Indoor-air quality completes the circle of trust between patients and doctors during these pandemic times.
By: Vanni de Sequera
A patient enters a hospital with the tacit understanding that it is, in every respect, a place fully purposed for healing. Doctors with well over a decade’s worth of medical training, nurses highly attuned to the needs of the sick, and laboratory technicians with a practiced eye for detail combine with state-of the-art equipment (often developed from the genius of previous Nobel Prize in Medicine winners) to inspire confidence in this most trusted of institutions.
There is yet another unspoken layer of assurance one feels upon stepping into the lobby of a hospital beyond its polished floors and white antiseptic walls—healthful indoor air quality.
“THE VERY FIRST REQUIREMENT IN A HOSPITAL IS THAT IT SHOULD DO THE SICK NO HARM.” - FLORENCE NIGHTINGALE
Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems quietly work in the background, battling a wide range of contaminants, such as pathogens and chemical compounds. This complex engineering task is achieved by measures that cover filtration, directional airflow, and exhaust ventilation, among other critical controls.
Monitor, report, and control
Indoor air quality is especially vital in hospitals because it can negatively impact the health of its already usually vulnerable clientele, as well as its staff who are necessarily in close contact with them. Many studies have evidenced that hospital employees are more prone, for example, to respiratory infections than the general population.
As some visits to your doctor’s clinic will show, however, the efforts of many hospitals to sterilize indoor-air environment are largely confined to surgery rooms and in-house laboratories. For example, if a clinic operates a window-type air-conditioner, that space is almost surely impossible to oversee by the existing, generalized system of air-quality management.
Then, there is the added intricacy of monitoring the air quality of large hospitals. And imagine the complexity of policing an entire chain of hospitals under the same ownership. The largest private hospital operator in the Philippines, for example, has a portfolio of 18 hospitals, not counting its primary-care clinics and laboratories.
The software and hardware infrastructure to ensure optimal hospital air quality can be streamlined with technology that takes the guesswork (and human error) out of the equation. It’s called the Internet of Things, and one Philippine-based company is leading the charge.
Structuring data to make it meaningful
Cortex Enterprise Solutions provides an Internet-based plug-and-play system, with an array of curated devices and proprietary software platform, that centralizes and scales a hospital’s (or chain of hospitals and laboratories) efforts to safeguard indoor air quality.
Firstly, uHoo. It’s the most advanced indoor air-quality monitor in the market. When situated inside a workspace, uHoo’s nine dedicated sensors will monitor the following air-quality indicators:
(3) nitrogen dioxide
(4) particulate matter
(5) carbon dioxide
(6) carbon monoxide
(8) volatile organic compounds
(9) air pressure levels
The Virus Index of uHoo is capable of ranking whether the indoor air quality inside a place of business heightens or impedes the survival of harmful viruses.
Secondly, the CNX Air Purifier of Cortex. Wi-Fi-controlled: it purifies indoor air within 11-square-meters of space using best-in-class filters.
Lastly, Helios. Cloud-based, Helios is a real-time dashboard that acts like, you might say, a Commander in Chief, the glue that holds everything together. Easy-to-operate software, Helios can not only alert hospitals about air-quality issues (reported by uHoo) but also automate purifiers to decontaminate the compromised space.