The world around us is going wireless, yet the demand for wires hasn’t decreased. Because wireless technology is still not as effective as wiring, the cable is still very commonly used in the medical field. So, are medical cables different from generic cables, and is it a good idea to choose customized cables? This article will answer all questions you may have regarding medical cables while also highlighting the difference between generic cables and customized medical cables.
Chapter1: What are Medical Cables?
Medical cables, as the name suggests, are cables that we use in the medical industry to:
- Connect two or more equipment or devices.
- Transfer fluids to and from the patient.
- Power up equipment and tools, etc.
Technically speaking, they do the same thing as generic cables, but they are not the same. Also, some cables are exclusive to the medical industry and are not used in any other industry.
More About Medical Cable Standards
Since the medical industry deals with lives and humans, there is very little tolerance for errors. That is why it is essential to be careful about medical cables. Standards and requirements cover not just the manufacturing process but also the use of medical wires in the industry.
The Standard in Manufacturing:
There are specific design criteria that all institutions must follow. It dictates the use of particular cables and not generic cables. Manufacturers and packaging companies need to follow the highest level of hygiene to ensure there is no risk.
A common standard is ANSI/AAMI EC53. It addresses ECG leads and cables mainly, but many companies use it as a base to produce other medicable wires due to a lack of a global standard.
The ANSI/AAMI standard ensures a level of safety and reliability for cable specifications. The primary purpose of the standard was to prevent lead from coming into contact with a power source.
It makes cable management and transportation more accessible and covers different concerns, including environmental, testing, mechanical, and electrical.
Chapter 2: What’s the Difference Between Generic and Customized Cables?
Generic cables, as the name suggests, are generic. They are not made for a specific industry and serve a variety of purposes in different industries.
A power cord used to power a CPU, for example, can power up some other appliances, too. Similarly, a mobile phone charger used to charge an Android device may even support PS4 controllers.
However, such is not the case when it comes to medical cables. They serve specific purposes. For example, a wire for an ECG machine cannot power up other appliances, even if it fits the socket.
It is because the cable only supports ECG machines. Medical appliances are susceptible. Voltage fluctuations and other such issues can lead to wrong readings and equipment malfunction.
You must be very careful because a difference of even a 0.1 point in reading can change the output and put the patient at a higher risk.
Chapter 3: Why Do Some People Still Use Generic Cables in the Medical Industry?
One of the primary reasons why some people use generic cables in the medical industry is the difference in cost.
Generic cables are cheaper than medical cables. However, they are still a lousy substitute and may even cost you more in the long run.
Think of all the risks associated with using generic cables:
- You will get the wrong results, which may put the patient’s life at risk.
- The patient or his or her family may sue you for incorrect reports.
- Using generic cables may cause the equipment to malfunction. Hence, you will have to foot the bill for repairs and in some cases a replacement.
- You may lose your license since there are standards that hospitals and medical institutions must follow. Failure to follow the required standards may result in hefty fines and other such problems.
- If a wire is not made for a specific purpose, it will not be able to hold on for long. Hence, you will require replacement more often, which will add up to the cost.
All in all, it’s not worth it. That is why we suggest that you only stick to medical cables and stay away from generic cables.
The initial cost may be higher, but it will save you money in the long run.
Can I Use Generic Cables in Place of Medical Cables?
In some scarce scenarios, it may be acceptable to use generic cables in place of medical wires. However, in most cases, it can be hazardous to do so.
It is because when it comes to medical cables, it is a matter of life and death. It would be best if you never risked someone’s health to save a few dollars.
When Is It Safe to Use Generic Cables?
It is safe to use generic cables only when the cable does not need to meet specific medical requirements. Moreover, you may use generic cables if you intend to use them only internally in the device.
Chapter 4: Why Do I Need Custom Medical Cables?
We talked about the importance of custom medical cables and why it may be good to opt for custom cables in one of our previous blog posts.
The fact is that medical cables are readily available. You can get some off the shelf. However, the demand for customer medical cables is still on the rise due to the many benefits they offer.
Custom medical cables are best for cases where you have unique requirements. Off the shelf, cables may not be suitable for all users as they are not made to cater to specific needs that may be quality or appearance-related.
That is why, in some cases, you may have no option but to choose custom cables.
Chapter 5: Medical Cables and Sterilization
There are a variety of sterilization techniques. — They including e-beams, autoclaves, and chemicals. Different companies use different technologies, depending on the application.
Sterilization is an essential part of the medical assembly. Poorly sterilized tools can be risky, which is why it is best to discuss your requirements with the manufacturer. So that you only get cables that are suitable for your use.
Not all medical cables need to go through the process, though.
Chapter 6: Reusable Cables or Disposable Cables?
You can choose between reusable and disposable cables. They both have their pros and cons.
Reusable cables serve a longer purpose and are more durable. At the same time, disposable cables are useless after a single use.
Disposable cables are more affordable than reusable cables. Since they run for a short period and do not have to undergo sterilization, most manufacturers use comparatively cheaper materials like PVC to manufacture them.
On the other hand, reusable medical cables tend to be more durable and expensive since companies use more expensive materials to build them. That is important because reusable wires must be able to handle the sterilization process. Otherwise, they will not be of much use.
Patient in medical wires
It is crucial that you only use biocompatible cables if the cable comes into physical contact with the patient. Plus, in some cases, there may also be requirements regarding the use of specific colors.
It is best to speak to your provider in detail about your requirements so that you can get precisely what you need.
Chapter 7: Medical Device Wiring – Is There a Difference?
Medical device wiring
Yes, medical wires mainly differ from generic wiring used in homes or other industries.
Monitoring and sensing devices are changing with time. They are not as big as they once were. Plus, wireless technology is also making jobs easier but processes more complicated.
The monitoring devices of today have different requirements. They work best with flexible, small gauge, and lightweight wires that are easy to manage and use. Rigid cables do not stay healthy for a long time, which is why manufacturers are working on producing more flexible wires.
However, the real difficulty lies in manufacturing wires while meeting all other standards and medical requirements.
Do not make the mistake of turning to generic cables to save a few dollars. Such cables are not made for use in the medical industry and can cause you much damage.
Choose over-the-counter medical cables or opt for custom medical cables to ensure safety. Contact us today to speak to us. At Cloom, we offer a variety of medical cables and answer all your questions.