Critical Infrastructure Vulnerabilities in the Healthcare Space

Critical Power Should Not Be a Life of Death Decision.

Technology in the healthcare industry is rapidly advancing each day with groundbreaking digital technologies that improve the way healthcare professionals communicate with, monitor, and treat patients. Amid a global pandemic, technology acted as a bridge between doctor and patient through remote patient monitoring and telehealth services, completely changing the standard of patient care today.  

However, as the use of electronic healthcare services and digital technologies continue to increase, so too does the risk of cybersecurity breaches and ransomware attacks. As network engineers operate on the front lines of cybersecurity warfare, power availability and secure remote connectivity must be a foundation of resiliency for these concurrent digital technologies to transform the healthcare experience. 

Negative Impact on Technology on Healthcare Cybersecurity 

In 2021, 66% of healthcare organizations were hit by ransomware attacks – up from 34% in 2020, according to a report done by Sophos1. The average cost of a healthcare data breach is roughly $10 million, according to IBM Security’s annual Cost of a Data Breach Report2.  Healthcare organizations rely heavily on instant access to data like patient records from a variety of sources, therefore any sort of delay, power failure, or dropped IT load could have major, and even life threating impacts on patient health.

So, how can healthcare organizations implement concurrently maintainable power architectures and asset management best practices into a reality while also safely protecting critical patient data, and in return, patient lives?

Ensure your Power is Resilient. Secure your Data. Protect your Patients.

The healthcare business model is starting to shift focus more towards patient experience and wellbeing. With this model in mind, healthcare providers are encouraged to share information across a vast network of providers involved in patient care, opening up system vulnerabilities like never before. With a growing reliance on digital healthcare services, the need for a secure, adaptable, and always available power infrastructure is critical.

Upgrading power infrastructure to support next generation healthcare technologies increases a healthcare organization’s security, reliability, and resiliency. Selecting the right equipment for power distribution and protection, backup power, and remote monitoring and management is key so that operations never go down and systems run with maximum energy efficiency.

Just as these groundbreaking technologies provide us with data to improve the way we diagnose, monitor, and treat patients, critical infrastructure like power distribution, control, and monitoring systems provide us visibility and data-driven insights to improve security, performance, and efficiency within your healthcare facility.

Stark Tech specializes in mission critical applications, working together with healthcare leaders and engineers to design and implement customizable hardware, software, and professional services to meet a client’s specific needs. Stark’s Critical Power team works with our customer base to maximize operational, deployment, and lifetime efficiencies of critical power equipment. Our mission is to optimize business continuity, simplify regulatory compliance, and most importantly, protect occupants and assets. When paired together with local support and service, our comprehensive critical power capabilities create a unique customer experience.

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Sources:

  1. The State of Ransomware in Healthcare 2022, A Sophos Whitepaper. May 2022
  2. Cost of a Data Breach 2022 Report, IBM 2022

Stark Tech Adds Quantech to Equipment Line Card, Expanding Solutions Offerings

Equipment Solutions

Stark Tech introduces Quantech chillers to the Equipment team’s HVAC equipment solutions. Quantech has a proven track record of delivering high-performance, reliable chillers that ship virtually immediately from inventory.

Quantech’s Product Line includes:

  • Air-Cooled Chillers
  • Water-Cooled Chillers
  • Condensing Units

Stark Tech’s Equipment Solutions Team aligns with strategic partners to offer high quality products and services to our customer base. Our team provides adaptive and customized solutions that are designed to meet the current and future mission of any building. We are committed to providing high-efficiency products and solutions that help achieve reliable and durable operations while controlling energy costs and lowering the carbon footprint of buildings.

For more information, visit our Equipment page or call us at (716) 693-4490 to speak with an equipment specialist today!

Stark Tech specializes in Intelligent Building Solutions and is a leader in facility optimization, aligning technology with real-world experience across a diverse portfolio of capabilities. 

Additionally, we are a single agent source for Building Automation, Intelligence & Equipment offering a unique customer experience throughout the building lifecycle. 

Because we are a collaborative, cross-functional team working together to provide integrative, cost-effective solutions with in-house expertise for any type of building, portfolio or project.

Stark Tech Partners with HealthWay Technology

Technology Integration Solutions

HealthWay’s Patented Disinfecting Filtration System Technology traps airborne pathogens down to a size of 0.007 microns. Stark Tech offers technology integration solutions that test the efficacy of filtration systems inside classrooms. The experiment added contaminants to the air and tested how quickly they were removed from the space.

Stark Tech is a single agent source for Building Automation, Intelligence & Equipment offering a unique customer experience throughout the entire building lifecycle. We offer customized building management solutions that maximize safety, comfort, and efficiency.

Healthway Inquiry

For more information regarding implementing Disinfecting Filtration Systems in your facility, contact us.

Federal Funding for Facility Upgrades that Improve IAQ will have better long-term outcomes on sick rates

Stark Tech Provides Air Systems Solutions

For years, outdoor air pollution has been a point of discussion involving the negative impacts on health. Correlations have linked certain types of cancer, bronchial issues like asthma and allergies, etc. to high concentrations of contaminants in the air. Over the past few years, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies have shown human exposure to air pollutants indoors can actually be two to five times higher than outdoor levels. Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) can also lead to a large variety of health problems and potentially impact comfort, concentration, and performance. Stark Tech can improve indoor air quality with air systems solutions and more to reduce the risk of virus transmission between students and staff.

