In this blog, we explore what the certifications carried by many of Distec’s medical grade PCs actually mean.

Equipment suitable for use in the medical environment is often highly specialised and purpose-manufactured for medical use. The stakes are high; product malfunctions in the healthcare industry can put lives at risk, and therefore, medical equipment requires enhanced regulations and certifications to ensure patient safety and top performance.

First of all, electronic safety and product reliability are key. Another important area is product hygiene. Products should offer specifications that reduce the risk of spreading infection, and should also be able to withstand the harsh chemicals required for enhanced cleaning and sanitising. The importance of hardware hygiene has never been more important than during the current Covid-19 outbreak. We explored this topic more in our recent blog on hardware hygiene during the coronavirus pandemic.

A number of Distec products that are designed for use in medical environments carry certifications specific to the medical industry. Let’s take a look at what these certifications are, and what they mean for your products.

Antimicrobial Housing

In 2018/19, there were over 4,600 cases of Hospital Acquired Infections (HAI) reported by the Nuffield Trust. While the numbers are steadily decreasing, it is vital to maintain an extremely high standard of hygiene in hospital settings. To reduce the spread of disease and infection, medical-grade PCs are made with antimicrobial housing, which contains a special agent that kills 99% of microorganisms. Unlike coating, which can degrade over time, antimicrobial housing has the agent built into the hardware during manufacturing, which means it is long-lasting and more resistant to the bacteria.

IEC 60601

IEC 60601 is a series of technical standards, published by the International Electrotechnical Commission, that ensure the safety of medical electrical equipment.

The ‘Part 1’ standard, EN 60601-1, covers basic safety and essential performance for all medical electrical equipment and the ‘Part 2’ or ‘Particular’ standards cover requirements for specific product groups (e.g. EN 60601-2-22 for Medical Lasers).

IEC 60601-01 certification is essential, since it serves to ensure that no single electrical, mechanical or functional failure shall pose an unacceptable risk to patients and/or operators.  Public health authorities in many countries recognise IEC 60601-1 as a pre-requisite for the commercialisation of electrical medical equipment.

IP Rating

IP rating, also known as Ingress Protection or International Protection rating, is the standard used to define the levels of sealing effectiveness of electrical enclosures against intrusion from foreign bodies such as dirt, dust and liquids.

The IP ratings specify the extent to which an electrical component can be exposed to environmental influences without being damaged or constituting a safety hazard.

IP ratings play an important role in the medical industry, since specialised and expensive equipment often has to be used for many years in challenging environmental conditions. Dirt, germs, bacteria, dust, and moisture can only rarely be kept out completely, especially in settings such as the operating theatre. Most medical-grade PCs are IP65 rated and have a waterproof IP65 front bezel. This protective glass is installed flush with the front panel to protect it from water and dust intrusion.

In the medical environment, an appropriate IP rating guarantees appropriate protection for both the equipment and the patient.

How Distec can help

Distec offers a range of products for the medical industry that are IEC 60601 and IP certified.

Products from Elo Touch Solutions, who provide a variety of healthcare applications ranging from nurse stations to patient check-in and pharmacy check out, ensure that the strictest hygiene standards can be met within the healthcare environment. Elo 03-series medical grade touch monitors include an enhanced power supply that is IEC60601 compliant. Additionally, the touch monitor is IP54 certified and sealed against dirt, dust and liquids.

We also offer medical computers from our partners Wincomm and Advantech.

If you have any questions or would like to know more about our range of certified medical solutions contact us here.

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