On September 15, 2010, the Motorola Solutions business of Motorola introduced the MC75A0-HC Enterprise Digital Assistant as part of its growing roster of mobile computing solutions for healthcare settings and applications. The purpose of the new device is to provide healthcare organizations with a handheld device that's rugged enough to hold up in daily use, easy to clean and disinfect, and designed to improve patient care and safety via streamlining and error-proofing processes, and support a variety of point-of-care applications.
The MC75A0-HC has excellent pedigree and qualities: It is a healthcare-optimized variant of the very successful MC75A that in June of 2010 replaced the original and very popular MC75. It is a compact handheld, measuring 6 x 3.3 x 1.7 inches and weighing under a pound. And the device combines standard PDA features with data capture and wireless communication into a single device designed to reliably handle operating conditions within clinical environments. The MC75A0-HC can also easily handle drops and spills. It is sealed to IP54 standards where the "5" means the device is protected against dust and the "4" that it is also protected against water sprayed from all directions. The MC75A0-HC can also withstand five foot drops and operate within a wide temperature range of 14 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit, which hopefully is more than it'll ever encounter in a medical setting.
Given its intended use, the MC75A0-HC's housing can withstand regular exposure to the industrial-strength cleaning agents employed to prevent the spread of germs and disease in clinical settings. And it fits in: the most visible difference to the standard MC75A is the clinical version's white and blue coloring that's meant to match hospital settings and other medical electronics and gear.
While ruggedness and ease of disinfection are certainly important in hospital settings, the primary selling point is the unit's image-based data capture technology that allows it to quickly and reliably capture and interpret virtually every 1D and 2D bar code (see below). This feature alone can greatly reduce errors and mistakes in applications where total accuracy can be the difference between life and death.
Motorola also made sure the new device complies with the security provisions mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) by offering what the company says is the most advanced set of security features available in this type of product. This includes Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 140-2 Level 1 certification, support for advanced encryption and authentication algorithms, and support for virtual private networks, all required for complying with government-standard applications.
While the Android OS gets all the press these days, Motorola stayed with Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.5 for the healthcare MC75. WinMo 6.5 offers a more modern look and feel than older versions and there is now more of an emphasis on touch. This means larger menus that you can scroll, and scrolling itself has that iPhone feel with acceleration and bounce when you hit the top or bottom of a list. Soft key menus are large enough for comfortable touch, and the Today screen has a vertical slider menu familiar from the Microsoft Zune media player.
On the technology side, there's a powerful 806MHz Marvell PXA320 processor, 256MB of RAM, 1GB of Flash, Bluetooth version 2.1 + EDR (Enhanced Data Rate), and 802.11a/b/g WiFi. No cell-based phone functionality here, but Motorola's Integrated Voice Solutions technology provides instant push-to- talk communications between devices. The available integrated camera has 3.2 megapixel resolution and a user-controllable flash. 2D imaging functionality is available from the Symbol SE4500-DL engine (see spec sheet) that has many enhanced features. For those who like to know what acronyms mean: the "DL" stands for "Driver's License"— the MC75A0-HC's scanner is optimized for small to medium bar codes like those found all over the place in clinical settings. And there's also an integrated accelerometer that makes automatic switching between portrait and landscape screen orientation possible.
The display is a 3.5-inch diagonal transflective TFT with a glass analog resistive touch
screen with full 480 x 640 VGA resolution. The battery provides 3.7 Volts/3,600mAh, with an extended 3.7 V/4,800mAh battery available, and thanks to the accelerometer, the device goes to sleep when movement isn't detected within a certain timeframe. . Expandability is via a user accessible microSDHC slot that can accommodate cards with up to 32GB. Onboard connectivity includes USB 1.1, RS-232, speaker, microphone, and a headset jack.
For operation, the MC75A0-HC offers a 44-key QWERTY layout, with a 26-key numeric or DSD keypad available as a special order option. Like other MC75-Series products, the MC75A0-HC can be ordered with a wealth of peripherals, including a variety of cables, chargers, as well as a snap-on magnetic stripe reader and a mobile payment module.
Finally, Motorola stresses the MC75A0-HC's compatibility with its Motorola Mobility Suite and Mobility Services Platform that provides both centralized control and the ability to remotely stage, provision, monitor and troubleshoot devices no matter where they are.
Overall, with the MC75A0-HC, Motorola beefs up its product offerings for the potentially very interesting healthcare market. Built on the field-proven MC75 platform, this new Enterprise Digital Assistant (we'd call it "Healthcare Digital Assistant") is certainly capable of helping to improve patient safety and worker efficiency in any healthcare setting.