The mobile clinical assistant (MCA) tablet PC launched yesterday by Intel and Motion Computing has been trialled by nurses in the UK.

The National Health Service (NHS) was one just one of many health organisations to trial the new tablet PC device in and around hospital departments before its launch.

Nurses at the Salford Royal hospital in Manchester used the MCA for wireless bedside access, removing onerous paper-based, error-prone procedures when reviewing and updating patient information. But the device also features a barcode scanner, wireless stethoscope, Bluetooth and a two megapixel digital camera, all designed to offer the latest in tracking and auditing facilities to boost patient safety.

Security is controlled using an ID card and PIN access code. The MCA itself also holds minimal data, as information is regularly uploaded to central servers.

The MCA also contains a 30 to 60GB hard drive, 1.5GB RAM and has a three-hour battery life, but docking stations are also available for charging the PCs on the fly. And it will cost £1,199 when it becomes available in a couple of months’ time.

Mike Bainbridge, senior clinical architect for the NHS £6-billion IT modernisation project, Connecting for Health said the tool would make a significant difference to how medicine is practiced in the next two to five year at the launch event.