Healthcare News & Insights

3 ways to update power delivery in healthcare facilities

As hospitals age, they must find safe and cost-effective ways of keeping up with the digital needs of providing care. In this guest post, Cliff Weinstein, CEO and president of a company that provides power and charging solutions, offers advice on three areas where facilities can make charging technology improvements.

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On average, hospitals are two decades old. This can quickly become problematic in an increasingly digital world. As the world becomes more digital, healthcare facilities must be able to maintain excellent levels of patient care with existing infrastructure. One reason this is so crucial is because digital devices are an essential part of caring for and monitoring patients.

To sustain these digital devices, safe and practical electrical power is required. Safety is an especially important component to powering devices in a hospital as the U.S. Fire Administration found over the course of three years, 22% of larger, serious fires were caused by electrical malfunction.

It’s clear healthcare facilities must make safe and cost-effective changes. There are three areas where improvements can be made in charging technology: electronic devices recording patient data, patient rooms and surgical tools. Take a deep dive at the specific changes that can be made in each area.

1. Devices recording patient data

Electronic medical records (EMRs) are quickly replacing paper charts, creating a need for electronic devices to operate the software from throughout a healthcare facility. Whether a tablet, laptop or other device, it’s crucial for these devices to remain charged in a safe manner as they’re carrying sensitive and private patient information. Imagine a healthcare professional not being able to access a patient’s file because of a dead tablet.

As devices age, the battery life gets shorter and less dependable. This means a device will likely need to be charged more frequently, mid-shift. Some facilities address this issue with charging carts or charging pads. These provide a convenient way to charge multiple devices, wirelessly in one designated space.

2. Patient rooms

Most visits to a healthcare facility revolve around the patient care room. Considering the time spent there, it’s beneficial to make the rooms comfortable and well-accommodated. One thing most patients today desire is a way to keep their devices charged. It’s a small, yet important accommodation as mobile devices are a way for a patient to remain connected with loved ones throughout a visit.

Charging both personal devices and medical equipment can be difficult in an older room as most of the outlets are rightfully taken by the medical equipment. But, to make the stay better for patients, there should be outlets or other power options available for them to use for their devices.

The future of power is shifting toward wireless power delivery as plugs are few and far between in older facilities. This is being addressed in multiple ways, one of which is charging pads built into furniture. This is a more cost-efficient way for hospitals to upgrade their power delivery, rather than gutting an entire facility and upgrading infrastructure with more outlets. Having the luxury of furniture with built-in charging technology could even become a competitive edge for patients considering where to go for elective procedures.

3. Surgical tools

Surgical tools are obviously important. Those tools that are powered electronically require a sufficient battery life and a nearby power source to ensure they can function properly. An operating room (OR) is full of wires to keep the equipment running. Thanks to technological advancements, many of these devices can be charged wirelessly. A wireless charging station in an OR can eliminate many of the cords and save outlet space for the most critical equipment.

Not only is safety on the line when it comes to power delivery in healthcare facilities, so is money. According to data from the NFPA, between 2011 and 2015, 36 percent of the $50.4 million worth of damage from fires in healthcare facilities were caused by electrical distribution issues. Thanks to advancements in the world of power delivery, there are no excuses to overload outlets, putting both a facility and patients at risk. Even though healthcare facilities are older, they don’t need to be completely renovated to upgrade the power accessibility. The future of healthcare facilities is going to be made possible by finding cost-effective, compliant and safe ways to power all the necessary devices.

Cliff Weinstein is the CEO and president of FLI Charge, a company that provides power and charging solutions.

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