Out of necessity, the people of Japan may be among the most energy conscious in the world: the devastating earthquake in March caused rolling blackouts, putting hospital patients and others, especially the elderly, at risk.
The Medical Device Strategy Institute (MDSI), Japan’s premier think tank focused on the medical device industry, recently surveyed 1948 medical establishments in the Tokyo area about how the blackouts affected patient care. The survey showed that most off-grid power systems (with the rare exception of fully equipped emergency hospitals) were only able to provide one-quarter of the power needed by the facility.
As Japan moves toward phasing out nuclear power plants, power concerns among hospitals are mounting, and demand for power-saving devices is rising.
“Devices that could dramatically reduce power consumption will be a key element in the design of future medical devices in Japan,” says Shohei Nakano, MDSI’s senior researcher who conducted the survey. “Shortening the time needed for starting up and switching off devices is also important,” he adds.
According to the survey, fewer than 30% of medical institutions were able to perform medical treatments in the conventional manner during the blackouts, which lasted about two weeks in the Tokyo region.Miki Anzai