In hospitals and health centers, each machine has its mission or objective. In the case of hospital ground panels and electrical outlets, they help prevent and avoid contact voltages within critical medical areas. The possibility of electrical shocks caused by poor equipment grounding is one of the great risks faced by patients and healthcare personnel. For this reason, it is essential to have adequate health technology, especially with the devices that guarantee the perfect functioning of electromedicine.
According to the study Hospital technology profile and proposals for the renewal of health technologies, 50% of the technological equipment of the hospitals of the National Health System are more than 10 years old. That means that in Spain 1 out of every 2 technological-healthcare equipment is obsolete, with the consequent risks that this fact entails for both patients and healthcare professionals.
The study, prepared by the Spanish Federation of Health Technology Companies (FENIN), with the collaboration of companies in the Clinical Information Technology and Systems sector, speaks clearly of the need to have not only a human team in hospitals exceptional, but also with basic and advanced machinery.
Not surprisingly, hospitals and health centers usually have the most innovative medical equipment at their disposal, something that guarantees and helps them to be prepared to handle, at all times and under any circumstance, any type of health need. Therefore, good medical treatment in hospitals involves providing complete care, and for this you must have all the appropriate medical equipment.
In this context, and always without losing sight of hospital electrical safety, it is when hospital earth and electrical outlet panels come into play.
What are hospital ground panels and electrical outlets?
Modern medicine includes a complete range of increasingly sophisticated technical equipment, thinking about the monitoring, diagnosis and therapy of patients.
The electromedicine refers to these activities from devices such as electrocardiogram monitors, X-ray machines or defibrillators. However, beyond its remarkable benefits, the risks faced by both patients and healthcare personnel must also be taken into account.
The possibility of power outages or electric shocks caused by poor equipment grounding are some of the most common risks. In this sense, hospital earth panels and electrical outlets are essential to help prevent contact voltages within hospitals and, especially, in operating rooms, ICUs or, in general, critical hospital areas.
Electrical outlets and equipotential bonding bars are one of the elements that help hospitals keep all surgical units in a hospital operating. These elements are installed on recessed panels, with mixed configurations, according to the needs of the particular electrical installation.
It is an essential panel to create the same potential, allowing the ground cables to be as short as possible, in order to achieve an impedance <0.1OΩ, from any metallic part of the medical area to the ground busbar panel.
“Hospital earth panels and electrical outlets are essential to help prevent contact voltages within hospitals and, especially, in operating rooms, ICUs or, in general, critical hospital areas.
What are they for and how do hospital panels work?
The main objective of hospital ground panels and electrical outlets is to limit the voltage that metallic masses may present at a certain moment.
On the other hand, they also make it possible to ensure the performance of the protections and eliminate or reduce the risk posed by a breakdown in the material used.
To sum up, these configurable panels are mainly direct metal joints between certain elements of an installation and one or more electrodes buried in the ground in order to facilitate the passage of fault currents and guarantee the performance of the protection elements.
The panels are manufactured in stainless steel, with different configurations depending on the need of the critical medical area:
- Number of electrical outlets
- Type and model of electrical outlet
- Other components (communication connections, RX connections, remote alarm indicators …)
- Number of equipotential sockets
In addition, it is important to emphasize that any panel has the option of surface and recessed installation.
It is necessary to insist on the importance of hospital ground panels, electrical outlets and equipotential bonding bars for surgical units, ICUs and critical care areas. Within the operating rooms, it is essential and essential to maintain a continuous supply of electrical fluid. The reason? The many devices that cannot see their operation interrupted.
Isolated power systems, consisting of an isolation transformer for medical purposes, are often the solution. They work without breaking devices that could open the circuit after a ground leakage current. They are elements to which monitoring systems for possible ground faults are added, capable of giving advance warning of the first insulation failure. Thus, all the electromedical equipment in the surgical units must comply with the relevant technical standards.
On the other hand, in X-ray rooms it is vital that all the protective conductors of the devices lead to a single common grounding point, branching out in the shape of a tree so that no loops are formed.
This is because in X-ray rooms there are electrical equipment that is placed close to the heart of the patients, so in the formation of loops by connecting branches, leakage currents and interference in electronic circuits can occur. In short, all exposed parts of radiological equipment must be grounded to guarantee both its safety and operation under any type of circumstance.
Finally, in ICUs, when a patient is connected to a series of devices, either permanently (ICU for example) or temporarily (diagnostic rooms), it is essential that the ground connection of the various equipment is to a common point. Well, in this way it contributes to giving the patient safety. That is, all electrical machinery within the range of the patient will be connected to the same ground contact system.
Avoiding the unwanted effects of electric current has always been a goal of special priority in hospital facilities and, above all, in situations where the patient is defenseless and especially exposed.
A sedated or anesthetized patient cannot react to electrical contact. But, if the contact is also produced in an invasive way, its effects are more serious if possible since the electric shock will circulate more easily towards the heart, being able to produce cardiac defibrillation in the worst case.
And, according to experts, the second cause of fires in hospitals is electrical problems. On the other hand, electronic / biometric equipment has a high sensitivity, which means that they can fail if they do not have an electrical system construction according to hospital engineering standards.
“The main virtue of hospital earth and electrical outlet panels is their ability to prevent contact stresses within the critical medical area.
In operating rooms and intensive care units, mainly, the time and absolute reliability of the electrical systems is of vital importance. Not surprisingly, any benefit obtained thanks to modern medical knowledge and supporting electromedical equipment would be left to nothing, nullified, if the power supply is dropped or lost.
Hence the importance of hospital electrical safety and all the benefits it brings. The main virtue of hospital earth and electrical outlet panels is their ability to prevent contact stresses within the critical medical area.
These are elements that act to prevent and protect. The purpose of the ground connection is to protect those metal parts that can be accessible to both the patient and the healthcare personnel. In sum, these hospital earth panels and electrical outlets fail to become dangerously high potential current conductors in the event of a breakdown of any device for hospital use.