Most people, even prior to March 2020, spend roughly 90 percent of their time indoors, which makes good IAQ increasingly important. Failure to respond to poor IAQ can lead to cough, eye irritation, headache, asthma, allergic reactions, and more. Nearly 1 in 13 school-aged children has asthma, which is the leading cause of absenteeism in schools, according to the EPA.

The Department of Education states “The importance of well-ventilated spaces extends beyond preventing the spread of COVID-19. Older and outdated school buildings should look at the Federal Funds available to upgrade and replace outdated heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) systems, and other environmental dangers such as mold and leaks that contribute to poor air quality.”1 Students, teachers and staff are often in close contact with one and other during in-person learning, especially now that social distancing standards have decreased from six feet to three feet. This makes proper maintenance of indoor air critical to improving the safety and health of your students, faculty and staff.

Effective March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) of 2021 has provided each state within the United States a specific amount of funds to safely and effectively re-open classroom doors to students and staff for in-person learning. No less than 20 percent of these funds is reserved for addressing learning loss that may have resulted from remote learning models. However, the remaining percentage of funds can be used to implement health-focused resources, including school facility repairs and improvements that reduce the risk of viral transmission and exposure to environmental health hazards.

The ARP includes “Inspection, testing, maintenance, repair, replacement, and upgrade projects to improve the indoor air quality in school facilities, including mechanical and nonmechanical heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, filtering, purification and other air cleaning, fans, control systems, and window and door repair and replacement,” as approved resources for funding use.2

Stark Tech can not only provide the specific equipment required for safe re-opening, but can integrate the upgrades and replacements within existing building management systems. We are committed to providing customized service solutions to our clients that are tailored to their specific needs. Stark is a leader in comprehensive intelligent building solutions that brings together a diverse and specialized group of technologies, services, and expertise.

Sources:

  1. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, ED COVID-19 Handbook, Volume 2: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students’ Needs Washington, DC, 2021
  2. American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Congress.gov

Implementing Five Key Preventative Strategies to Safely Reopen Schools Full-Time

Stark Tech Provides Equipment Integration Solutions

The U.S. Department of Education has recently released its Volume 2 ED Covid-19 Handbook, a Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students’ Needs.1 This handbook addresses all areas of concern for re-opening schools safely from meeting the social, emotional, and mental health needs of students to creating and maintaining physically healthy learning environments. Stark Tech Group offers an extensive list of equipment and integration solutions that will help safely bring your students back to in-person learning five days a week.

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ASHRAE’s Epidemic Task Force Releases Guidance for Re-Opening Schools and Universities

Building Integration Solutions

Schools are beginning to slowly and cautiously re-open their doors to in-class instruction. As some districts are moving from hybrid education models to four and five days of in-person learning, concerns around safety and transmission risk continue to loom. Stark Tech is a collaborative, cross-functional team that can help provide cost-effective building integration solutions that meet the epidemic guidance.

ASHRAE states, “Changes to building operations, including the operation of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning [HVAC] systems can reduce airborne exposures.”1 The top priority remains protecting the health, safety, and welfare of students and staff from the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, reviewing the ventilation and indoor air quality of the buildings should play an integral role in any roll-out plan to get children back to class in person, full time. (It is important to state that adherence to these ASHRAE guidelines should not serve as a complete replacement for other cautionary prevention measures such as mask wearing and social distancing).

The first step in preparing your school or university for full-time re-opening is to determine your building’s readiness in accordance with existing and updated operation protocols. ASHRAE lists steps to take, including:

  1. Creating a District or Campus Health and Safety Committee.
  2. Developing policies for staff and contractor PPE requirements.
  3. Operating all HVAC systems in occupied mode for a minimum period of time before resuming full occupancy.
  4. A Checklist for Unoccupied Buildings Prior to Occupying2
  5. A Startup Checklist for HVAC Systems Prior to Occupancy3. These checklists cover everything from general inspection processes to how to prepare your domestic water systems.

Once you have assessed your building’s readiness, it is essential to continue to run equipment and system specific checks and verifications all throughout the academic year. Mechanical systems should be flushed daily prior to occupancy, while the following systems should be inspected monthly and annually.

Recommended timelines

Monthly:

  • Boiler systems
  • Chilled water, hot water, and condenser water systems
  • Air cooled chillers
  • Water cooled chillers
  • Cooling towers and evaporative-cooled devices
  • Steam distribution systems
  • HVAC Water distribution systems
  • Air handling units
  • Roof top units
  • Unitary and single zone equipment

Annually:

  • Pumps and associated electrical components

ASHRAE also provides new/modified facility design recommendations and guidelines. These guidelines include – but are not limited to – winter classroom design guidelines, ventilation and filtration design guidelines, and local HVAC unit guidelines.

While it is important to continuously monitor, inspect, and assess your building operations, it is just as important to gather, review, and record information collected while doing these inspections for future use. Performing a monthly, bi-annual, and/or annual data analysis and review can improve efficiency and save on future costs for your building.

Stark Tech, including our legacy companies – U&S Services, R.L. Kistler, T.P. Woodside, Buckpitt, Technical Building Services in New York, and mc2 in Florida – is available to assist with your building integration solutions, building checkups, system updates, and any new system upgrades or replacement requirements you may need.

Stark Tech is a single agent source for Building Automation, Intelligence & Equipment offering a unique customer experience throughout the entire building lifecycle. We offer customized building management solutions that maximize safety, comfort, and efficiency.

Sources:

  1. ASHRAE, “ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force: Schools and Universities”, October 7, 2020
  2. ASHRAE, “Checklist for Unoccupied Buildings Prior to Occupying”, October 2020
  3. ASHRAE, “Startup Checklist for HVAC Systems Prior to Occupancy”, October 2020