The basic principle of epidemiological safety in hospitals, laboratories and dissectors is to ensure proper air circulation. The design rules for such systems are very precise and provide appropriate standards.
However, there may be a failure in every system and that’s where the development of technology gives us new possibilities to monitor and supervise potential problems that may pose a threat to human safety.
The key issue in ensuring air cleanliness is maintaining an appropriate pressure difference prevailing in adjacent rooms. This ensures that the airflow caused e.g. by opening the door will take place from a room with higher pressure (room with a higher cleanliness class) to a room with lower pressure (room with a lower cleanliness class), thereby preventing the flow of dirty air into the room higher purity class. In some rooms, however, air must not be allowed to flow outside. The rooms in which adequate airflow is provided are:
- operating theaters, which include: operating rooms, hybrid rooms, doctor preparation rooms, patient preparation rooms, staff locks, patient locks, material locks, staff locker rooms, cleaning rooms, clean underwear warehouses, dirty underwear warehouses, apparatus warehouses, clean and dirty corridors (OJ 2012.739]),
- interventional radiology laboratories,
- hemodynamics laboratories,
- postoperative rooms (rooms for post-anesthetic supervision),
- intensive care rooms,
- sick beds,
- isolators (protective insulation),
- separators (patient isolation),
- medical and treatment rooms,
- diagnostic imaging rooms,
- cleaning rooms, dirty linen warehouses, medical waste, dirty items, sterilization.
There are two types of rooms in hospitals where the pressure difference should be monitored in relation to the surroundings:
Hypertensive rooms (operating rooms, isolation rooms with sterility, preparation points for medical preparations) - air from hospital corridors is not allowed to enter such rooms. When opening the door, it should be pushed out, and in its place should be prepared and cleaned air from the installation.
Negative pressure rooms (dissecting rooms, isolation rooms with infectious patients, or tables in laboratories) - no air should escape from such rooms.
Due to the requirements for air purity, rooms with overpressure were divided into four classes, calling them S1, S2, S3 and S4. The highest of the classes, S1, was divided into three subclasses depending on the purpose and types of operations performed: S1a, S1b, S1c.
- Class S1 – operating rooms
- Class S2 – rooms with increased hygiene requirements, including: isolation rooms, anaesthesiology and intensive care units, postoperative rooms (anesthesia supervision rooms), patient preparation rooms, doctor preparation rooms,
- Class S3 – separators, infectious departments,
- Class S4 – other medical rooms.
It is recommended that the pressure difference between rooms of different cleanliness classes was 10 Pa, and in the case of a S2 class room being a lock, the overpressure prevailing in it should have a minimum value of 5 Pa in relation to adjacent rooms
In addition, for rooms of S1 cleanliness class, regardless of external conditions, it is recommended to adopt the following air parameters:
- air temperature adjustable in the range of: 19 ÷ 23°C,
- relative humidity in the range of 30 ÷ 65%.
Ari flow monitoring and pressure difference
Currently, the most commonly used solution for measuring the pressure difference between rooms is differential pressure gauges with displays and possibly with local notification in the form of buzzers or a light alarm. Supervising such devices is troublesome because they often cannot read the history of events, and tracking the indications on the display is inconvenient.
The system based on the new generation of digital wireless sensors, supported by new communication protocols and the cloud based Efento Cloud platform offers users completely new possibilities. The most important of them include:
- cost reduction – devices and their installation are 20-50% cheaper than analog counterparts
- easy installation – do not require power cables, work up to 5 years on battery
- notifications of detected irregularities – data is sent to the platform, where it is saved and analyzed. If the set parameters are exceeded, an alarm is generated, it can be directed to any group of people
- reporting – alarm states are saved in reports, which makes it easy to analyze the reliability of the system guaranteeing correct air circulation
Efento Cloud allows simultaneous monitoring of several hundred rooms and transmitting measurement data or information about irregularities both directly to technical supervisors (installation company – unnecessary personnel interventions to inform about the problem) and to threatened personnel – directly to their smartphones.
On the investment side, an additional advantage is the possibility of cooperation with other sensors supervising physical quantities important for hospitals (temperature, humidity, flooding, harmful fumes and dust). This solution reduces costs even further compared to the price difference of the equipment itself. We invite you to familiarize yourself with the film posing the action and capabilities of Efento Cloud.