Preventing Power Surge Problems Is Key to Medical Device Operations

by Rabia Paracha, Staff Reporter | August 05, 2009

Indeed, power load cycling generates over 80% of all damaging transients, internally. Less than 20% are generated externally by lightning or utility grid switching. Traditional surge protection simply does not provide enough of a safeguard. It takes sophisticated enhanced filtering to protect the life and performance of today's electronics.

A quality surge protector mounted at the main electrical service entrance will lower the energy of a large, externally generated surge. However, without enhanced transient filtering, a surge protector will do very little to address the hundreds of surges generated internally daily. These events happen in every hospital, business and home every day, leading to increased operating expenses.

Field Case Study Experiences

Doctors' office administrators and facility managers for hospitals, laboratories and clinics are under constant pressure to reduce operating costs especially in the face of recent reimbursement cuts. Therefore, getting the full life out of any equipment is a necessity. A comprehensive layered protection system covering all microprocessor-based equipment is a welcome help.

DOTmed followed some hospitals pursuing this goal. To properly guard electrical and electronic equipment, the hospitals implemented a staged approach for surge protection in their facilities by utilizing the services of Total Protection Solutions throughout critical areas of the hospital. The problems for each hospital ranged from damaged elevator control boards and occasional fuzziness on diagnostic images to lock-ups and garbled data generated by lab equipment.

Following are notes from two institutions:

MeritCare Health Systems, Fargo North Dakota:
"CT virtually eliminated service calls due to downtime. Issues of parts usage, maintenance, and downtime have all greatly improved and that has also had a positive effect on patient relations," said James Durben, Director of Facilities Services. "For the X-ray equipment and Cardiac Cath Lab, results again have been excellent, no problems since installation. Besides direct costs of the damage, in the past we lost one week of revenue due to downtime, which also resulted in upset patients, doctors and management."

DMS Health Technologies (formerly DMS Imaging):
A national mobile diagnostic imaging provider of MRI, PET/CT, CT, Nuclear Medicine, Ultrasound, Cardiac/Angio, Bone Densitometry and Digital Mammography services, DMS Health Technologies experienced positive results by protecting their mobile fleet investment. DMS installed multiple mobile MRI systems with Total Protection Solutions to provide enhanced clean power to their coaches.