Hospitals around the U.S. are facing the challenge of adding capacity faster than ever before. What once may have taken months or years of planning is now happening in weeks, even days.
And yet, there are healthcare solutions to make this work. Recent advances in pre-fabricated, pre-engineered, and otherwise “plug-and-play” equipment make rapid deployment possible for temporary medical spaces.
In this blog, I walk through various options Schneider Electric and our partners offer for building out new medical spaces and reconfiguring existing spaces into ICUs and clinical rooms.
All-in-one temporary medical spaces
Our options for temporary medical spaces range in sophistication from tents to pre-fabricated ICUs. We also supply the necessary equipment to support these spaces, including HVAC control, IT networking, and power distribution.
The most basic option is the tent clinic. Schneider, with our partners, offers two types of tents: drive-thru and multi-purpose. The drive-thru tents can host mobile testing clinics, while the multi-purpose tents can serve as patient check-in rooms, clinical spaces, and overflow areas.
The more sophisticated options are the shipping container and pre-fabricated (stick-built) spaces designed to house clinical treatment rooms and ICUs. These spaces can support differing levels of pressurisation control and can be added in modular, scalable increments. We can recommend partners with broad capabilities for these solutions.
What keeps these temporary medical spaces powered, online, and climate-controlled? Our standalone HVAC controls, IT, and power distribution solutions. This pre-engineered equipment can deploy near the medical spaces, but far enough away to allow easy installation and service. From microgrids and “data centers in a box” to pre-programmed HVAC controls, we offer the full array of components for supporting temporary medical spaces.
It’s important to note that each of these all-in-one solutions can deploy quickly, based on custom needs.
Specific solutions for HVAC, IT infrastructure, power distribution, and services
In addition to all-in-one options, we also provide specific components. These components can help you build new standalone solutions, add on to an existing system, or deploy individually on an as-needed basis.
We supply a complete suite of environmental controls and software for maintaining temperature, humidity, air exchanges, pressurisation, and alarms. Together with our network of partners, we can support our next generation of building management systems (BMSs), along with many legacy systems.
What we can do:
- Monitor environmental conditions, occupancy, and safety systems via interoperable building operations software
- Maintain positive or negative pressure via controls, pressure sensors, and airflow measuring devices
- Modify your BMS with our service engineers, who can:
- Write the code and controllers that change room settings
- Custom-design your hospital’s mechanical system
- Modify each room’s sequence of operations for temperature and pressure controls
Electrical distribution and secure power
We also provide a full suite of solutions for facility-wide power distribution and monitoring. Our power systems help keep lights on, reduce unplanned outages, and optimise power quality for critical medical equipment.
What we can do:
- Deliver surge protection, line conditioning, and back-up power to PCs, essential medical equipment, and temporary medical spaces
- Connect new circuits to existing electrical distribution for easy, rapid installations
- Increase power resilience with microgrid solutions and automatic transfer sequences that connect and control distributed energy resources
We deliver the necessary components for IT deployments, including reliable power, efficient cooling, physical security, and cloud-based digital services. From individual units to standalone solutions such as pre-fabricated and micro data centers, we can support your unique network infrastructure for medical software applications in screening, triage, lab, and ICU areas.
What we can do:
- Rapidly scale IT networks and compute in temporary spaces through pre-integrated micro data center solutions
- Predict downtime and manage cybersecurity threats via monitoring software
- Deliver precision cooling and clean power via surge suppression and line conditioning
We also offer services to install and maintain all of the equipment discussed in this article. Our 24/7 nationwide team of ~300 field service engineers can support a wide range of systems. During pandemic situations, we can monitor both critical and non-critical areas, allowing hospital managers to focus attention where it’s needed most.
What we can do:
- Provide a single point of contact for key infrastructure across healthcare facilities, including building automation systems, electrical network health, IT, and equipment condition analysis
- Test, exercise, and validate a wide range of equipment to minimise arc flashes, hotspots, and other hazards
- Work on-site in facilities with staffing shortages
Our comprehensive capabilities for healthcare
Adding new capacity to your healthcare facility in a matter of days or weeks is no small feat. Our goal is to help you add capacity — either through all-in-one or specific solutions — as seamlessly, quickly, and reliably as possible. This brochure offers a more detailed overview of the capabilities discussed in this article.
To explore any of the solutions discussed in this article in more detail, get in touch with your local sales representative.
Article by Warren Rosebraugh, Director of Solution Architects, Schneider Electric Building, North America
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