Where is bacteria hiding in your medical practice? Clinic hygiene is paramount for patient and staff safety. Still, it’s hard to actually gauge, especially if you’re in an older building or designed the area with aesthetics or budget in mind. See, it’s not always easy to know what features are the best choice for a clinic when designing it.
The carpet that looked great in your waiting room may be swarming with pathogens now. Or the wood countertops may have absorbed some nasties over time. Luckily, there are some fast changes to maximise hygiene in your hospital, doctor’s office, or any medical facility.
Clinic hygiene is on the top of everyone’s mind, even as we see the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel. A new standard for safety has been set, and it’s in the best interest of every hospital manager or small clinic owner to work with that.
That doesn’t mean you need to be painstakingly scrubbing every inch of your practice after a new customer comes in. Smart design choices can make your clinic much safer to visit and a whole lot easier to maintain. At the bottom line, you want patients to have as few touch points as possible and limit the surfaces bacteria can cling to.
Here are some fast features that can massively improve your clinic hygiene.
Automatic Doors and Touchless Switches
In areas with heavy pedestrian traffic, eliminating the need to interact with something physically will drastically reduce the spread of bacteria. This includes objects like door handles, switches, buttons, digital tablets, etc.
Door handles are some of the most touched objects in a building. By removing the need to operate a door manually, you eliminate the possibility of cross-contamination. This, in turn, gives patients more of a chance to reach a sanitation bay before spreading harmful germs. Motion or weight sensor doors are two popular options that allow patients to pass through your clinic and lower the touchpoints of your building.
Automated doors are most commonly used for entrances and exits. We recommend you consider automating other interior doors with a high volume of people moving through, like restrooms and offices.
Windows are often overlooked when it comes to maintaining good hygiene. Certain coverings like curtains and blinds have a lot of dirt, dust and bacteria build-up, meaning they can trap all sorts of allergens and pathogens. While some are easier to manage than others, one option is superior. Switchable glass is an entirely smooth surface, meaning it’s challenging for dust and bacteria to settle on, and cleaning is as simple as wiping it down with disinfectant. There are no divots or hard to reach places like blinds or shutters, and unlike curtains, the material is not absorbent.
What’s more, switchable glass gives you complete control of your privacy. When carrying an electrical current, it is completely see-through. When that current stops, the glass returns to its original opaque form. We’ve seen clinics use our switchable glass for shopfronts, space-efficient medical bays, meeting rooms, and so much more. It is much easier to clean than other walling and an outstanding medical feature wherever you need instant privacy (surgery rooms, consultation rooms, etc.)
Hygienic Floors and Walls
Textured surfaces can trap all kinds of pathogens and harmful cells within divots and fibres. Plaster walls, wood, and even stone are all somewhat porous, which means bacteria can hide away inside the materials. Even after a surface clean, the material itself can become contaminated after soaking up enough pathogens.
Carpet is tough to clean because of its high surface area and absorbent properties. To maximise hospital hygiene, opt for smooth surfaces with limited cracks and texture. Tiles and laminate floors are easy to disinfect and still look great. For surgical environments, there are several hygienic coatings specially designed for clinical use. These coverings make one seamless surface from floor to wall, freeing your structure from joints, seams and other features which create hiding places for bacteria.
It’s known to everyone that bathrooms are a breeding ground for bacteria and harmful cells. In a perfect world, all patients would wash their hands, dry their hands and use a paper towel to open the door. However, we understand this is an unlikely aspiration.
Touchless bathrooms limit the touchpoints in restrooms. Sensor soap dispensers and taps are great ways to lower the spread of germs on surfaces. Self-opening or even foot-operated doors mean patients are less likely to spread or pick up bathroom germs.
Digital Sign-In Forms
Allowing people to check in and fill out their medical details before even stepping into the clinic minimises the touch points needed from start to completion. By implementing this simple measure, you stop hundreds of patients from using the same pen while learning on the same table or using the same digital tablet.