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Answers to Your Top Questions When Choosing Healthcare Power Products

by Teddi Strassburger on November 10, 2022

AdobeStock_333473917-1Selecting products for a Healthcare facility requires attention to specific requirements and procedures, regardless of the type of product you're considering. It's no different with power products. They need to comply with the strict safety regulations of a Healthcare environment while continuing to provide the high level of performance that you expect. If you're considering power strips, surge protectors, isolation transformers, or uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) for your facility, Tripp Lite by Eaton and Accu-Tech have the answers to some common questions you may be thinking. 

1. What is the difference between the patient-care room and the patient-care vicinity? 

This answer comes down to the code. Patient-care rooms and patient-care vicinities are defined differently - let's take a look: 

A patient-care room is defined in section 3.3.138 NFPA 99-2012 as "any space within a healthcare facility wherein patients are intended to be examined or treated." The patient-care room includes both general- and critical-care areas: 

  • General-care areas = patient bedrooms, clinics, and similar areas where patients come in contact with "ordinary devices" like nurse call systems, electrical beds, examining lamps, and telephones or entertainment devices. 
  • Critical-care areas = special-care units, like intensive-care units, delivery rooms, operating rooms, coronary-care units, angiography labs, and other areas where patients will be given invasive procedures. 

Okay, so now let's look at what a patient-care vicinity is. This space is defined in section 3.3.139 NFPA 99-2012 as "a space, within a location intended for the examination or treatment of patients (i.e., patient-care space) extending 6 ft. beyond the normal location of the bed, chair, table, treadmill or other device that supports the patient during examination and treatment and extends vertically to 7.5 ft. above the floor.” The patient-care vicinity has stricter regulatory requirements than the patient-care room.

2. Can I plug non-medical equipment into a UL 60601-1 compliant power strip or surge protector within the patient-care vicinity? 

No. Only medical and diagnostic equipment can be plugged into a UL 60601-1 compliant power strip or surge protector within the patient-care vicinity. All non-medical equipment and personal devices must be plugged directly into the wall within the patient-care vicinity.

3. My facility’s Electronic Medical Records (EMR) hardware and other non-medical devices are NOT plugged into a UL 60601-1 compliant hospital-grade isolation transformer or UPS. Why is this NOT SAFE?

Here, our primary concern is leakage current. Leakage current, measured in microamps, is potentially-dangerous current that can be channeled inadvertently to the patient or staff members, resulting in injury or death. The level of leakage current a device can give off is required to be recorded, and it must total below a specified range (depending on the exact location within the facility) to be safe for use within the patient-care vicinity. Tripp Lite by Eaton's UL 60601-1 compliant Medical Grade UPS Systems and Isolation Transformers will lower the cumulative leakage current to less than 100 microamps, making the product and its connected equipment safe and compliant.

4. Can UL 1363A-compliant power strips be used within the patient-care vicinity?

Yes (when installed and used properly), UL 1363A defines a Specialty Purpose Relocatable Power Tap (SPRPT), designed for mobile applications both inside and outside of the patient-care vicinity. UL 1363A compliant power strips are ideal for Workstations on Wheels and Computers on Wheels (WOW and COW), infusion therapy, anesthesia machines and other mobile treatment devices.

5. What is the correct application for UL 1363, UL 1363A & UL 60601-1 power strips?

Power strips providing power to patient-care-related electrical equipment must be Specialty Purpose Relocatable Power Taps (SPRPT) listed as UL 1363A or UL 60601-1. And for power strips providing power to non-patient-care-related electrical equipment... those must be Relocatable Power Taps (RPT) listed as UL 1363.

Accu-Tech and Tripp Lite by Eaton can provide you with the solutions you need for power equipment in your Healthcare facility. Reach out to your local Accu-Tech representative here or visit Tripp Lite's page on our website.

Topics: Tripp Lite healthcare power solutions

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