Here’s how smart healthcare facilities adapt their operations to accommodate innovation.

Key Takeaways:

  • Innovative technology requires proven electrical strategies.
  • Specialized system designs and retrofits may be necessary for new equipment.
  • Regulatory compliance is key to safe and successful technology integration.

Keeping pace with technology is paramount in the medical field. Healthcare facilities must adapt to and integrate these advancements to stay on the forefront of quality care. This can be intimidating and challenging given emerging tech’s often specific and complicated electrical requirements.

Planned technological upgrades require reassessing electrical systems to ensure they can support additions. Here’s how recent developments in medical technology alter healthcare facility electrical design and installation, and how to effectively integrate them to enhance patient safety and operational efficiency.

Emergence of advanced medical technologies

Many of medical technology’s recent evolutions are virtual, but this doesn’t mean healthcare facilities can’t optimize real-world electrical systems. Artificial Intelligence (AI), cloud storage, virtual reality, and remote-medicine wearables are just some of the developments making medical care smarter, faster, and more effective. Most of these technologies exist primarily digitally, but none will be dependable – or maybe even accessible – if a site’s electrical systems and equipment aren’t optimized.

AI will be useless if computers malfunction. Wearable tech sending critical data will be useless if the facility can’t meet electrical demand. Onsite equipment may have a short lifespan if circuit breakers, transformers, and other components aren’t up to code.

Regardless of how impressive new technology may be, a solid electrical framework is still essential.

Electrical requirements for new medical equipment

There are two categories: the requirements of the equipment itself, and what’s required of its connected framework. All new medical equipment should be rigorously tested either to the manufacturer’s certification or Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) standards. This proves that the equipment meets regulatory standards before usage.

The challenges in retrofitting existing electrical systems to accommodate the electrical needs of new medical equipment also poses challenges. Such adjustments aren’t always required, but it’s advisable to review your current electrical framework’s ability to support new equipment’s additional power demands. You can read more in our earlier blog about how retrofits impact care spaces.

Designing electrical systems for future technologies

Successfully designing flexible, scalable electrical systems in healthcare facilities takes foresight and working with electrical contractors with healthcare-facility experience. No electrician can predict the future, but we can guarantee that tomorrow’s technology will need reliable power.

For example, an interruptible power supply (UPS) can be designed specifically for your site’s systemic needs. A UPS can kick in almost instantaneously provide reliable temporary power during grid outages, ensuring healthcare hardware stays operational until larger secondary power activates, and/or vital systems power down properly without sudden stops.

Building scalable electrical systems allows healthcare sites to incorporate new technology and absorb future functionality. It also manages increased electrical demand in the present. The more scalable systems are, the greater the flexibility and control a site has to adjust power consumption as required.

Scaling can be complex; factors like basic power demands, peak load times, available power sources, and their protection must be mapped out. Expert electricians are needed to ensure scalable systems can manage increased demand without decreased response time, within regulatory standards.

Safety and compliance in electrical installations

Healthcare sites and contractors are bound by multiple regulations from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the Joint Commission, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

For example, any specialized electrical systems that supports new medical equipment must comply with the Joint Commission’s EC.02.05.01. This covers electrical system management with a focus on proper electrical labeling, emergency shutdowns, and design and installation of utilities to prioritize patient care and safe operation.

There’s also OSHA 29 CFR 1910.304, which details how care facilities must install and manage circuit loads, overcurrent, and ground fault circuit interrupters with their associated protective measures. It’s a lot to consider, which is why experienced contractors are vital.

Energy efficiency and sustainability considerations

Healthcare facilities are full of electrical devices, and adopting new technology often means adding even more equipment. It’s easy to lose track of power consumption. A focus on energy efficiency and sustainable electrical practices can help facilities meet increasing power demands, while also helping the environment by consuming electricity more responsibly.

There are several ways to achieve this:

The first two recommendations help site managers control their facility’s thermal profile for greater environmental control, energy efficiency and occupant comfort. They also provide healthcare facilities with a complete picture of how they’re consuming (or wasting) electricity, and how much new equipment impacts power usage.

New additions to electrical systems sometimes require extensive support. Your budget and the potential impact on operations are prime concerns, so speak with a contractor who respects both.

Transition to new tech with UES

Innovation will continually improve healthcare and impact electrical design and installation, requiring care facilities to follow evolving regulations and best practices. It’s essential to work with experienced electricians familiar with healthcare facilities who understand proactive planning and uniformly adhere to safety standards.

Carefully serving the medical sector’s electrical needs has been a specialty for UES since 1999, so call 954-792-5444 for a free quote or use our contact form.