Have you ever typed up a project only to lose power in the middle of it and realize you didn't click "save"? Or been watching the newest episode of The Bachelor, right before he gives away the final rose, and your lights go out and you miss the shocking ending?
We have all had situations like these in our normal, everyday life, but how about at your imaging facility? The repercussions of this happening with your medical equipment can lead to much more severe consequences. The good news is, you can limit your risk of major damage just by adding a UPS. Keep reading to learn how a UPS works, and how it helps.
Power Loss and Surges
Power loss and power surges are good reasons to have back-up power, like a UPS, hooked up to your medical equipment. Say a power loss occurs in your facility, the UPS (uninterruptible power supply) seamlessly kicks in to keep the equipment from shutting down for a short period of time, so that you are able to save what you are working on and safely shut the system down.
If the machine is not properly shut down, there are a multitude of issues that it can cause. First and foremost is loss of patient data. This not only can be an inconvenience for the customer, but lost revenue for you. Imagine an elderly patient who takes a couple hours to get around on her own, sets up someone to drive her to your facility an hour from her home, and is then told that she has to set it all up again because her scan was lost in a power outage. On the other side of that, you would have to make time in your busy schedule to fit her back in too. This would be completely frustrating on both sides.
In addition to loss of patient data, another likely issue is that the power event causes damage to expensive electrical components on your system. Say you are in an area where hurricanes are prevalent, and severe winds and rain knock out your power. The last thing that you want to worry about is whether your piece of medical equipment will be protected from this. A UPS will allow you to worry less as it will help avoid costly damage to key components. Basic surge and power loss protection can be accomplished with what is called an offline, or standby, UPS.
Another excellent reason to get a UPS for your medical imaging systems is to ensure that they have a reliable source of "clean power" or, power that is free of sudden spikes or dips in its overall sine wave. This is a bigger concern in some areas than others, especially facilities that are distant from the plant that produces their power, places where brownouts are common, or in densely populated areas where the sheer amount of electrical equipment being used generates "noise" in the electrical current. Systems that receive "dirty power" can suffer from component degradation at an accelerated rate, total component burn out, or reduction in their image quality. Clean power (AKA power conditioning) capabilities are commonly found in online UPS units. An online UPS will cost more than a standby UPS, but in an area prone to inconsistent power, the protection is well worth it.
If you need your system to run longer than the UPS can operate for, I would suggest looking into back-up generator options to hook up to your UPS. That is a little more involved, and requires more capital, but for systems like an MRI, it could be a lifesaver. If you are looking for more information on protecting your MRI in stormy weather, check out our article on that.
There are many wonderful benefits that a UPS offers, but you are probably wondering, “What are the drawbacks?” Really, there are only a couple of drawbacks and they are quite minimal compared to the benefits. First would be that your UPS will need some periodic maintenance. If you have your UPS cleaned twice a year and replace the batteries according to the expiration date stamped on the current set, your UPS should not have any issues. The other is the cost. While a UPS is not going to break your budget, it is an added expense.
Whenever You're Ready
If you don't choose a UPS for your medical imaging equipment, we won't say that you're headed for certain disaster, but your equipment is more open to a source of potential downtime and electrical damage. Why skip the cost of protecting your equipment only to leave it vulnerable to even more costly damage and downtime? If you're interested in starting a purchasing conversation, our Parts Team is happy to talk with you about what you need. And, if you need a hand with installing it, our Service Team is standing by too. Contact us here or give us a call to find out more.