Most hospital patient rooms vulnerable to power outages

Although everyone seems to agree on the importance of uninterrupted power in data centers and network closets, hospital rooms don't get the same attention.

Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of patient rooms are not supported by uninterruptible power supply systems (UPS), according to a survey of IT managers, facility managers, data center managers and engineers conducted by Emerson Network Power. Just 29 percent of operating rooms have emergency power receptacles that are serviced through a UPS system, which means that in most cases, the transmission of vital patient data is vulnerable to outages because no temporary power supply kicks in before the facility's emergency generators can assume the main load.

Despite the poor economy, survey respondents said their 2010 budgets rose by 6 percent on average. Half of those surveyed saw their budgets grow, while one-third had to confront budget cuts.

In other findings:

  • More than half of hospitals needed to upgrade their power and cooling infrastructure when implementing new technologies like Voice over Internet Protocol network communications and picture archiving and communication systems.
  • More than one-half of network closets are supported by small, individual UPS systems, rather than a large, facility-wide unit.
  • One-third of those surveyed experienced unplanned downtime with their IT systems and three in 10 said that their data centers did not deploy redundant power systems or they didn't know what type of distribution strategy was being used. According to the Emerson report, the finding suggests that despite the higher reliance on IT, awareness of infrastructure technologies and strategies is falling behind.

To learn more:
- read the Hospital IT and Facilities Special Report
- here's the press release from Emerson Network Power