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How tech takes away pain in hospital admin

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Epson recently presented at the Healthcare Innovation Summit where delegates discussed the value of technology in improving healthcare. HUGH DAVIES, Business Development Manager at Epson South Africa, highlighted various tools which can support healthcare professionals.

A hospital or clinic is as much a business environment as any other type of company, with a team of administrators providing invaluable support to the professionals at the coalface of delivering the best possible healthcare.

There are numerous print, projection, scanning and disc-producing solutions that help health professionals achieve greater efficiencies in their tasks, whether it’s labeling medication clearly in a dispensary, quickly writing X-ray images to a cost-efficient CD rather than making patients wait for films to develop, or using interactive projectors to enhance the efficacy of skills development and training.

When it comes to providing support for the administration teams, technology is available to help them boost efficiency, save time, increase their effectiveness, and comply with legislative requirements around patient confidentiality and the secure storage of data.

Hugh Davies, business development manager at Epson South Africa understands the challenges facing the support teams in clinical environments, including IT and technical issues, finance processes and controls, and providing administration support to doctors, nurses and allied healthcare professionals. “Administrative staff are tasked with activities as diverse as stock control, tracking patient data and keeping it secure, and invoicing and income collection, while finance teams need quick and effective reporting mechanisms to ensure the long-term sustainability of the healthcare facility.

“Choosing the right technology to support administration processes provides clarity on costs, allows for better accuracy and helps administrators comply with the complex legislative requirements around protecting patient data, such as the Protection of Private Information Act,” Davies continues.

Protect personal data

Medical environments need to choose printing and scanning equipment that keeps confidential data protected and away from unauthorised eyes, with on-demand identification and privacy controls giving auditable access to patient data.

Keep costs under control

In a clinical environment, keeping costs under control allows for the focus to be kept on providing the best possible healthcare. Every cent counts, and procurement and finance teams need to seek out the printing solutions that offer the lowest total cost of ownership, and that can be trusted to incur predictable (rather than unexpected) costs in the future. Choosing printers that produce high-legibility, clearly colour-coded labels means that reprints are a thing of the past, while choosing devices that integrate easily with legacy systems without leading to unexpected hardware costs makes good business sense. Epson’s Replaceable Ink Pack System (RIPS) printers, for example, can print up to 75,000 pages without an ink refill – and the device gives you fair warning when it’s time to order new ink.

Make electronic records easy

While it seems there will always be a place for paperwork in the daily running of a ward and of a hospital, when the patient is discharged it makes good sense to digitise their data and store it safely. Password protected scanners and Discproducers allow administrators to scan documents and write data to discs, which can be safely stored for up to 50 years making it ideal for long term archiving.

Rural is no longer remote

Remote healthcare facilities often don’t have access to specialist insights, and time is of the essence in seeking an expert opinion to ensure the most appropriate treatment in an emergency or unusual case. However, a combination of interactive short-throw projectors and a WiFi connection in the remote location and in the specialist’s office allows voice and visual collaboration in real time, with the potential to capture notes made during the discussion and send them digitally during or immediately after the consultation for reference during treatment.

“Administrative staff seldom get the recognition for the role they play in supporting sick and unwell – but having the right equipment to play their vital role certainly makes it easier to keep their healthcare facility running efficiently, cost-effectively, and in line with all legislative requirements,” says Davies. “Installing the right equipment to do the job makes good sense, whether you’re a stock controller, a book-keeper, a radiology secretary, or the head of the hospital’s information technology team – all the people that make it possible for the medical professionals to fulfil their duties effectively.”

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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