How Can Airflow Deliver Better Patient Care in Hospitals?

We posed that question to Andrew Hall, vice president of sales and marketing at SLD Industries, at our March 2nd Coffee Break webinar.

Hall explained the science behind airflow and contamination in operating rooms and how the SLD AirFRAME Modular Ceiling System and Indigo-Clean are delivering real results for hospitals around the country.

If you don’t have 40 minutes to watch the webinar, here are the main takeaways:

Other Industries have Proven the Effectiveness of Single Large Diffusers

We tend to think of operating rooms as the ultimate sterile facilities, but other industries are leading the way. The semiconductor and bio-pharma industries, in particular, have strict demands for keeping contaminants out of their spaces.

These ultra-clean environments have been using SLD (single large diffuser) technology with great results for 30 years. And what an SLD system can do to protect nanotech circuitry and biological media, it can also do to protect patients on the operating table.

The OR is the Lifeblood of a Hospital and Keeping it Functional is Paramount

The operating room is the revenue center for a hospital — it might account for 50% of its total income. The best-case scenario for a hospital is to keep the OR continuously open and occupied.

However, surgical site infections (SSIs) are a problem that the hospital industry is still trying to mitigate and solve to this day. SSIs are costly, not only to the patient (obviously) but to the hospital and its reputation. ORs are looking to reduce SSIs with solutions that don’t pile on extra operating costs and are easy to maintain and repair when necessary. SLD systems satisfy all these requirements.

AirFRAME’s Design Decreases Air Turbulence

If you’ve ever looked at the weather map on the five o’clock news, you know that air flows from areas of high pressure toward areas of low pressure. Keeping a sterile environment means controlling the pressure so that air patterns aren’t whipped up in several directions and recirculate contaminants within the space.

The areas between the diffusers in an MDA will have lower pressure than those areas directly beneath the diffusers, creating turbulence as air flows between the two zones.

In contrast, SLD’s AirFRAME Modular Ceiling System creates one large area of higher pressure directly above the surgical site, which creates unidirectional downward airflow away from the site and the surgical team (who, themselves, are the greatest source of potential contaminants.)

indigo-clean SLD technology mayo clinic new prague modular ceilings

SLD’s Indigo-Clean has two light modes for use in hospitals or clean facilities.

You Can Make Your OR Lighting Pull Double-Duty with Indigo-Clean

The lighting in the SDL AirFRAME consists of thin LED strips. Air is vented at a 45-degree angle around each light strip, creating air pressure ports around each diffuser opening. This is what eliminates those little pockets of low pressure you’d have with an MDA.

An optional add-on to the AirFRAME system, Indigo-Clean is a safe alternative for disinfecting with light. Hospitals have traditionally used UV light as a germicide, which is not safe for human exposure and must be completed when the room is not in use.

Indigo-Clean operates with safe 405 nanometer visible light for continuous abatement of bacteria, viruses, and all kinds of pathogens. It works in the background while people are present, meaning no interruption to patient care.

Bacterial pathogens present in the OR at the time of surgery account for up to half of all SSIs. AirFRAME with Indigo-Clean, two complementary levels of contamination control, has been shown to reduce SSIs by 73%.

The AirFRAME Modular Ceiling System is Faster and Easier to Install than an MDA and Delivers ROI

The standard MDA usually requires extra support steel, mounts, grids, diffusers and ductwork. That means multiple subcontractors and a construction schedule measured in weeks.

You can hang the AirFRAME system in mere hours. With only two duct and two electrical connections, this is just about as “plug and play” as these systems get. And if you can prevent just one SSI, the system has mostly paid for itself.

Don’t Miss Our Next Coffee Break

Register now to keep up-to-date on all the latest innovations in HVAC.