Increasing brand awareness and provision of consultation services to boost uptake of UPS by UK hospitals

London 21 December 2005The market for uninterruptible power supply (UPS) in UK hospitals is poised for growth, due to increased awareness of the need to maintain high levels of patient care. In this context, a recent Frost & Sullivan study sought to ascertain the views and preferences of decision makers responsible for purchasing UPS solutions in hospitals across the United Kingdom and Ireland. The study, which involved over 90 interviews, revealed the critical applications of UPS in hospitals, preferred channels for their acquisition and customer ratings for suppliers/brands.

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"Maintaining high levels of patient care requires the daily use of power-dependent equipment such as monitoring equipment and scanners and this will boost UPS sales across different hospitals", stated Frost & Sullivan Energy & Environment Practice Director Mr. John Raspin. "Additionally, as a growing number of UK hospitals are entering an IT-focused domain, UPS sales are expected to increase."

UPS systems were seen as crucial to the effective functioning of diagnostic equipment such as hospital information systems (HIS)/interfacing hardware or software; life-saving equipment such as patient monitors (cardiac, foetal, critical care in general); respiratory equipment (ventilators, external defibrillators) as well as IT equipment such as servers, networking equipment and telecommunications equipment.

Despite acknowledging the importance of health care UPS applications, the Frost & Sullivan analysis found that due to limited brand awareness, customers were unfamiliar with UPS providers in the market. Hence, ramping up awareness levels by offering consultation services to educate users and supporting future scalability will prove beneficial to UPS providers.

Reliability and the price factor remained the main criteria that seemed to influence the purchasing decision. Moreover, UPS specifications, the maintenance agreement, experience with a particular brand, fast emergency response and pre-customer service appeared to be key factors that would influence a customer in choosing a particular UPS vendor.

The study found the majority of private hospitals purchasing UPS systems directly from manufacturers, while the public hospitals had a wider channel reach, purchasing from contractors and distributors alike. "However, manufacturers can add value by creating tailored bulk-purchase packages to reflect the purchase habits of larger hospitals", stated Mr. Raspin.

There appeared to be divergences in terms of who actually selected IT and medical UPS systems. For instance, the IT manager played a prominent role in the choice of IT UPS, having the responsibility of needs identification, determination of specifications, selection of the UPS supplier and making the final decision on purchasing a UPS for IT equipment.

In contrast, the decision making process for medical UPS systems tended to be more fragmented, with doctors, in-house technicians and maintenance managers involved in identifying the need for acquiring a UPS for medical equipment but only in-house technicians and maintenance managers making the final purchase decision.

The Frost & Sullivan study also indicated that the majority of public hospitals were keen for medical equipment vendors to bundle UPS systems with other medical equipment, despite their increased tendency to centralise UPS. This suggested a perceived need to supplement a central UPS with individual units to combat redundancy.

Despite greater efficiency and the ease of maintenance of a centralised UPS application, factors such as unmanageable UPS size, lack of space, operational and security risks associated with the failure of the central UPS and the varied power protection requirements of different equipment, were identified as issues that could hinder its implementation.

"The preference seemed to be for individual protection of equipment with UPS units of lower kVA ratings instead of larger centralised UPS, as human beings are perceived to be at stake instead of equipment when UPS fails", noted Mr. Raspin.

When scouting for UPS applications for IT and medical equipment, features such as long battery back-up and remote monitoring were identified as being vital factors in influencing customer decision making processes. In addition, the key specifications for a UPS system for medical equipment included the provision of instantaneous switching, immediate and remote alerting and spike protection. Ultimately, over 80 percent of the respondents agreed that the need for clean power in health care would increase, thereby priming the market for further growth.

If you are interested in a virtual brochure, which provides manufacturers, end users, and other industry participants with an overview of the latest analysis of the "UPS in UK Hospitals - Customers' Opinions", you can send an e-mail to Magdalena Oberland, Corporate Communications at Frost & Sullivan with the following information: your full name, company name, title, telephone number, e-mail address, city, country and source of information. The information will be sent to you via e-mail upon receipt of the above information.


Leslie Versweyveld

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