Circuit protection: putting the care back into healthcare

How technology is helping to ensure circuit protection in healthcare settings, By Gary Buckingham of Schneider Electric

Gary Buckingham, product and segment marketing manager for partner projects at Schneider Electric talks about the use and benefits of circuit protection technology in healthcare facilities

With healthcare facilities becoming increasingly dependent on the latest technology to support their everyday operations, the availability of clean and uninterrupted power has become more important than ever before

For the healthcare industry, ensuring a quality environment of patient care is paramount. After all, with patient care on the line, there’s simply no room for downtime.

As such, healthcare facilities and hospitals have more-stringent circuit protection requirements than other commercial applications.

New technologies such as digital imaging are helping to reduce errors, improve care, and decrease costs simultaneously. However, in order to enable these technologies, healthcare facilities need a rock-solid physical infrastructure to back up their assets in the event of cable overloads, short circuits and insulation faults. Even the most-minute electrical fault or failure can have disastrous consequences, including expensive and extensive operations downtime, damage to critical equipment in the event of a power outage, as well as the resource drain of locating and repairing malfunctioning equipment.

More reliability

With healthcare facilities becoming increasingly dependent on the latest technology to support their everyday operations, the availability of clean and uninterrupted power has become more important than ever before. Thankfully, there are tools and technologies out there that offer superior levels of support and reliability.

Understanding the condition and performance of a hospital’s systems and infrastructure is key to ensuring patient safety

An example is Schneider Electric’s Masterpact MTZ. This next-generation circuit breaker provides outstanding power uptime for low-voltage electrical distribution networks, even in the harshest environments. Having access to reliable and quality power means having a robust electrical system in place that is equipped to handle all of the small, everyday threats to your power system. Even power quality fluctuations that last only milliseconds can corrupt the data on a healthcare facility's network, or damage equipment.

More safety

Healthcare facilities require a constant flow of electricity to operate, and this increases their susceptibility to the hazards associated with electrical shocks. EU statistics reveal that an estimated 400-500 arc flash accidents occur in the UK each year, typically resulting in four or five deaths. Since downtime is not permitted, there is an increased risk to technicians that work on the equipment while it is still in an energised state. With the Masterpact MTZ, achieving safe and efficient day-to-day facilities management is made easier through connectivity to smartphones and operations and analytic software. Technicians don’t need to come into contact with the equipment as they now have visibility into all the necessary information through a secure Bluetooth connection on their smartphone. Similarly, in the event of a power outage, technicians can minimise downtime and restore power quickly and safely through their smartphone. In the event of circuit tripping, key data is saved, giving technicians access to an explanation of the root cause of the problem and step-by-step instructions on how to rectify the problem. Quick view, self-diagnosis of protection setting and modification, energy consumption, power quality, phase balance, and health status are all available in real time.

Future ready

Now is the time for healthcare providers to make the most of the tools available to optimise patient care and wellbeing

Understanding the condition and performance of a hospital’s systems and infrastructure is key to ensuring patient safety. The direct implications on the health and wellbeing of patients and operational considerations make technologies like the Masterpact MTZ a game changer when it comes to ensuring successful outcomes.

Connected, intelligent controls and equipment can now deliver greater insight into the performance of health facilities. Significant investment has been made in recent years into developing solutions and technologies that can increase reliability, boost operational productivity and improve patient safety. Now is the time for healthcare providers to make the most of the tools available to optimise patient care and wellbeing.