Can hospitals ever be fully prepared for massive power outages?

Can hospitals ever be fully prepared for massive power outages

Damaging storms don’t discriminate. Even hospitals in the path of historic Hurricane Sandy across the eastern U.S. suffered widespread power loss. This unexpected occurrence highlights the importance of reliable power generation for hospitals.
In 2012, the televised images of newborns and critical care patients transferred from one hospital to another in New York City demonstrated how important hospitals are to society. And, it shows how critical it is to have UPS systems in place to facilitate transfer of patients in case of natural disasters.

This is why International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards and other regulations require hospitals to install UPS equipment in critical care departments such as emergency rooms, operating rooms, and intensive units and baby care units.
The thought behind this requirement is that UPS solutions can provide enough run-time to implement backup procedures for alternate power generation. Or if necessary, UPS equipment can give hospital administrators and healthcare professionals enough time to relocate critical services to another hospital.

Downtime turns into downturn in funds

There’s another aspect to hospitals. They need money to run. When they experience revenue loss, both the quality of the service they provide to their patients and their overall business value is affected. This was demonstrated during the August 2003 blackout. Not only were 45 million people in parts of Canada and eight US states impacted by power loss, but many healthcare facilities lost considerable sums of money and suffered from tarnished reputations. In fact, six hospitals went bankrupt one year later.
Most healthcare facilities have migrated to an almost completely paperless or electronic process. Two of the main benefits of adopting electronic processes in hospitals are operational efficiency and staff productivity. The lack of dependable and robust UPS solutions put hospitals and critical health facility departments at risk. But, reliable back-up power solutions for healthcare systems enable providers to protect people and assets, as well as provide clean power even under the most difficult of circumstances.
During any system downtime, manual processes take effect. This can create more work to an already stressed staff striving to maintain the same level of service. As a result, the risk of medication and diet errors are increased. That’s why when considering UPS offerings, hospitals must only look at highly reliable, proven UPS solutions designed to conform to Joint Commission certifications and government regulatory requirements.

Any healthcare provider can attain peace of mind when it comes to addressing power loss issues in clinical settings. But only technology providers with expertise in building and configuring single-phase and three-phase UPS solutions for healthcare applications can meet the highest standards of healthcare providers.

6 Responses
  1. abderrahmane

    I need more knowldge about hospitals, becausev there are lot of project of hospitals in futture in my country.


  2. Stacy Kimbell

    Nice article Markus. I don’t think many hospital executives understand the reliance they have on the ‘equipment downstairs’ and as a result don’t fund the maintenance and upkeep needed to ensure reliability. With EHRs, the uptime of those systems has moved from nice to have to critical to provide care. I hope we see a shift in the funding to help facility directors manage their physical environment assets.

  3. James Carrick

    I don’t think you can have 100% resilience planning to prevent an outage from the main grid as that is outwith the control of the hospital.
    Yes there can be UPS/IPS systems and emergency generators but all of these have a definitive timeframe before they run out of battery or fuel.
    One thing that struck me being in the UK is how close to the bone some of these hospitals must run financially if they can run out of money that quickly due to one incident – do they not have a separate budget set aside for such incidences?
    I am not sure of the exact situations that each hospital encountered but it should be a necessity for all electrical infrastructures and plant to be on upper floors to prevent damage due to flooding – I know that basements are ideal locations due to lack of facilities that can be housed without natural daylight and ventilation but where possible should be avoided.

  4. Bob Andersen

    Can you provide the source for six hospitals that went bankrupt after the 2003 blackout. I’d like to learn more.
    Bob A