Continuing our series of critical power needs beyond the data center, which we typically think of when discussing uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems, this month we are going to focus on the healthcare industry.

Backup power is critical in all healthcare applications.

Most medical devices and systems run on electricity. If the power goes out, emergency backup power systems are relied on to continue to keep operations going. This is true in hospitals, healthcare facilities, and even in-home care networks.

Power outages can & do happen

A perfect example can be found back in 2003. The northeastern part of the United States experienced a blackout that extended across eight states. The healthcare industry was in no way immune to this power outage.

Hospitals and healthcare facilities experienced several blackout related problems, including:

    • Loss of HVAC systems
    • Loss of water pressure
    • Loss of lighting for necessary surgical procedures
    • Inability to sterilize instruments
    • Loss of respiratory devices and other critical equipment being utilized by patients
    • Inability to register patients and access electronic patient data
    • Loss of patient signaling system to ask for assistance from medical staff
    • Loss of elevator operation for transporting patients and supplies between floors
    • Inability to access medication, vaccines, and other medical supplies that required keyless entry

There were also several reports of respiratory issues for patients using in-home medical devices. Without power, patients are unable to receive the medical care that they need.

Are you prepared?

We are not immune to another blackout such as the one that occurred in 2003. And, if another blackout should occur, the healthcare industry is not immune to the damage that it could cause. That is why hospitals and other healthcare facilities operate emergency backup power systems. 

Maintenance of these UPS systems is critical for ensuring that backup power kicks in when utility power goes down. It is imperative that the healthcare industry routinely test and monitor the health of the batteries in their backup power supply. It is also recommended that safety drills are completed so that everyone knows what to do in the event of an outage.

Ensure patient and healthcare staff safety and security by making sure your emergency power supply is ready at a moment’s notice.