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Scans are down but there’s no off-season for MR cooling

par John W. Mitchell, Senior Correspondent | September 04, 2020
From the September 2020 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Redundancy is cooling’s best friend
Pandemic aside, every summer offers problems with scorching temperature and thunderstorms threatening MR cooling. Turner Hansel, president of Filtrine Manufacturing Company, advised thinking about cooling redundancy. Failure to do so is a common cause of extended downtime that he sees from clients.

“Make sure that your facility has an emergency cooling backup system in place,” Hansel said. “This ensures that your medical equipment can continue operating if, for some reason, your chiller breaks down. Filtrine suggests using either city water if it's cold enough or building chilled water from your HVAC system.”

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In recent years, Hansel also reported that the company is seeing an uptick in need for multi-modality cooling of medical equipment. Medical equipment manufacturers are building multipurpose machines that deliver both diagnostics and treatment. These sophisticated systems require special chillers designed to handle two different cooling requirements.

Proper chiller design is a recurring theme. Tony Trumblee, medical account manager for Glen Dimplex Thermal Solutions, said that reliable chillers with built-in redundancy are the baseline starting point for trouble-free MR operations. He advocates the use of remote monitoring for safeguarding after-hours or during unusual and unforeseen situations, such as the pandemic.

Branca agreed that remote monitoring and chilling are a good paired solution. He recalled one job where the Cool Pair Plus crew was installing a remote monitoring system on a chiller, and as soon as it came online it reported several out of range readings that could have led to greater problems if they hadn’t been detected.

Think about the patient
Adhering to the OEM recommendations for your MR keep-cold needs is probably one of the more obvious recommendations to make sure everything is operating to spec. Above and beyond that, Trumblee suggested tying chillers into a Building Management System (BMS) so that performance can be monitored and alarms can be addressed immediately.

He also suggested that one of the best ways to ensuring the health of an MR unit is by keeping the patient in mind.

“Skimping on the purchase of a chiller can have a large impact on maintaining a consistent schedule for scanning patients,” Trumblee said. “People are hoping for a pleasant experience when scheduling a scan; they certainly don’t want to show up and find out the MR is down because the chiller isn’t functioning.”

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