Used in a large number of hospitals in Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, the medical version includes a higher level of security in terms of network connectivity, as well as extra precise sensors for micro-organisms monitoring.
Air quality in healthcare facilities is critical to the wellbeing of patients, staff and visitors, since the microorganisms that inhabit hospitals may influence patient recovery and outcome. The Hospital Microbiome Project from the University of Chicago sheds light on the connection between microorganisms presence in hospital settings and their proliferation that are shown to affect the rate of disease transmission. What’s more, hospitals, no matter how new they are or how aware they are of the air now inside them, are densely populated with various types of particulate matter.
Assoc. Prof. Jack Gilbert, a microbial ecologist at UChicago and Argonne National Laboratory, who has been named one of Popular Science’s “Brilliant 10”, and is the author of the Hospital Microbiome Project commented: “Before it opened, the hospital had a relatively low diversity of bacteria. But as soon as it was populated with patients, doctors and nurses, the bacteria from their skin took over.” Air now is crucial to be taken control of in hospital settings, since thanks to the latest and the most extensive study on the hospital microbiome, we do understand the real danger and risks arising from poorly managed IAQ (indoor air quality). Let’s outline some of those dangers:
Longer hospital stays, as the recovery is affected by the proliferating microorganisms
Decreased effect of antibiotics
Presence of hazardous bacteria
A pattern was found in samples taken from the rooms of 92 patients who had longer hospital stays, as measured in months. Due to ongoing selective pressure, some potentially hazardous bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus epidermidis, were able to acquire genes that could increase their resistance to antibiotics and encourage human infection. To add, hospital staff members transmitted more bacteria to each other over the summer period when the temperature and humidity increased. Thus, the basic parameters cannot be left uncontrolled either.
We should control air now, before it’s late and microorganisms in hospitals evolve even more, becoming more resistant. Therefore, it can be clearly seen, the key takeaway from the study, which was overviewed in the article in the Science Life website, is that microorganisms from different sources like human skin, surfaces, air are intertwined and directly influence the transmission of diseases in hospitals.
We know from the previous section that microorganisms (particulate matter) negatively influence a patient's recovery and health in general. However, everybody is not affected in the same way and intensity. Elderly people are the most susceptible to the negative effects of poor air quality and it’s most harmful to them.
Air Now publication stresses that human bodies become less able to compensate for the effects of environmental risks as they become older. Diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and other lung conditions can all be aggravated by poorly controlled IAQ. Increased pharmaceutical consumption, more doctor's appointments, hospital and emergency room admissions, and even death can result from this. On top of that, being in the hospital environment for a prolonged period of time is not risk free as we’ve learnt previously, due to the proliferation and presence of the microorganisms.
Furthermore, given the cruciality of the topic and understanding of the negative consequences brought by poorly controlled air and, especially, particulate matter (microorganisms), EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) created a series of information sheets that are meant to educate older people and their caregivers about the health risks associated with poor IAQ and how to mitigate those risks.
There are other factors that can impact air quality in healthcare facilities, besides particulate matter (microorganisms), including the building’s ventilation system and the use of cleaning chemicals.
Ventilation systems play a vital role in controlling indoor air quality. They should be designed to provide adequate ventilation (low levels of CO2) for the space and ensure that there is a consistent supply of fresh air.
Cleaning chemicals can also impact air quality. Some chemicals can release harmful vapours (VOC) that can irritate the respiratory system and cause other health problems. It is important to use cleaning products that are safe for use in healthcare environments.
MasterMind · Tech IAQ MEDICINE is based on two pillars that provide both workers and patients with the necessary safety and security in hospitals and medical centres, where every little detail is of great importance:
Our highly accurate non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) sensors are capable of monitoring the level of microorganisms in the various rooms, in addition to measuring the conventional parameters of CO2, VOCs, temperature and humidity.
As demonstrated in the following study, our microorganism sensor is able to measure 100% of bacteria, fungi and protozoa, and a very high percentage of viruses.
It is essential for hospitals and medical centres to have constant and reliable monitoring of air quality, without the slightest interruption of service. This is only possible thanks to our connection system, which allows an Online connection, visible from any device (PC, mobile, tablet, SmartTV) through our Platform. Furthermore, if at any time the Online connection is lost, the data and records generated by the sensors are saved and uploaded to the server once the Online connection is re-established, so there will never be any loss of data.
It is common for hospitals and ICUs to install digital kiosks and/or tablets in their corridors, so that hospital staff can view real-time air quality values immediately from outside any room.