Pioneering Infection Control: Prefabricated Infection Control Panels
Containing dirt, dust and bacteria on any interior jobsite is crucial, but when working in an occupied healthcare facility, the stakes are even higher. After years of juggling the tight schedules and stringent protocols of active healthcare facilities, the Structure Tone organization’s healthcare experts set out to find a more efficient way to handle infection control requirements.
In the world of healthcare, service is around-the-clock, and the facilities need to keep up. For most healthcare organizations, shutting down an entire hospital wing to accommodate construction is simply not an option. So, when a large healthcare network in NYC approached Structure Tone to convert their patient rooms into more intimate treatment suites—as quickly as possible and without interfering with services—the team knew it was time to explore some new infection control options.
Given the time and disruption of building, taping, spackling and painting typical sheetrock partitions, the conventional approach to installing critical barriers was out of the question. “We knew we had to look elsewhere for ideas,” says Joseph Chin, Structure Tone/LF Driscoll Healthcare senior vice president. “We did some research and found a vendor that provided a prefabricated panel system that could be assembled in just three hours and didn’t require all the steps involved with standard partitions.”
Even better, the prefabricated panels could be removed and reassembled at the next location just as quickly—and then reused on subsequent projects. “There is virtually no waste generated from using this kind of system,” says Chin. “That’s a big difference from conventional sheetrock, which has to be demolished and carted away as waste.”
Though the innovative new system does come with a steeper upfront cost, says Chin, it’s well worth the investment.
“With the labor savings, ability to reuse the materials and minimal waste byproducts, at the end of the day, this is a more cost-effective product and application.”
The hospital and Structure Tone were so happy with the prefabricated solution, they shared the product and its specifications with other healthcare systems facing similar set-up and scheduling issues. More suppliers have since launched prefab systems as well, providing even more options and flexibility. As a result, several healthcare organizations have adopted the prefabricated panel system as the new standard for infection control in occupied healthcare facilities.
“We’re thrilled that this idea was useful from the construction perspective,” says Chin. “But most importantly, we’re glad the system ultimately benefits the healthcare facilities and their patients.”