Understanding Your HVAC System: Building Pressure Monitoring & Control
Part of the job of a building automation system (BAS) involves monitoring and adjusting how a...
The evolution of building automation systems for hospitals comes as the Internet of Things (IoT) and other technologies have lowered the costs of automation and are opening up new opportunities for creating safe, healthy, and efficient environments.
Gone are the days when building automation meant simple control over heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. Today, building systems of all types are being integrated with smart sensors, advanced analytics, centralized control systems, and wireless IP network connectivity, expanding the possibilities of building management in healthcare. While this can have a significant impact on operational costs, it can also do something even more valuable: it can help people.
Building automation systems are often referred to as building management systems. Now, both automation and management are becoming more sophisticated than ever before thanks to the introduction of smart technologies. Installed to automatically control a building’s operations, improve energy efficiency, and manage climate for occupants’ comfort, a smart building automation system (BAS) for hospitals operates in much the same fashion as any other building. That means controlling and monitoring a variety of devices and systems, including:
The elements that make up a smart building automation system are anchored in cloud data storage and computing, paired with powerful software that collates this big data. By unifying building systems, integrating IoT devices, and adding an analytics layer, data from all connected systems can be continuously monitored and evaluated to provide deep, real-time insight into how the building functions. A platform with machine learning capabilities can then provide recommendations for human users or even make changes automatically using pre-programmed parameters to optimize performance.
In a smart BAS, all components can share information and communicate with each other to improve the building’s operations as a whole. This is the future of building management, whether it’s a building automation system for hospitals, hotels, data centers, office buildings, factories, residential apartment buildings, or any other built structure.
While hospitals share much in common with other building types, they are unique in the equipment they contain, the conditions they must maintain, and the role they play in people’s everyday lives.
Forward-thinking hospitals tailor their infrastructure to focus on the following:
Advanced building automation systems for hospitals have the potential to address all of these concerns through the use of smart technology.
A prime purpose of hospitals is providing a clean and healthy environment that allows patients to recover from serious illnesses or medical procedures. HVAC systems play a significant role in this goal. While ventilation and the importance of airflow became especially important during the 2020-21 coronavirus pandemic, optimal HVAC function has long been a top priority within health care settings.
Hospitals building automation systems use high-performance HVAC systems to:
Automation in hospitals takes ventilation system optimization to a new level.
Reducing in-hospital infection rates occurring at surgical sites and other healthcare-related proliferation of contagions has posed an increasingly worrisome problem. With the increase in antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, this problem has only worsened. Such hospital-related infections cost hospitals in the United States tens of billions of dollars yearly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Building automation systems for hospitals can help improve hygiene and reduce the spread of infections by minimizing the need for surface contact, continuously monitoring the environment for disease-causing microorganisms, and making automatic HVAC adjustments to improve air quality based on sensor data.
In addition to keeping patients safe, HVAC is key in keeping patients comfortable. Smart building automation systems help you attain this by intelligently adjusting temperatures and humidity levels and instantly notifying maintenance teams of compromised performance.
While treatment of disease and other healthcare conditions is the top priority for hospitals, security in healthcare settings is also a fundamental concern. Making hospitals more secure does not only include regulating physical access, but involves addressing cybersecurity threats, as inadequate protections of patient information can potentially result in loss of trust and legal action. This means that when you integrate systems to create a smart BMS, security must be baked into the process. Choosing a master systems integrator committed to best security practices and technologies designed to mitigate risk is essential and can offer greater protection than piecemeal solutions.
Fire safety offers another area in which automated systems can be of great value. Using an integrated fire detection and alarm system can provide crucial early warnings that allow situations in localized areas to be addressed without the need for widespread evacuations. Such early detection prevents having to move sick, debilitated, and vulnerable patients.
Healthcare facilities also face numerous other security challenges that can affect patient outcomes, employee productivity, building system functionality, and even infection rates. Modern building automation systems for hospitals offer technology that puts security systems and protocols in place to better resolve problems for the benefit of both patients and hospital personnel.
Hospitals are moving away from siloed systems to allow sharing of data securely between all healthcare systems. This transformation into a connected environment creates opportunities for greater efficiency and streamlined operations. Current building automation systems for hospitals can leverage smart technology to support this goal.
Enhanced connectivity in hospitals helps you:
From better HVAC functionality to reduced reliance on human intervention to greater security, a well-architected hospital building automation system with analytics is a wise investment in the wellbeing of patients. A state-of-the-art system designed to safeguard patients will soon show its worth and can continue to add value for years to come.
Natalie writes about trends in commercial real estate technology, building data analytics, master systems integration and controls for building systems.