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Analysis of Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields in a Healthcare Environment: Simulation and Experimental Study

de Miguel-Bilbao, Silvia*; Martín, Miguel Angel; Del Pozo, Alejandro*; Febles, Victor; Hernández, José A.; de Aldecoa, José C. Fernández; Ramos, Victoria*

doi: 10.1097/HP.0b013e31828e5c15
Operational Topic

Recent advances in wireless technologies have lead to an increase in wireless instrumentation present in healthcare centers. This paper presents an analytical method for characterizing electric field (E-field) exposure within these environments. The E-field levels of the different wireless communications systems have been measured in two floors of the Canary University Hospital Consortium (CUHC). The electromagnetic (EM) conditions detected with the experimental measures have been estimated using the software EFC-400-Telecommunications (Narda Safety Test Solutions, Sandwiesenstrasse 7, 72793 Pfullingen, Germany). The experimental and simulated results are represented through 2D contour maps, and have been compared with the recommended safety and exposure thresholds. The maximum value obtained is much lower than the 3 V m−1 that is established in the International Electrotechnical Commission Standard of Electromedical Devices. Results show a high correlation in terms of E-field cumulative distribution function (CDF) between the experimental and simulation results. In general, the CDFs of each pair of experimental and simulated samples follow a lognormal distribution with the same mean.

This survey aims to provide a methodology for studying the electromagnetic environments that can help to avoid EM interferences on electro medical equipment, and monitor the exposure to EM fields of the staff, the patients and the general public.

*Telemedicine and eHealth Research Unit, Health Institute Carlos III, C/ Sinesio Delgado 6, 28029, Madrid, Spain; †Department of Engineering, Hospital Universitario de Canarias, Ofra, s/n. La Cuesta, 38320, La Laguna (Santa Cruz de Tenerife), Spain.

Silvia de Miguel-Bilbao was born in Burgos, Spain. She received her MSc degree in Telecommunications Engineering from University of Valladolid, Spain, in 2001, and her Master of Advance Research in 2004. She has worked for 9 years in the private industry. Simultaneously, she was associate professor at the department of Signal Theory and Communications and Telematic Engineering at the University of Valladolid. Since 2010, she has worked in the Telemedicine and e-Health Research Unit of the Health Institute Carlos III. Her research interests are the assessment of exposure to no-ionizing radiations, dosimetry, and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) for telemedicine applications. She is author and co-author of several papers presented at international conferences. Her email address is issdemiguel@isciii.es.

© 2013 by the Health Physics Society