Many Hospital carts are light weight and carry applications that do not have heavy power requirements. Putting a massive block battery on each of these often defeats the object of having a versatile, light weight and low cost cart.
Laptops, Most Users do not appreciate that Laptop batteries are not designed for heavy repeat cycles, so decline rapidly, requiring plugging in, which defeats the object of a cart = mobility. Ask most Laptop owners; how often they run a full cycle (down to empty) without plugging in - per year and the answer is usually “never to 2-3 times”. Everyone plugs in whenever possible. Yet most users will confirm that these same Laptop batteries have noticeably less runtime within 2 years despite the low cycle count. Full cycles kill consumer batteries. Yet Hospitals expect the very same Laptop batteries to magically deliver one or two full cycles per day - for years on end! Naturally they are disappointed, it does not work; Nurses are forced to continually plug in and Mobility – the very thing being purchased – is reduced to trips between electrical sockets. If not regularly plugged in - a Laptop battery will typically need replacement every 6-9 months. A new Laptop battery itself is not in fact the main cost. Each replacement logically involves:
- Repeated Laptop failures on the ward, Nurses push away the cart and find another
- Maintenance is called to check. The cart is taken away , and the battery tested
- Administration; sources, orders and pays for a new battery
- Logistics receives it and brings to maintenance
- The cart and laptop is finally usable again
- The old battery must be disposed of.
What are the costs of these steps? Probably more than double the cost of the Laptop battery – and that every year!
During an average cart life of 7 years this extra cost occurs between 5-10 times – the cheap Cart deal is in fact the most expensive option the Hospital could have chosen, whilst the carts frequently operate at a sub-optimal levels. What however usually happens is that Nurse just learns to plug in. Often in the corridor. Since this is a public space, they must log out of the software for data security. The true benefits of real-time Digitalisation are lost. Making a quick note is now a time wasting procedure of locating the cart, logging in at a later point and logging out again!
It is Real-time Digitalisation at the Point of Care that will increase Productivity and by reducing mistakes improve Patient outcomes. That is why leading Hospitals invest millions. Using batteries that are not fit to purpose compromises this and the real cost is disproportionally high to the Hospital.
A recent trend in laptop design is to have a Non- Replaceable internal battery to make the thinner lighter Laptops that consumers crave. The consequence is that these 30-60Wh batteries will still decline rapidly, but replacement is now much more costly. Constant plugging is the result.
Monitors, All-in-Ones and Thin Clients.
The All-in-One with Battery is a common cart solution. Leaving safety to one side, let’s focus on the Reliability, Life and Mobility of these battery systems. As with laptops, Hospitals everywhere seem to complain about the performance. The Battery warranties on Capacity are a clear warning; they are either:
- no warranty at all outside Mechanical failure,
- no fuss warranties (this means no warranty if the monitor powers up -however shortly)
- or one year to 60% capacity- which means a yearly replacement.
Happily nearly all these monitors have a DC-input at 14, 19 or 24 volt! That means by adding the Quick Connect to the cart and leaving the batteries in place, Hospitals can enjoy the 5-6 year life of a Circadian battery, with Hot Swap functionality using the original on-board batteries. The Quick Connect becomes an alternative socket- mobility and reliability are reinstated and the yearly budget raid stops. An additional benefit is that power via the power supply input runs the AIO at full power. Many of these monitors slow the clock rate dramatically when using the inbuilt monitor batteries to reduce the load and improve life. The result is then a significantly slower processor than ordered.
Monitors or All-in-Ones without internal batteries can also be powered by the Quick Connect and simply plugged in to Hot Swap. A monitor with a 20W active load and a 1W standby load would probably require 100-120W during a shift. A Circadian 160W battery covers this with a battery change at the end of each shift. Monitors and All-In-Ones with just an AC input, i.e. requiring a socket are strangely still often recommended for mobile carts. These can use the Quick Connect ideally with a small inverter. All models can thus be made mobile!
PADs. Using the 5V USB output the same principle applies to PADs. A modern iPAD has a 33Wh internal battery, so a simple Circadian 80 battery will more than triple runtime and will allow hot-swapping. The PAD no longer needs to be dismantled for charging. It can stay securely locked onto the cart and run 24-7.
Medical Vital Signs monitors. Quick Connect can be either clamped to the pole or clipped on to a DIN rail and simply back up applications from BP monitors to IV pumps. As above, even models without DC input or internal batteries can still be made mobile and powered. The Circadian systems Medical Certification as a class 1 device (IEC 60601-1-2) is especially relevant here. Most medical devices with patient contact are class 2 or 3, and such devices must have covered any relevant Patient safety issues of power, power loss, low power warnings etc. in their risk assessments, so using a class 1 device as an accessory is compliant. The fact that the Quick Connect is a SELV (Safe extra low Voltage) system and only uses 2x MOPP (Operator and Patient safe) medically rated power supplies rules out safety issues associated with electrical mains connection.