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Panasonic offers Toughbook for clinicians

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Panasonic, the manufacturer of durable, reliable Panasonic Toughbook mobile computers, has announced the new Panasonic Toughbook CF-H1. It is said to be the first fully rugged mobile clinical assistant (MCA) and the first device of its kind to integrate the low power Intel Atom processor*.

The Toughbook CF-H1 is designed to give users a light-weight, water-resistant, shock and drop-tolerant, disinfected mobile computing device that meets the highest demands of a fast paced clinical environment.

Working closely with existing customers within the healthcare market to determine the industry needs, the CF-H1 is ‘designed by clinicians for clinicians’. With its light weight, approx 1.5 kg design, low surface heat, comfortable-to-use integrated hand strap and conveniently placed barcode reader, the CF-H1 offers enhanced ergonomics over other MCA devices.

The Toughbook CF-H1 MCA also can help to reduce medication administration errors while helping nurses and physicians to deliver faster and safer care. With an integrated RFID reader, 2.0 megapixel auto-focus camera with dual LED lights, contactless smart card reader and fingerprint readers for user authentication, the new CF-H1 provides a secure and intuitive platform for barcode entry and for electronic medical records (EMR) capture and review – all at the point of care.

“As the demand for health services increases, we have recognized the need to develop a product specific to healthcare which features the rugged characteristics of our full-line of Toughbooks,” says Susan Black, National Sales and Marketing Manager, Panasonic Canada Inc. (PCI). “We are extremely excited as this product has been created by Panasonic engineers, Intel, and customer input within the industry, so we know it will be a winner.”

The CF-H1 has also been designed for easy disinfection, reducing the risk of infections being spread from patient to patient. The first MCA to offer a fanless design – limiting the opportunity for germs to be transported by the device – features a smooth surface with sealed buttons, a gapless LCD screen and no exposed ports.

Panasonic developed a special exterior case material which can withstand frequent alcohol wipes. To further aid in disinfection, a Panasonic-designed software utility can be programmed to remind users to wipe the unit down at defined intervals and automatically records a successful cleaning for the hospital’s permanent records.

“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 CF-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,” said Burns. “Intel is committed to collaborating with companies such as Panasonic to help enable high quality, economical, and accessible healthcare.”

Using Panasonic’s advanced battery technology and a low-power Intel Atom processor, the CF-H1 offers 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 virtually eliminating down time during shifts.

The rugged CF-H1 has a daylight viewable 500-nit dual touch LCD screen and is capable of withstanding 90 cm drops, similar to the height of a patient’s bed, while operational, plus additional working conditions such as vibration, humidity, altitude, temperature extremes and thermal shock.

The sealed unit is IP54 compliant for water-, rain- and dust-resistance and can easily handle being repeatedly sprayed and wiped with disinfectant.

To meet the needs for mobility within many healthcare organizations, the CF-H1 offers a range of embedded wireless options including 802.11a/b/g/ draft-n and Bluetooth® 2.0.

The device can ship with embedded WWAN wireless technology. The CF-H1 also comes with optional, GPS technology allowing for location awareness with improved accuracy, faster satellite acquisition time and lower power consumption.

Panasonic Canada demonstrated the new device at the Ontario Hospital Association HealthAchieve conference in early November. Said Susan Black: “We are pleased to announce this new product at HealthAchieve 2008 show to share the excitement of this amazing device.”

The Panasonic Toughbook H1 MCA will be available worldwide early next year. Meanwhile, Panasonic Canada has evaluation units, and is placing them with healthcare organizations that are interested in testing the device.

Panasonic Canada Inc. is an affiliate of Panasonic Corporation (PC) of Japan, one of the world’s largest producers of electronic and electric products for consumer, business and industrial use. Information on Panasonic’s full line of notebook PCs for the mobile professional can be obtained by visiting