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Assessing power backup needs in a hospital

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Palash Nandy, CEO, Numeric, outlines how not only efficient use of energy but also power reliability and continuous availability is crucial for efficient functioning of healthcare

The healthcare sector is flourishing across the world with India in particular reaping the benefits of an increasingly health-conscious population, highly qualified doctors and more. The country has also become one of the leading destinations for high-end diagnostic services with tremendous capital investment for advanced diagnostic facilities. This high growth also demands a highly-efficient power back-up infrastructure, one that can fuel the ambitions of the rising sector.

One solution does not fit all
Interestingly, this is one of the key sectors that need customised solutions due to its varied infrastructure which includes complex medical equipments, lifesaving machines, data center that is a store house of patient’s data etc. Therefore, a single UPS solution does not fit the bill.

In a typical medical facility, there are different aspects of the usage of power. On one side there is the infrastructure both on the power side and digital infrastructure. Then, there is the medical equipment. On the other hand, there are emergency services in terms of evacuation, etc., and then finally, there is a requirement of data storage in medical facilities. There are two main problems that exist everywhere – Issue of the quality of the power and the issue of the continuity of power.

Healthcare facilities need a complete power protection (power quality and continuity) solution that will maximise uptime, a large and efficient service team to support throughout its lifecycle and enhance overall efficiency, reduce power consumption and optimise availability which are our core strengths.

Challenges faced
The availability of continuous, quality power is crucial for the optimal performance of critical applications in the healthcare industry. Power continuity is critical especially when medical devices are in use.

From life-monitoring systems to diagnostic imaging units, everything in a hospital requires a constant stream of substantial electricity. Hospitals spend exorbitant amounts of money designing fail-safe systems, yet experience crisis when they face power disruptions. Imagine a power fluctuation in the middle of a CT scan; even milliseconds can have far-reaching implications. Or a natural disaster that interrupts the functioning of life-saving equipment. This can have a lasting and at times fatal impact not only on the patient but can also damage the reputation of the medicos and the hospital.

Another key challenge is the lack of knowledge on what capacity and type of UPS will best meet the needs of their hospital. Hospital owners or decision makers might not possess adequate knowledge or have access to information to refer to make an informed decision.

Understanding the needs
We at Numeric understand the varied needs of the healthcare industry; therefore, we have divided the healthcare installation into four different parts as there can’t be one solution for all those parts. Depending on the equipment’s need, we have got solutions which will be either Single Phase or Three Phase UPS.

There are needs of the infrastructure itself whether it is electrical or digital. Then there is also a specific product for data storage applications. Many of the healthcare institutes are setting up micro data centres within the institutes itself for which they need a specific Rack-Mounted UPS that goes into these micro data centres. Hence, we have specific solutions for four different applications within any healthcare facility.

Let’s take the data storage application in healthcare facilities. Today many big healthcare institutions have local data centres and with the advent of micro data centres (a typical rack with servers, UPS, PDUs all inside one), the need for having such local MDCs are on the rise. So, to address this need, healthcare institutions need a high-density UPS, a single rack where you can go up to 10KVA, but this must be in 2U format. This is a specific application for microdata centres within the hospitals.

On the other hand, equipments require both continuity of supply as well as the quality of supply and within the quality of supply, the voltage poses a major challenge. Numeric has Servo Stabilizer which is specifically for that application. This can withstand the variation of the voltage from the electric supply and then be able to pass on to the equipment voltage which is extremely stable which allows the equipment to do its job well.

In order to support the functioning of critical life-saving equipment, healthcare facilities need to be prepared to withstand temporary and extended outages. Even a seemingly short power outage of a few minutes can compromise the health of individual patients and cause heavy damage to sensitive medical equipment and IT systems.

In addition, hospitals run a range of medical equipment that cannot be operated without energy, and that require uninterrupted energy to function at an optimum level. These include medical refrigerators, sterilisers, lamps, cookers, suction machines for deliveries, incubators, microscopes, centrifuges, mixers, X-Ray viewers, etc.

On the infrastructure side, which includes managing the lights, and power, there the sensitivity level is not of high quality. You have specific products that have an emphasis on the power available than the sensitivity of the power. Standby power is required for all essential electrical systems (EESs), which include evacuation/emergency lighting, HVAC systems for patient care and operating rooms, critical process equipment (such as medical imaging devices) and fire suppression equipment to aid response teams in the event of an emergency.

Further, healthcare IT systems require back-up power systems to support full functionality in the case of an extended power outage. In some applications, it is very important that you have an in-built transformer inside the UPS because of the sensitive nature of the final equipment to which it will supply power. So, we have UPS with inbuilt transformers. Therefore, instead of having one solution across all the applications, divide and define the different needs of the different applications and have a solution specifically meant for that.

Also, as hospitals grow their bouquet of offerings, the power management system initially planned and set up may not suit the growing spectrum of services. The demands of new, technologically advanced equipment in addition to existing infrastructure, adds pressure to the existing power set up. With rapid advancement in technology and IoT-enabled systems, there is an opportunity for these hospitals to retrofit or upgrade their existing system to create more efficient and robust energy management.

For a healthcare facility, it is not only efficient use of energy that is important but power reliability and continuous availability that is crucial for their efficient functioning. As a quality healthcare provider, while you focus on offering quality service to your customers, it is also essential to pay attention to the periodic maintenance of your power backup systems. It will be wise to get into a tailor-made package suitable to your need to ensure maximum uptime.

Healthcare delivery in India is now on the brink of massive change across all stages-prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. From digital imaging to security systems to robotic surgery systems, advancements are rapid.

But to enable these technologies to function to their highest capacity, healthcare facilities not only need a rock-solid physical infrastructure to back up their assets, but an efficient power back-up partner who understands the challenges of the industry to offer unparalleled support both in terms of product offerings and efficient service.

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