3” – 2.3” (D)
Pricing and Availability
The Panasonic Toughbook H1 will be available worldwide in January of 2009. In the United States, the base H1 model is expected to be available at an estimated street price of $2,999 from authorized Panasonic resellers and distributors.