Since Lithium-ion batteries were once introduced, they have been playing a vital role in our daily lives. From small to large devices, you can see them powering up various systems. Similarly, hospitals are also making use of Lithium-ion batteries and among medical manufacturers these batteries are becoming a popular choice.
An effective patient care is what health care providers strive for, and at the same time they have to ensure safety of the patients and the staff as well. A patient‘s vital signs have to be monitored for constant feedback so that the changes in stability can be noticed. When we consider the various areas in a hospital, we notice that technology is playing an important role for diagnosing diseases and facilitating treatment. There have been major developments in battery technology increasing the reliability for health care providers to take better care of their patients.
There are very strict requirements for hospitals to have reliable power supplies. Modern techniques are power-hungry and that is why it is crucial to have a reliable backup source of power which can be achieved through Li-ion batteries. Here are some ways in which Li-ion batteries are supporting the medical facilities.
If there is an outage of the primary power supply, the most critical loads in a hospital need to be operating with the least possible interruption. This is necessary to ensure that there is power for devices of patients who are in a critical condition. An example of such a device would be a ventilator.
Normally, hospitals use generators as a backup power source. Generators at home might be a good backup source of power but they create some issues when they are used in hospitals. The noise of the generators is unbearable for patients. Another issue is the exhaust of the generator. On a windy day, the diesel exhaust might blow onto the wrong side creating breathing problems for sensitive patients. On the other hand, the exhaust should not affect the nearby residents as well which happens for areas near urban hospitals. Generators are also not environmentally friendly and the alternative of using Li-ion batteries is often overlooked. System designers should make sure that the exhaust and noise of the generators do not affect the patients and they can consider Li-ion batteries as an alternative.
However, there is a limitation when designers plan to use lithium batteries as emergency power supplies. In this case, the need for a large DC-to-AC inverter arises which can handle all the loads. A better way is to use various, small battery banks each having their own inverter if the power requirements surpass the capacity of the inverter. If the inverter and battery bank can handle the emergency loads but still a generator is preferred then the Li-ion batteries could be used as an alternate power supply when the generator is not working or maybe it is not being operated due to maintenance or testing.
A major benefit of Li-ion batteries over lead-acid batteries is that the voltage does not drop to less than 87 % of full capacity so that they can power the emergency loads for some hours. During their lifespan, Li-ion batteries can retain their full voltage and maintain full charge while they are discharging. Without showing any losses in performance, Li-ion batteries can be cycled to a low state of charge. Moreover, they don’t degrade when they are partially charged. Battery banks are great to use as UPS between backup and primary supplies.
The most common equipment and machines in a hospital are battery-powered and many of them are portable. You might have seen the hospital’s staff frequently moving medication dispensing carts, mobile workstations with tablets or laptops and EKG monitors from one area of the facility to another.
Reducing equipment downtime is even more vital while handling critical situations concerning life and death. For each passing minute in charging a cart, a patient’s treatment is being delayed which could cause complications. Even if all the equipment is available, it can not be operated if it is being recharged when it could be used to save lives. The longer recharging times due to frequent discharging because of a low battery capacity negatively affects patient care.
The solution is simple and right in front of our eyes. Li-ion batteries are more reliable, have a longer lifespan, shorter charging time and higher capacity than conventional batteries.
The world has seen an increase in the number of mobile medical facilities due to the COVID-19 crisis. Open outdoor places have been widely used to set up field hospitals for mobile testing. For this purpose, Li-ion batteries are a perfect power source. Two main benefits of Li-ion batteries are the efficient relocation of mobile medical facilities and their rapid installation wherever they are needed to be set up. Lithium batteries provide more customizable options and increased portability than generators. At the same time, they are a better alternative for the environment because of the reduction in noise and air pollution.
Generators are a good backup power source but the problem of exhaust and noise is worth considering while using them in hospitals. A better option is to use Li-ion batteries as backup power sources as they are more environmentally friendly. Moreover, Li-ion batteries are more reliable and have more capacity than lead-acid batteries.