Hospitals Ready for C5

February 22nd, 2007 |
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The University of California, San Francisco Medical center says its pilot study using a portable computer called the C5 helped nurses to be far more productive than with conventional personal computers. The current setup in most hospitals is called a COW, or “computer on wheels,” which is composed of a laptop along with non-networked diagnostic equipment, all on a cart. Medical personnel generally rely on pen and paper to write down data such as blood pressure and then enter it into the PC. The C5, developed by Intel and manufactured by motion computing, provides wireless convergence and it networks with diagnostic devices. Intel made this video possible.

This is an Intel podcast.

Related Stories: IntelDigitalHealth


Guest: Ann Williamson – UCSF Nursing

Guest: Scott Eckert – Motion Computing

Guest: Paul Otellini – Intel Corporation

Guest: Dr. Michael Blum – UCSF Nursing

Ann Williamson – UCSF Nursing

We are actually technology hungry here, having not had a lot of technology at the point-of-care. We were one of the early leaders in information technology and healthcare and have fallen behind a little bit; so we are actually very excited and pleased to be in with this particular product.

Scott Eckert – Motion Computing

What I have here is the Motion C5. The clinicians gave us extensive feedback and Paul mentioned all the work that Intel had done on research into the usability for a device like this. You’ll notice there is no rubber strap on the back that is a great example. The clinicians actually told us five things, make it disinfectable, make it durable, include a barcode scanner, include RFID technology, and include a camera.


The C5 mobile assistant could revolutionize how healthcare is delivered in hospitals. Intel began developing prototypes of this mobile PC in 2005. Motion Computing was the first to actually build a real mobile clinical assistant.

Dr. Michael Blum – UCSF Nursing

None of the barcode scanners are RFID readers, camera is certainly not new. What’s new is appreciating the ecosystem in which they need to work. A nurse wheeling around a COW with a barcode scanner on it and an RFID reader, a camera, none of which talk to anything else particularly well has proven to be a miserable disaster. The IT shops cannot get this stuff in place, cannot support it fast enough, the vendors do not make them connect well enough and you end up with exactly what we have, a digital device that records blood pressures, heart rates, and O2 status, sitting there, someone writes it down on a piece of paper and hours later it ends up in a system.

Someone uses a digital camera and then carries the picture around until tomorrow when they remember they have to download it in the system. This is the first time we looked at those problems. The technology vendors came to us and said how do we do this better and we said look, put this all into one, get it all talking to each other, and give the clinicians a device that they can use to take care of patients and not try to figure out which piece of technology I am supposed to grab off a shelf to take with me to do this task.

Paul Otellini – Intel Corporation

You just look at the target market as being 13 to 20 million nurses or that was on the video. I would agree that is a relatively small number in the grand scheme of what Intel builds every year, but it is a much bigger quest that we are after. I mean this is about taking the world’s largest industry, healthcare and the world’s least penetrated industries as a percent of IT purchases and bring it into a more productive state by the application of IT.

To do that, you need to work on every edge of the problem, you do work in the back end, in the health IT systems, you need to work around common languages, which is our efforts in dossier (ph); you need to work on electronic medical records, which is our efforts there; you need to work on the home and we will talk more about that in a future session; and you need to work more in the clinics, where the data has actually accumulated and then brought to a place where it can actually be dealt with. So, from that perspective, this is a very critical linchpin in filling out the entirely of that system and I think it is a giant opportunity that is why we created a business unit around it.


The medical industry is high-tech intensive with advanced devices that diagnose and treat crippling diseases, but hospitals have not fully benefited from the Information Technology boom that began with personal computing in the 1980s. Nurses and doctors often use some surprisingly old-fashioned networked equipment to create, store, and work with patient records. This is what many hospitals currently use, a COW, known as a Computer on Wheels.

Ann Williamson – UCSF Nursing

This is the current device that has — there is no ability at least on (Inaudible) right now, for a barcode scanner we have to — it could be done and when we first put this into place the nurses said, if I had to wheel to my (Inaudible), I’ll show you in a minutes and Dinamap, which is our Automatic Vital Sign Retrieval device; it is like why can I just have the Dinamap sitting here and just have it all interacted and that is what we are doing with this Tablet.


This is the machine that we use for our patient assessment, all the information we need are in here and then we just add in more information to it with the Dinamap for the blood pressure reading. So, here I am going to push this to get that information, this will give the blood pressure, this will give the pulse, and this will give the oxygen saturation and this information we get from the little device on his finger and the blood pressure we get from the blood pressure cuff on his right arm. Okay, so we do have his readings, 155/67, his heart rate is 53, and his pulsoxymeter is 97%.

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