Before you decide to use a hospital for a procedure, you can go online at various sites to compare local hospitals in terms of patient experiences, readmission rates and deaths, compilations and other items that can be part of the hospital experience. Now you can also review your local facilities through Consumers Reports, including their most recent article ‘How Your Hospital Can Make You Sick’. In my area I was surprised that two out of the three major hospitals were rated worse, or worse than average, at avoiding infections and not much better in terms of patients having to be readmitted for recurrence of a problem or from an HIA (hospital acquired infection).
A key factor in these low ratings could be the types of air filtration used in these facilities. Because of their low scores, some key questions that facilities managers and their infectious control staffs should be reviewing include:
Are air filters being used of the efficiency levels as required by cognizant authorities, namely two stages of filtration, MERV 7 and MERV 14 for most areas?
Are the filters being used also rated MERV-A, an additional testing step by the filter manufacturer to prove that the filters will maintain their published efficiency over time? More than 50% of the filters sold today actually drop in efficiency over time, an unacceptable situation for facilities housing patients wherein their patient’s well-being depends upon clean air.
Are HEPA filters being used in critical care, operating suites and other areas where patient health may be at risk because they are in a health-compromising situation? Although not specifically required in all areas, common sense and a concern for patients’ health dictate their use should always be considered through joint consultation between infectious control officers, heads of departments and the engineering staff.
Lastly, is the HVAC system supplying the number of air changes through the air filters and to the conditioned space to keep infection transfer to the lowest levels possible? Contaminant removal is always a factor of filter efficiency and air changes and there are prescribed recommendations developed by industry experts that should be adhered to.
Camfil, the world’s largest air filter manufacturer and an air filtration technology leader publishes a Healthcare Brochure available that looks at filtration in hospitals in terms of energy use, disposal, and application. It also includes synopsized critical air quality control data from Standards as published by cognizant authorities.
Camfil provides various types of air filters for hospitals, hotels, office buildings, educational institutions, and pharmaceutical and biotech companies. We provide the tools to achieve sustainability, maintain high air quality, and reduce airborne infections — all while lowering total cost of ownership. For more information, visit us online at www.camfil.us or call us toll-free at 888.599.6620.