Return on Investment – What extra value – added benefit does DCpower4C offer the Hospital against a typical LIFE block battery?
Consider the big picture! An IT investment in Carts and Batteries is a small part of a large overall investment to achieve Digitalisation. Estimates on the return on this investment are as high as Euro 50 Million over 5 years for a medium to large hospital, not to mention the anticipated improvement in Patient outcomes. Price- Cooper-Waterhouse estimated that the UK NHS would save GBP 4.4 Billion by going paperless and UK hospital studies documented a 15% fall in death rates associated with implementation of digitalisation. In this scenario, battery life price (TCO) is a factor, but full system functionality and Nurse Compliance are essential to achieve a full Return on Investment.
- Battery or Power failure in a mobile IT scenario – either total or more significantly for part of the time – is completely unacceptable. There is simply too much at stake. Documentation of Patient data, clinical History, Diagnostics, Therapy measures, Therapy outcomes/ control etc. cannot be offline. Nurse compliance is essential and will not be forthcoming if the system is only working sporadically. A US report describes the typical problem with Carts: Nurses often struggle to find one that has been properly charged for the morning shift!
- It is our conjecture that most current Power systems supporting Computer Carts are not properly designed for this application and technically cannot fulfill power requirements for a sustained period and furthermore do not allow IT infrastructure to evolve.
- DCPower4C believes that only a Hot Swap system aiming at 24-7 power capability can provide a solution. The Hospital Cart usage with a daily full battery discharge is incredibly challenging for modern battery chemistries. No other mainstream applications sets such a high strain on the power system, this includes Electro-Car batteries, E-bikes, Laptops and Camera batteries. Many Cart Manufacturers outsource the battery supply, and do not appreciate the complexity, opting opt for a cheaper solution, afraid of justifying the price associated with proper value. The result is that Power issues have become the number one IT Cart issue. An FDA report confirms this, over 50% of US Hospital support calls are battery related!
- Therefore we can confidently state that this application is both Mission Critical and that it is technically challenging. If the customer understands and accepts this – there is no logic or value in them putting up with a low spec, cheap battery solution that is simply not designed to meet the challenge.
- Thus the battery cell pack and charge system must be High Quality – designed for Critical applications – long life – with tight manufacturing tolerances. These solutions are unlikely to be the cheapest. But since resolution of the power issue makes the enormous Cost savings and Patient Outcome improvements associated with going Digital possible, a smart investment on power system quality secures massive returns on the overall IT investment and significantly reduces the Maintenance costs.
Take a typical Hospital scenario with a huge 500Wh battery and a pro-rated warranty to 60% over 5 years. Sounds good? Well consider this:
- A typical cart infrastructure pulls 40W per hour if used. That is 960Wh for 24 hour.
- A new battery will deliver 500Wh, but after a year it is probably 420Wh, after 2 years 350Wh. Your warranty starts at 300Wh.
There is no way to run a shift. Let alone 24 hours. So you have to charge during shift.
- Most LIFE blocks run in combination with an Inverter. DC converted to AC and then converted back down to DC!! Guess what 30-40% of your capacity is lost.
Add that to your 350Wh after 2 years and you have 245Wh and the worst of all is no warranty, because the battery capacity test would not include inverter and Power supply.
- Assume the Night shift forgets to charge? Your mobile equipment is now tied to a socket and subject to frequent hassle. The Nurses are not happy.
- Assume your IT department wants to add new infrastructure to the cart, a high res monitor, a faster PC, new diagnostics or printer. Its not feasible.
Hot Swapping is the only rational solution.
LIFE batteries are popular – a trend in the medical market, because they mark an improvement on SLA batteries which were simply horrendous. They also have a reputation for being safe and they charge somewhat faster and their life expectancy is longer.
But ask yourself, why doesn’t the Car, the PC or any major industry use LiFe batteries?
- Because they are too bulky for the power they deliver: poor Gravimetrics
- The faster charge is still charging on the job, and still too long for practical hospital use.
- The Safety is overrated. A cheap version is still potentially hazardous and we would claim a significantly higher safety level with the Circadian® system
- The life expectancy is very relative, most quote a single cell life, not a multi cell pack life, which is a completely different challenge, and most take no account of the charging tolerance; a poor charger kills LIFE batteries very fast indeed. In terms of warrantied life, not one of the LIFE battery competitors currently offer a 36 month 80% capacity warranty – without lots of small print.
It is this combination of Hot Swapping and Long life backed by a strong warranty that gives the true Return on Investment. If the cart is always up and running, it will be used, and the benefits of going digital can be harvested, if the cart is always unreliable, the nurse needs to find a socket and plug in or have power down, it will be used as little as possible as the digital dream remains unfulfilled and the investment wasted.