Healthcare Engineering and Electromagnetic Compatibility

Technical Information Notes
Technical Application Notes
Technical Papers

M P Robinson*, D Bozec+ and C A Marshman+

* University of York, Heslington, York
+ York EMC Services Ltd., University of York, Heslington, York

Healthcare Engineering: Latest Developments and Applications; I Mech E, London, 25-26 Nov 2003

Summary

Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) – the ability of electronic systems and devices to function well in close proximity to each other – has traditionally been given scant attention in the design and construction of healthcare facilities. Hospitals contain some types of equipment, such as electrosurgery units and short-wave diathermy applicators, that are known to produce high levels of electromagnetic interference (EMI), and other types such as ECG (Electrocardiography) and EEG (Electroencephalography), which are known to be particularly sensitive to electromagnetic disturbances. Despite the existence of standards and regulations, there is often no collaboration between the designers of the buildings and the users of the equipment therein. In this paper, we show how an understanding of EMC enables us to prevent interference problems and protect critical systems. We discuss how good installation and maintenance practices such as the use of zoning and safe distances can ensure that adequate levels of EMC are achieved in the hospital environment.

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