Brandon Lawrence, MD 11/9/20 10:37 AM 6 min read

Negative Pressure Rooms and the SCONE™

An average hospital only contains a handful of negative pressure rooms at baseline. In the normal practice of medicine this hardly ever posed a problem.

In times of COVID today, however, our practice can hardly be considered normal in the scope of medicine. One of the main problems with combatting the COVID-19 pandemic in its initial waves was the (relative) uncertainty with how it was spread. It’s become fairly certain that it is a predominantly droplet type exposure that allows for the virus to proliferate. However, there does seem to be a rather unique component to the COVID-19 virus in that it has the apparent ability to be aerosolized via coughing or other aerosol generating procedures (nebulized treatments, intubations, use of BIPAP/CPAP, endoscopy etc).

A major issue arises when a virus that has the ability to be aerosolized is this prevalent. As an ED doc, prior to the COVID pandemic, I cannot think of a time that all three of our community ER negative pressure rooms were all occupied at once. In the months of may, June and July, this became the norm as the COVID wave took its toll. Sure, they were used frequently between patients with Meningitis and suspected Tuberculosis, amongst other issues, however it was very infrequent that we had multiple of these types of patients in the ED at once. The same can be said on the inpatient side. We had, and continue to have, a very finite amount of resources to combat an overwhelming number of hospital encounters.

This very quickly became a logistical nightmare on how to triage and treat these patients and where they finally get admitted to within the hospital. Trying to juggle a handful of these negative pressure rooms over dozens to hundreds of patients, while contrasting this with the enormous cost of creating new specialized rooms entirely is rather dizzying.

On a given day during the pandemic, we had patients who were actively symptomatic/coughing, patients requiring nebulized treatments, some who required intubation and some cardiac or respiratory arrest. Due to the low amount of rooms required to house these patients, we constantly had to shuffle potential COVID patients in and out of a specialized negative pressure room for the safety of others. Not only was this difficult logistically, it led to delays in care and likely increased exposures to patients and health care workers as these symptomatic patients were transported through the ER. Compound this on the inpatient side with transporting these patients through the halls and having to convert entire wings of the hospitals entirely for COVID management and this is a nightmare for hospital administration and health care workers just trying to do their best.

Enter the SCONE™

This Self Contained Negative-pressure Environment has the ability to solve this issue in entirety.

Is there a back log in triage and not enough walled off beds to place patients under investigation for COVID or Flu? As long as there are oxygen and wall suction available, the device can be used in curtain beds or multiple in one large room in order to stave off overflow.

Does the patient need a nebulized treatment and there is no negative pressure room available? The SCONE™ can house the patient during this procedure, wait just under 5 minutes for total aerosol clearance post procedure, and the need for a negative pressure room is spared. Not only does this drastically reduce the need for the negative pressure rooms, but the sub 5 minute clearance will dramatically augment throughput times as it is approximately ten times faster than clearing an entire negative pressure room.

Are you weary of transporting an actively coughing, short of breath patient through the hospital to their rooms? As long as oxygen is supplied for transport, the patient can remain in the SCONE™ for the transport, thus helping reduce spread to HCW.

The SCONE™ is effectively a cheap in cost catch-all for nearly every logistical problem that has arisen with the COVID pandemic in regards to the need for negative pressure rooms and hospital PPE shortages in general. I believe these should be in wide use to both protect our health care workers and continue to provide excellent care to our patients.

SCONE™ has received authorization for Emergency Use from the FDA. Click the button to contact us and see how we can bring the negative pressure SCONE™ to your facility.

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