Hospitals and Decentralized ICT

We've always taken a broad view of the definition of an ICT facility. More than just data centers, ICT facilities include everything from broadcast studios to telecom network operating centers. Hospitals' network closets, an instance of decentralized ICT, are the focus of an informative white paper from Emerson Power Networks.

Emerson defines the scope of the challenge: "In the top most-wired hospitals, there is typically one network closet for every 15 beds. So a 300 bed hospital could have upwards of 20 closets…When hospitals implement technology such as EMR, picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), wireless, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or mobile computing, the power and cooling supporting those healthcare IT systems need to be upgraded…87% of the time within one year…"

One challenge comes from the nature of hospital air conditioning, which is oriented toward patient comfort instead of equipment longevity. "'Comfort cooling' removes moisture from the air and when conditions are too dry, a static shock could seriously damage IT equipment…The general rule is every 10° increase over 80° produces a 50% reduction in long-term reliability of IT hardware. Not all network closets will require precision cooling, but when the IT heat load exceeds 1000 watts, precision cooling – which can also provide necessary humidification – will be necessary to maintain availability."

Emerson's white paper, Improving Availability in a Digital Hospital, characterizes a number of cooling and power solutions applicable to decentralized ICT facilities in many types of enterprises.