Technology is rapidly transforming the face of healthcare. It is playing an ever-increasingly important role in the clinical diagnosis, treatment and monitoring of many conditions. This means that, technology is not only helping to save lives, but it is also speeding up a return to normal life for millions of patients. As part of this general trend, imaging technologies such as ultrasound, MRI and X-Ray scanning, have moved radiology into a more central role in patient care. In the hands of today’s skilled professionals, radiologic technology is ensuring that medical resources are used efficiently, by more quickly identifying the need for additional tests, specialist referrals and even hospitalisation.
In addition to diagnostics, medical imaging modalities are also key where visualisation of parts of the body, tissue and organs can be used to guide interventions. And thanks to recent advancements in electronics, equipment is becoming even more accurate, compact and affordable. This means that the general public has better access to these facilities which provide more robust offering of diagnostic technologies resulting in quicker diagnosis.
As a result, sophisticated imaging equipment has become a mission critical tool for medical professionals, who need access 24x7x365. IT and facilities management must be ready to meet these requirements with strategies that ensure high levels of equipment availability. Uptime of these machines not only helps the healthcare facility fulfill its primary goal to provide the highest levels of patient care, but also to meet the economic requirement for infrastructure performance at the lowest cost throughout the lifecycle. Imaging devices simply must work effectively and reliably when called on if they are to help improve care and deliver savings.
It is easy to see how the loss of electrical power to an operating theatre, poses an obvious risk to human safety. With medical imaging equipment (unless it is being used during surgery), this connection might not be so apparent, and this is why power availability to these systems had been overlooked in the past. However, consider the impact on the patient’s experience who might have to follow-up a procedure for another scan to monitor progress and set next steps in treatment or even the longer-term harm of a delayed diagnosis or treatment. And as the digital transformation of healthcare continues, access to electronic patient records as well as the generation and storage of images can be problematic or impossible without power.
All of these technology advancements have left healthcare facilities more dependent than ever on electronic systems to improve the quality of their service and operate safely, and an emphasis is now routinely being placed on supporting these systems with proper power availability. Not surprisingly, demand for power has grown significantly in the health sector and the rules governing its use have also become more comprehensive. For example, IEC bulletin 60364-7-710, stipulates stringent regulations governing the integration of power back-up supplies within the electrical system designs for “medical locations… intended for purposes of diagnosis, treatment, monitoring and care of patient.”
So with demand for better quality healthcare rising and regulation simultaneously increasing, what should providers do to ensure a successful future? They should start by taking a closer look at how they can implement power management strategies to back-up imaging equipment and reduce the risk of downtime. They also need to assess the specific needs of their facility to find appropriate solutions.
As part of this plan, UPSs (Uninterruptable Power Supply) should be considered because they not only immediately provide a level of protection for the patient, but they are also designed to protect the medical equipment itself from costly damage caused by unexpected power disruption. This is one of the major reasons why equipment manufacturers themselves are working with UPS solutions designers to ensure systems which can deliver assured operation. If you would like to learn more about critical infrastructure for healthcare applications, standards and end-user needs, download this e-guide, “A Practical Guide to Ensuring Business Continuity and High Performance in Healthcare Facilities.”