Due to the effects of COVID-19, the demand for antibacterial products continues to rise with increased concern over the hospital and community-acquired infections. An antibacterial installation can reduce the risk of HAIs and improve public confidence. Therefore, the importance of specifying antibacterial electrical devices has never been greater.
However, not all products are the same, which is why consultants need to be careful when specifying switches, sockets, and trunking systems, especially in healthcare, given they’re among the most frequently touched devices.
In an interview with Omnia Health Insights, Umar Khan, General Manager, Electrical Products at Honeywell Building Technologies, Middle East, Turkey and Africa, sheds light on what the need of the hour is for healthcare and solutions that are enabling better care across hospitals in the region.
How can an antibacterial installation reduce the risk of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs)?
Healthcare-associated infections occur in patients during the process of care within a healthcare facility. In the new normal, hospitals are presented with significant challenges including an influx of patients. Such outbreaks are characterised by intra and inter-hospital spread and are exacerbated specifically by overcrowding, delayed diagnosis and appropriate use of personal protective equipment among other reasons. According to WHO, hundreds of millions of patients are affected by HAIs around the world per year with the prevalence of the infections in developed countries varying between 3.5 per cent and 12 per cent.
To help combat the risk of HAIs, different materials and applications can be deployed that provide lasting protection due to their ability to minimise the colonisation of micro-organisms. An independent laboratory test demonstrated that MK Electric’s Logic Plus sockets and switches range have a kill rate of 99.9 per cent against MRSA, E. coli and salmonella. Honeywell’s MK solutions include the Prestige 3D Antibac Blue, which provides an antibacterial cable management solution with a unique fluorescence under UV light. It uses an additive inherent within the Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVCu) which acts as an effective weapon in ﬁghting bacteria. The additive is a bactericide and kills bacteria instead of just restricting their growth.
Other solutions include the Logic Plus wiring devices, which complements the antibacterial offering and is effective at killing dangerous bacteria. The range is produced using Urea Formaldehyde, a high-grade thermoset material, which has similar inherent properties to antimicrobial additives, which inhibit the growth of infectious diseases. In addition, Logic Plus products are scratch-free thanks to high-quality mold tools, which means there are no dirt traps for bacteria to breed. The antibacterial additive used in the range is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and compliant with the European Biocidal Products Directive (BPD).
What are some of the challenge’s healthcare organisations are facing today and how can they operate more efficiently in the new normal?
During this period, hospitals are coping with greater numbers of patients, while exercising additional measures to keep frontline workers safe. This has led to an increased need to ensure sustainable modifications to healthcare operations for a smooth and safe flow of patients within facilities while ensuring the safety and compliance of patients and hospital staff. Such requirements have urged facilities management to implement technologies that aim to comply with social distancing practices and new hygiene requirements while taking into consideration the existing building infrastructure.
From a building owner perspective, new standards that require real-time, transparent insight into the actions that a building owner is taking to monitor and manage hygiene, improve air quality and implement social distancing are necessary. By adopting these standards, operators can ensure business continuity with efficient solutions that minimise resource usage along with defence-in-depth capabilities in the presence of changing needs.
How are Honeywell’s solutions enabling better care across hospitals in the region?
Honeywell is a pioneer in the evolution of digital operations helping organisations in the region embrace the shift to digitalisation. With more than 60 years’ experience in hospital environments, we understand the complex, challenging, and highly regulated world of healthcare. To support the changing requirements and the continued delivery of safe patient care, we have launched several innovative technology-led solutions that improve the health of their building environments for occupant re-assurance.
For hospitals and healthcare facilities, Honeywell’s Healthy Building solutions help building owners and managers support social distancing and help reassure patients and staff within the hospital’s perimeters. By integrating air quality, safety and security technologies along with advanced analytics, the solutions are designed to help minimise potential risks of contamination and ensure business continuity by monitoring both the building environment and building occupants' behaviours.
Other available solutions supporting the new normal include our mobile computers, which are specifically created for healthcare and can read person ID while maintaining safe distance during hospital check-in or ambulance pick-up. Portable printers that are used for taking labelling blood samples or printing patient wristbands are also among our offerings, to ensure operational hospital processes are carried out efficiently and effectively.
Directional airflow can also be crucial within healthcare spaces. Our Phoenix Controls Venturi Valves allow for precise airflow control for critical zones and for managing air quality when used in collaboration with other solutions such as High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters. The stable, directional flow of the solution enables the flexible transformation of isolated spaces, allowing hospitals to scale up or down to match the pace of their requirements.
At a facility level, the Honeywell Forge for Buildings platform improves operational efficiencies and security in buildings. Through data analytics, hospitals and healthcare facilities can map, control and monitor systems that include building management, energy optimisation, access controls and security enabling better care across hospitals.
What types of technological developments will have an impact on hospital design in the near future?
In the coming period, the adoption of technology-enabled care will become increasingly prevalent as organisations look to embrace digital transformation, leverage secure, reliable data to reinforce the resilience of their healthcare infrastructure, ensure business continuity, and prepare for future occupancy levels.
Hospitals and healthcare facilities are increasingly becoming reliant on technology as a fundamental enabler of their organisational strategy and a key driver into building resilience as well as overcoming future incidents and downturns that may arise.
References available on request