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71% of healthcare providers don’t have energy backup or standby capability

How new energy strategies can protect critical health services and patient care

When you consider the impact of a power outage, few industries rely on the continuity of their energy supply quite as critically as healthcare. The devastating effects of Hurricane Irma are a painful reminder, the prolonged outage of an air conditioning system at a nursing home caused the loss of power which led to the death of twelve residents.

In research by Centrica Business Solutions, 46% of healthcare respondents stated that their organization had suffered an interruption of energy supply due to external factors in the last 12 months1.

And loss of power is not the only threat. Even when the energy supply is operational, if the quality of that supply is variable, which often depends on your proximity to the grid, it can cause damage to sensitive – and expensive – equipment.

So, it’s alarming that, according to our research, as few as 29% of healthcare providers have comprehensive continuity plans in place and backup generation or standby power at all or most of their sites1. Alarming, but perhaps not surprising, given the lack of available budget and conflicting priorities that so often restrict spending.

But we believe that new developments in energy technology now make it easier and more affordable than ever for healthcare providers to ensure you have the robust energy strategy you need.

Understanding your vulnerabilities

In the research by Centrica Business Solutions, 77% of healthcare respondents agreed that the cost of being energy resilient is far less than the impact of an energy failure, yet 30% stated that “ensuring uninterrupted operation of critical healthcare/care facilities” is one of the biggest challenges facing their organization in the next 12 months1. So how can you overcome these challenges?

You need to begin by understanding your vulnerabilities. We’ve already highlighted the dangers of being exposed to power outages and variable supply quality. You also need to factor in outdated energy systems – they’re not just increasingly prone to failure, but also pose the risk of compliance breaches – and the risks arising from lack of routine maintenance (caused by restricted budgets, staff shortages and skills gaps).

New energy solutions that improve resilience

New energy technologies and approaches to managing energy now enable you to take ownership of your energy supply, balancing the grid supply with on-site generation to significantly improve your operational resilience.

On-site energy production options include combined heat and power (CHP) systems, backup generators and renewables such as solar. While today’s high-powered battery storage systems provide sufficient energy to power buildings for an extended period in the event of a supply failure.

Patient care must remain paramount. But, given the estimated $36 a minute cost of running an operating room2 and the loss of revenue from downtime (such as cancelled procedures), can you afford not to investigate new energy solutions?

Our Perspectives Series article enables you to see how new energy solutions can protect critical health services. We outline your options and set out the energy strategies we believe you should prioritize to safeguard your supply and your patients.

Learn more about our approach for healthcare providers.

1Energy Advantage Research, Centrica Business Solutions. Statistics based on a six country survey of more than 1,000 energy decision-makers in large organizations, 2“Understanding Costs of Care in the Operating Room” April 2018, Christopher P. Childers MD; Melinda Maggard-Gibbons, MD, MSHS