The Importance of Compressed Air in Improving Patient Care and Safety

Medical grade air compressors, as the name suggests, are used in hospitals and other healthcare environments all over the world. Their purpose is simple: they aim to create incredibly clean, dry and purified air, all in a way that is acceptable for humans to breathe.

Medical facilities use these devices for a wide range of different reasons, including to provide treatments with equipment like ventilators and incubators. All told, the use of compressed air in improving patient care and safety is critically important in a host of different ways, all of which are more than worth exploring.

The Power of Compressed Air in Healthcare: Breaking Things Down

All told, compressed air is commonly deployed in just about every area of a hospital that you can think of. It is regularly given to patients who need inhaled medications along with other treatments like anesthesia, for example. It’s also used as a way to treat certain types of respiratory conditions as well.

One of the biggest uses of compressed air in such environments involves powering ventilators and incubators as outlined above. This is important, as it provides air that is both uncontaminated and controlled. These types of compressed air systems help mitigate the risk of medical air contamination, which could easily lead to people getting infections, to them getting sick or even to them dying under certain extreme conditions.

Another common use of compressed air for improving patient care and safety has to do with how it can act as a carrier for anesthetic agents. It’s even regularly given to people who are already under anesthesia before, during and after their treatments.

Finally, compressed air is used often as a way to power certain types of surgical tools in environments like an operating room. This is particularly important, as doctors and other medical professionals need reliable access to these tools in order to provide potentially life-saving care. But they need it in a way that won’t contaminate the environment and make people sick, which is ultimately one of the main reasons why compressed air is so important in these applications.

One of the major reasons why this type of compressed air is so critical is because it helps prevent the presence of certain types of contaminants that could pose a risk to patients everywhere. Water – and indeed, moisture of any kind – can easily lead to the growth of mold on assets that are being directly used for patient care. Even going beyond that, water and moisture are highly corrosive – leading to essential pieces of equipment that would likely break down on a regular basis.

Obviously, you don’t want to allow moisture to damage a piece of surgical equipment beyond repair. In addition to forcing unnecessary bills on the healthcare provider in question, it could also potentially delay live-saving care. Therefore, this type of compressed air is a great way to continue to power a lot of these same tools while mitigating risk as much as possible.

Interestingly, this type of compressed air is one of the few types of gases that a healthcare environment can create on-site. They don’t get it shipped in via a cylinder like they would with something like oxygen. This is accomplished through the use of medical grade air compressors, which are designed to produce clean, dry and medical-ready air on-demand.

These units are highly specialized and must not only be carefully installed, but maintained and inspected on a regular basis as well. A large part of this is due to the fact that they often operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

In the United States, medical air is actually considered to be a manufactured drug – something that is evidenced on the label. It must be purified to a specific level in order to meet the requirements of both the Instrument Society of America and of the National Fire Protection Association, otherwise known as the NFPA for short.

Medical compressed air is actually approved in many cases as a viable alternative to nitrogen, as they share a few important properties. Like nitrogen, compressed air used in this context shares a similar pressure, dryness and – most importantly – cleanliness.

The types of medical vacuum pump options and medical grade air compressors used to supply this air tend to be oil-free, as this is the safest and most straightforward solution in addition to being very cost-effective. Oil-based compressors are themselves effective, but they also have a lot of moving parts that can potentially break down. There are also components that could potentially become corroded, which can lead to further issues such as increased friction. Over time, the increased friction can damage moving parts in the compressor, leading to expensive repairs. Additionally, damaged or malfunctioning oil-based compressors can leak oil into airlines, damaging compressor components, or worse, a patient. For this reason, JHFOSTER only distributes oil-free medical air compressors.

All told, compressed air plays a critical role in improving patient care and safety in everything from private practices to major hospitals – and it will continue to do so for years to come.

Want to learn more about compressed air? Speak to one of our experts today!