For years, the New York Blood Center (NYBC) cataloged informed consent forms with paper and pen. With nearly 800,000 units of blood products collected annually—including platelets used for treating cancer patients, accident victims, bone marrow transplant recipients, and more—the filing system could be quite slow and error prone.
NYBC recently decided to convert to using digital informed consent forms, where donors would sign in on devices before donating platelets. The main issue was deciding what type of computer they would use. After evaluating several options, they went with Acer Chromebook Spin 713s with Intel® Core™ mobile processors, ordering 50 devices for their pilot program with more on the way.
According to Saby Sarkar, Executive Director of Enterprise IT Applications at NYBC, the choice came down to Chromebook’s unique combination of form factor and features. “Chromebook sits in between a laptop PC and a tablet in that you’re able to get the benefits of both without the headaches,” he said. Specifically, they have the battery life, peripheral support, and cloud-based deployment that healthcare and many other enterprises need.
Improve Daily Operations
Long Battery Life - New York is the city that never sleeps. Even the blood drives there have extended hours, with many people electing to give blood in the morning on their commute, or after they get off in the evenings. One of NYBC’s prerequisites was a device that can last all day on a blood drive or at the donor center.
Their Acer Chromebook models are engineered for just such use cases, capable of providing up to ten hours of battery life. They provide the right balance of power and performance for using devices over long periods of time without a charger. “The devices we’ve selected show a significant advantage over PC laptops in battery life,” said Sarkar.
I/O Functionality - Peripherals are important to medical enterprises. NYBC, for instance, uses USB–A barcode readers to link units of blood to donor information in their database. Being able to scan in the information reduces costly errors that occur recording data by hand.
This workflow would have been difficult with a tablet that only has USB-C compatibility. Chromebook, on the other hand, has broad I/O functionality. Their specific model has a USB-A port allowing USB–A barcode readers to connect directly. No dongles are needed to connect gear. It also features two USB-C ports and an HDMI out.
Another Chromebook advantage is that many models have a built-in keyboard in addition to touchscreen functionality. At NYBC’s centers, donors will be able to key in their info on the physical keyboard, swipe the screen to scroll through the webform, and use the touchscreen to sign their name—a nice benefit from a usability standpoint.
Streamlined Deployment - Because Chromebooks store user data in the Cloud, they are easier for IT departments to manage and deploy. With laptop PCs, every device has to undergo an imaging process where drivers and software are installed beforehand. Chromebook makes installing system images simple. Enter your credentials and the software configuration is automatically pushed up to the Cloud.
This has a number of advantages. For one, it’s easier to deploy Chromebooks en masse. It’s also easy for IT to send out a replacement when a Chromebook comes in for repair. Another advantage, as far as IT goes, is that there is less of a security threat, since most of your apps live in the Cloud. Sarkar expects these benefits will significantly cut down on the cost of support.
Use Chromebook for Your Enterprise
Intel Core processor-powered Chromebooks come in a wide variety of hardware configurations for numerous enterprise applications. Part of the allure is having the exact hardware you need for the job. NYBC’s Chromebook configurations, for instance, are quite lean, with 8 GB memory, a 256 GB SSD1, and an efficient Intel Core processor.
“That’s the beauty of Chromebooks with Intel Core processors,” said Sarkar. “They give us the right amount of compute power at a great value, and in the long run, cut down on the cost of support.” In many instances, they can do more than tablets and laptop PCs.