Making hospitals more resilient – 6 ways IoT-enabled power and building management systems help

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When we think about critical facilities, hospitals are at the top of the list. That’s because healthcare services need to be available for us 24/7. Any event interrupting availability can impact entire communities, even putting lives at risk, and the pandemic has clearly illustrated this.

Reliable healthcare services are dependent upon resilient facility infrastructures.

resilient hospitals eGuide

Why is resilience important?

A recent study of 33 hospitals across 10 countries found that “unreliable power was the single most common cause of medical equipment failure.” And what if a power problem causes a complete outage?

Beyond impacting patient care, hospitals face massive monetary losses. For example, a single, 8-hour outage for a 200-bed hospital can cost $1 million. An electrical power supply isn’t the only risk factor that can affect the continuity of healthcare services—more on that below.

Six steps to resilient healthcare

This post underscores the role IoT-enabled power and building management systems play in achieving resilience and  six steps you can take to ensure your healthcare infrastructure resists, recovers from, and adapts to threats.

1. Ensure power availability

Electrical power problems, including poor power quality, can interrupt surgical procedures and patient care. Invisible conditions like harmonics and voltage fluctuations can cause malfunctions that threaten patient safety and shorten the life of sensitive medical equipment.

Unfortunately, many healthcare facilities may only spot such issues after the incident occurs, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Advancements in technology and digitization make it possible for health systems to take a proactive approach to power availability.

Innovations in power quality and energy management software, condition-based maintenance, and microgrid solutions enable health systems to prepare for and prevent power quality problems before equipment damage or downtime occurs.

These technologies work together to help facility teams proactively find, prioritize, isolate, and respond to problems before they occur, preventing dangerous downtime and costly equipment damage from occurring in the first place.

2. Elevate your cyber defenses

Globally, 75% of healthcare organizations have experienced cyberattacks, and, unfortunately, the trend is increasing. A single breach can cost millions and take the greater part of a year to recover from fully.

While digitalization enhances many aspects of healthcare, it also comes with an increased risk of cyberattacks. Patient data and operational equipment are too important to leave exposed to threats.

Operational technology must be cybersecure by design, and the network layer where devices communicate must also be protected. When implementing new, integrated power and building management technology, you should seek solution providers that offer end-to-end cybersecurity services, from consulting to design, implementation, maintenance, and training.

3. Take advantage of remote services

Hospitals are increasingly relying on remote operations to build facility resilience. Remote operations connect off-site, specialized experts to high-quality facility data to help predict, preempt, and prevent building management system failure.

With the support of off-site experts, onsite facility teams can prioritize condition-based over routine maintenance and adapt more quickly when facing an unprecedented circumstance such as a pandemic or natural disaster.

With a remote fix rate of 80% to 90%, remote services can identify and resolve most issues before the facility team even knows the issues exist. The result? Increased uptime, extended asset longevity, improved workforce safety and utilization, and most importantly, uninterruptable delivery of critical healthcare services.

4. Mitigate risk and comply with regulations

Compliance and risk mitigation work together symbiotically. Regulations intend to protect patients and staff by mitigating the risks of unsafe building design and other factors. So if you comply with all regulations, you also improve your resilience against risks.

The IoT-based power and building management solution you choose should help you comply with IEC, NEMA, or any other industry standard.

5. Establish a future-ready, flexible infrastructure

A healthcare organization must be built for function while responding to changing patient or population needs. So it’s crucial to ensure that any infrastructure solution can adapt to changing requirements over time.

The newest IoT-enabled power and energy management solutions are based on open, flexible digital platforms that can:

  • leverage data across different systems
  • accommodate new devices and new technologies as they become available
  • scale easily to support new or reconfigured operating rooms, ICUs, or other aspects of hospital services
  • support an efficient response to critical events

6. Increase asset protection

Condition-based maintenance is the best way to keep mission-critical electrical and building infrastructure assets running reliably. Powerful analytic tools turn ‘big data’ from your power and building systems into the actionable insights you need to make data-driven decisions.

You’ll always know the condition of your critical assets, so you can service them only when it’s needed. That will increase maintenance efficiency up to 40%. You’ll also know when there’s a problem, which will help you reduce the risk of electrical failures up to 75%. The bottom line is that you’ll get more out of what you have, lowering the cost of ownership while improving productivity.

How to achieve healthcare resiliency?

EcoStruxure for Healthcare is a future-ready, integrated, interoperable platform that drives better resilience. Its IoT-enabled, cybersecure, and standards-compliant infrastructure includes power and building management dashboards and analytics, a complete range of remote digital and advisory services, plus on-site field services. To learn more, download our eGuide ‘How IoT solutions deliver exceptional resilience for extraordinary healthcare’.

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