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Clinical lab facilities are subject to particularly harsh power environments where generic conditioning solutions may prove inadequate.
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Clinical Lab Quality is Power Quality

Is your lab on top of every factor that could compromise lab quality?

Peter Huss

Peter Huss is a veteran electrical engineer with nearly four decades of experience in the industry, the most recent of two have been with AMETEK Powervar. Currently serving as an...

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Published:Oct 17, 2022
|2 min read
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Peter Huss is applications engineer at Powervar.

Careful attention to quality control in a clinical laboratory setting is essential for maintaining a positive reputation and business continuity. Of course, it is also vital for ensuring positive patient health outcomes and helping providers create accurate treatment plans. With a daily responsibility to complete sensitive diagnostics and screening analyses, compile accurate, reliable results, and report critical information in a timely manner, lab quality must be top priority.

Is your lab on top of every factor that could compromise lab quality?

If required frequently, root cause investigations of inefficiencies or interruptions in lab operations can take a significant amount of time, labor, and downtime, ultimately impacting the bottom line. This is especially true if investigations consistently misidentify or overlook a core source of erratic equipment performance: the power environment.

Most labs already have some form of power conditioning in place, but with high-draw instruments that are required to run smoothly each day, clinical lab facilities are subject to particularly harsh power environments where generic conditioning solutions may prove inadequate. If appropriate solutions are not in place and continuously monitored, electrical disturbances like sags, spikes, swells, and more can sneak past simplistic protective measures and instead masquerade as problems with instruments or equipment. The result? Breakdowns, data errors, lost assays, and inaccurate results that all negatively impact overall lab quality, deliverables, and reputation.

As clinical lab equipment is dependent on power, lab quality is necessarily dependent on power quality. Leaders must specify and maintain the right tools for remediating power quality problems before damage and lockups occur. However, not all power protection is created equal, and the right solution for a given lab requires careful analysis of power draw, trends in power performance, and electrical noise from adjacent machinery.

Managers should weigh options that incorporate the following features to ensure a strong foundation for power quality:

  1. Surge diverter: Deflects high voltage transients safely away from your electronic system.
  2. Low impedance isolation transformer: Isolates the powered instrument from the power source and re-establishes the neutral-ground bond, without opposing or disrupting the path.
  3. Online double conversion UPS: Converts incoming power from AC to DC and then back to AC, ensuring if main power is interrupted, the power supply continues without interruption.
  4. High frequency noise filter: Eliminates electrical noise to deliver clean, fully conditioned power.
  5. Remote monitoring: Real-time access to proactively monitor and manage system performance.

Don’t wait for errors to tell you when it’s time to upgrade your power protection. Instead, make power quality evaluations a regular piece of your lab quality analysis. And, if you discover frequent errors, don’t hesitate to connect with a power expert for a discussion on which solutions will best suit your lab. Your stakeholders don’t think about power quality when their results are late or incorrect, so it’s essential that you stay on top of the risk before it becomes a reality.