How EMI Shielding Impacts the Healthcare Industry

How EMI Shielding Impacts the Healthcare Industry

Technology is advancing so rapidly in today’s world that we hardly blink at each new update that rolls out. The world isn’t like it was in 1975, the year Microsoft was born and immediately changed the entire world. Instead, the changes are now more subtle, with pop-ups that urge us weekly to restart our devices so that they can be fully equipped with the latest and greatest updates.

Growth in the Health Care Industry

The health care industry, in particular, will always demand change, and as such, the natural progression of tools and techniques continues on. From leeches to mercury thermometers to artificial wombs, the industry has steadily transformed over the last couple millennia.

As we find ways to more efficiently treat various ailments, we learn that even the most groundbreaking advancements come with their own drawbacks. One aspect that scientists are still trying to refine is the effect of electromagnetic interference—or EMI. These signals crowd the air, causing potentially dangerous interactions with medical devices.

Why EMI Happens

Imagine that you’re at a wedding reception with 200 other people, each of whom has a cell phone. These phones all need signals to work, and with so many signals in the air, the devices could run the risk of pulling signals from the wrong places. So why doesn’t this happen? Put simply, shielding mechanisms are implemented into the initial designs of our phones in order to prevent this interference. At a wedding reception, this interference is inconvenient—in a medical setting, it’s dangerous.

There was a time when phones did pose a threat to hospitals. Visitors were urged to keep their phones turned off in order to prevent interference with important equipment. Due to the adjustments developers have made to cellular technology, this is no longer a common worry.

Modern Medical Equipment Requires Modern Protection

Our cell phones may not threaten medical equipment any longer, but other electronic devices can still present dangers to medical devices—something Bernard Segal, a member of the McGill University Biomedical Engineering Group, first noted back in 1996.

This potential danger comes as a result of more recent advancements. In an effort to improve medical equipment and make it both lighter and more space-efficient, some devices have been designed with light plastic coatings. While convenient, these coatings aren’t enough to keep wayward signals in check.

In order to comply with federal regulations, some sort of effective protection must be put in place. Through methods such as vacuum metalizing, lightweight metal shields are created and used as casing for these devices. This seemingly innocuous design is what allows this equipment to remain lightweight, convenient, and functional without interfering with other pieces of equipment.

Companies such as Deep Coat Industries work to allow advancements in medical care to progress at the rate that they do. While the creators of medical equipment work to protect us, shielding companies work to protect the equipment. It’s their hard work and careful designs that allow the health care industry to advance as quickly as it does today.