Medical Construction & Design

SEP-OCT 2014

Medical Construction & Design (MCD) is the industry's leading source for news and information and reaches all disciplines involved in the healthcare construction and design process.

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54 Medical Construction & Design | September/October 2014 methods require substantially more labor and far greater collection and transport steps than necessary. The automated solution features dedicated trash/recycling and soiled linen loading stations on patient fl oors and other areas of the hospital that generate waste. This simplifi es and expedites the removal of waste and soiled linen from patient fl oors and to the dock. Once entered into a computer- controlled system, material is pulled by vacuum power at up to 60 miles per hour through a sealed, dedicated 16- or 20- inch pipe network. The system is installed both vertically and horizontally with material diverted automatically toward waste or recycling collectors, or to linen collectors typically located near the loading dock area. Because the system is completely sealed, human exposure time to potentially infectious materials is typically reduced by more than 80 percent compared with manual methods that rely on chutes and elevators. Operational benefi ts and return on investment Implementing an automated waste removal system will reduce the number of EVS staff required to transport, stage, unload and manage waste and soiled linen. Facility design is more effi cient, as gravity chute collection rooms are eliminated and the size of soiled holding rooms is reduced. Space is freed up by not having to handle and store numerous carts at the dock and/or in halls leading up to the dock. Establishing separate dirty (waste, soiled linen) and clean (food, clean linens, patients) pathways supports infection control goals by reducing the risk of direct and indirect exposure of potential pathogens. Productivity improves as EVS and housekeeping staff spend less time transporting dirty material and more time on activities that improve the patient experience. Medical staff, patients and visitors spend less time waiting for elevators. The potential cost of noncompliance with regulatory bodies is eliminated by avoiding the mixing of soiled and clean items in shared space. Aesthetic benefi ts include reduced odors from soiled holding rooms, gravity chute collection rooms and loading docks. These improvements are driven by cart moves and reduced exposure on patient fl oors and public areas. Beyond aesthetics, hospitals are fi nding there's an attractive payback with these systems, commonly in the 3-6 year range. Factors impacting the return on investment include: > Operational cost savings > Infection control/cleanliness > Increased productivity > Worker safety > Regulatory implications Automated systems have all the characteristics of a best practice. Not only do they improve operational effi ciency, but the systems help create a less congested, healthier healing environment for patients. Automated waste removal systems provide another opportunity for hospitals to ensure sustainability, improve effi ciency and reduce costs. ■ Patrick Schultz, AIA, EDAC, LEED AP, is vice president and healthcare practice leader for HKS' Mid-Atlantic region. He has more than 25 years of experience in the planning and design of healthcare, medical research and government medical facilities nationwide. He can be reached at Editor's Note: Supporting research sources for this article were provided by Sarah Muel- ler, LEED AP, vice president, HKS Knox Advi- sors for Operations and Logistics. She can be reached at 1 A Literature Review on the Potential for Microbial Liberation from Textiles From Residual Paths Common To Modern Healthcare Settings," Mark Hernandez, Ph.D., P.E., Alina Handorean, Ph.D., Bharath Prithiviraj, Ph.D. sustainable green

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