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Power Quality in Healthcare Facilities

A recently published comprehensive ASHE Health Facilities Management article “Ensuring facility power quality – Problems and solutions for today’s high-tech hospitals” addresses the causes and results of healthcare facility infrastructure issues related to power quality, along with recommendations for mitigating power quality problems.

The most common types of power quality problems are voltage deviations such as an undervoltage (a sag, dip or brownout), an overvoltage (a surge, spike, swell, transient or impulse), a power interruption (also called outage, power failure, or blackout), noise (electromagnetic interference or radio frequency interference) on the electrical wiring, and harmonic distortion as waveform variations within voltage and/or current waveforms.

Examples of these types of problems are examined with differences, similarities, causes, and the resulting impacts. Approaches for detecting and then mitigating different types of power quality problems are also discussed in detail.


Mitigating power quality problems

There are numerous valid approaches that can mitigate power quality problems.  Solutions that should be considered include those in the high-level list below (details can be found in the previously referenced article) and its related companion article discussing the Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC) Curve for Power Quality.

  • Transient voltage surge suppressors or surge protection devices
  • Harmonic survey
  • Harmonic filters
  • Condition of and connections to existing equipment
  • Accurate updated electrical power system one-line diagram
  • Changes in power distribution or movement of medical equipment
  • Temporary power connections
  • Compliance with medical equipment manufacturer recommendations
  • Correlations between problem equipment and power sources
  • Use power quality instrumentation
  • Uninterruptible power supplies when appropriate
  • Surge protection devices and/or transient voltage surge suppressors when appropriate
  • Lightning arrestors when appropriate
  • Harmonic mitigation methods such as those discussed in the referenced article
  • Using one or more types of available predictive monitoring equipment
  • Comparing existing situations with the Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC) Curve for Power Quality

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