Why Critical Power Supply Is Vital For Healthcare Facilities
Critical power supplies are a matter of life or death for the healthcare industry. Facilities rely on their IT and medical equipment for patient care, and equipment relies on the availability of electrical power. In an effort to reinforce their emergency power systems, hospitals and healthcare facilities are adding UPS systems alongside their emergency power systems to ensure continued operation.
The objectives of today’s healthcare providers are therefore twofold; provide the best and safest level of patient care, while ensuring reliable infrastructure performance at the best possible cost.
“When a 200-bed hospital experiences a power outage and its backup generator solution fails, the cost is $1 million – or $5 million for a 500-bed hospital1."
Consider a hospital’s operating theatres, intensive care units or emergency departments; these areas require constant power to treat critically ill people.
Hospitals must meet strict regulatory requirements related to keeping the power infrastructure compliant, which creates its own set of unique challenges including allocation of capital budget and the need for continuous training and testing, etc. (see Figure below)
Power reliability compliance challenges for healthcare facilities by category.
The modern day hospital handles huge amounts of patient data every day. From test results, registrations to billing and collaboration with insurance companies; hospital data relies heavily on the facility’s IT and data center solutions.
“30% of global data center space will be used for health-related data in the coming years.”
Managing a healthcare facility’s data stream is becoming increasingly significant. Inaccurate or incomplete medical records can mislead diagnosis, affecting the successful treatment of patients. In fact, every year, there are hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths and cases of misdiagnosis for this exact reason. This number can be reduced with improved and integrated IT solutions by facilitating more accurate and accessible medical records that can inform the correct medical decisions.
Modular, scalable data centers can help hospitals address their growing data needs while improving system reliability and optimizing energy efficiency.
Read about the benefits of data center modularity.
The Critical Role of Power Availability
As previously stated, the need for 24/7 power availability within a healthcare facility is apparent; patient care links directly to power dependency. Even a momentary power failure can have serious consequences for patients. As a basic necessity for all hospital processes, critical power comprises of two basic categories within healthcare:
- Critical Medical Processes
Critical medical processes include operating theatres, intensive care units and emergency rooms. These areas carry the highest risk in terms of a power outage as they rely on both commercial loads and industrial loads, which require continuous power.
- Critical nonmedical processes
Critical nonmedical processes include patient data management systems. The move from manual records to digital, has made it essential for staff to have instant, consistent access to the hospital’s IT system. This technology requires critical power for backups and archiving, as well as the data center supporting the records system, white space infrastructure, rack system, security & IT management software.
Critical Power & System Integration
Although critical power is a fundamental requirement to run a healthcare facility, energy efficiency is also integral. On average, 75% of a hospital’s energy usage stems from lighting, heating, cooling, ventilation and hot water heating.
Building energy management systems can boost energy efficiency for a facility through such measures as:
- Integrated variable speed drives
- Power metering & load management
- Environmental monitoring e.g. greenhouse gases
In addition to data handling, healthcare facilities have an increasing requirement for security solutions. Patient and staff protection are a growing concern in the current climate and systems including access control and advanced camera and alarm systems offer peace of mind to a facility and its occupants.
If healthcare facilities integrate their power distribution with building and security systems, the positive outcome is doubled. This means savings can be made which can in turn, improves financial performance, whilst patients are more accurately treated and robustly protected.
A stable, reactive and effective power system is a principal concern for healthcare facilities management. Power reliability and quality is vital to maintaining a hospital’s all important infrastructure.
Hospitals must be compliant with strict safety standards and power regulations involving electrical applications and data management.
As a precautionary measure, healthcare facilities should design or retrofit integrated power solutions to achieve superior patient care by protecting their power distribution, building management, IT, and security. In addition to improved safety, robust critical power supplies can also have advantageous financial repercussions, as well as long-term gains in productivity.