Radio Waves and Medicine: Cure or Witches Brew? Part 3
There are several proactive steps to coping with external RF interference that start with selection of the facility design. An RF survey of a new location or problematical facility is a first step. An LBA NARTE Certified Electromagnetic Compatibility Engineer will visit the location and inventory potential on and off site RF interference sources. He will review plans and make measurements of signals as needed. Then LBA will work with the owner and his team to prescribe appropriate remediation. If possible, RF shielding for specific spaces should be part of the original architectural design.
An obvious remediation of RF interference is appropriate shielding of equipment pieces or exam rooms containing diagnostic and recording equipment. The trick is to ensure that unwanted RF signals are attenuated enough to cause no harm to medical equipment.
New innovations in electromagnetic shielding often make it possible to lower unwanted RF interference to manageable levels at a reasonable cost. Applying metalized fabric composites and conductive coatings, along with proper entry, power, and piping treatments, can achieve attenuations of 40dB or more in existing facilities. Such shielding effectiveness is often adequate to prevent RF ingress into your medical equipment.
Don’t forget protection of personnel where high intensity electromagnetic fields are present! In order to comply with OSHA and FCC rules consider having exposed personnel use personal RF monitors, such as the SafeOne™ available from LBA.
In addition to protecting your investment in expensive medical equipment, judicious use of shielding can reduce maintenance costs and increase safety, reliability and patient satisfaction.