Many of us associate hospitals with images of hospital staff walking through deep-cleaned and well-polished hallways or patient rooms in sterile and top conditions. We know that in hospitals and other healthcare facilities, cleanliness is non-negotiable, with proper hygiene measures and infection control policies being stringently observed. 

While every hospital’s mission is to provide primary health care for everyone, these environments can be a place for a number of problems, including dirty air quality. 

Sources of poor indoor air quality in hospitals and other healthcare facilities

Numerous studies and research have revealed that aside from the bacteria from sick patients and chemicals that are being used in sanitation activities, one of the main sources of stale indoor air quality in hospitals and other healthcare facilities is ambient air. Emissions from vehicles and diesel fuel from generators that are designed to prevent power interruptions are two of the best examples. 

Indoor air quality problems also become worse due to the building’s age and condition itself. Many hospitals both in rural and urban areas were built on or before the 1950’s and they continuously operate in the present without going through any kind of upgrades in their ventilation systems that would ensure proper air circulation and reduce the amount of poor air quality that goes around and inside the hospital. 

In addition to the above, the high number of patients and visitors coming in and out, as well as the shift workers and on-call medical personnels approaching and leaving add up to the sources of poor hospital air quality. 

Should you really care about improving indoor air quality in hospitals?

Yes! Hospitals are high-risk spaces, and the duty of care in these facilities is expected not only for patients but also for employees and anyone that goes  inside it. Better indoor air quality should not be reserved for the critically-ill or for patients in isolation, it must be available to all areas including the lobby, corridors, general wards, and cafeterias to help secure the health and wellbeing of everyone. 

Additionally, an average of 10% hospital-acquired infections (HAI) are disseminated via airborne transmission due to bad indoor air quality. These are spread through coughing, sneezing, and talking by infected patients, staff, and visitors. Having better indoor air quality in hospitals and other healthcare facilities can prevent airborne viruses from surviving and lingering within the facility, thus decreasing the risks of outbreaks. 

Hospitals are one of the busiest environments, providing round-the-clock service in high pressure situations. High concentrations of pollutants, odors from medical supplies, sanitizing activities, and bacteria from the patients can expose employees to health risks that would force them to go on sick leaves and create difficulties while doing their tasks. 

Are there any ways to manage hospital air quality?

  • Proper ventilation – Unlike any other buildings where welcoming proper air circulation is simple and quite less difficult, ventilation in healthcare facilities need stringent planning. Every hospital room has specific air ventilation requirements, therefore, systems designers, medical planners and engineers must work together to meet each unique demand. 
  • Waste management – various types of chemicals and gasses from clinical waste that spread through the air may pose harm to others. But with correct waste management and disposal, hospitals can ensure the safety of everyone and protect them from dangerous exposure to contaminated materials.
  • Air quality monitoring – To evaluate the effectiveness of the above air quality measures and to ensure safe indoor environmental conditions, healthcare facilities must conduct continuous air quality monitoring. Air quality monitoring devices make it possible to get instant air quality data which can be used to identify when a certain compound exceeds safety limits and immediately apply necessary improvements. 

Providing comprehensive assistance to patients and staff is a major competitive advantage for both public and private hospitals. With the above air quality measures and through the help of technology, hospitals can stay in the lead and promote themselves as institutions that put top of the line healthcare. 


  1. Citron Hygiene UK
  2. Gasmet
  3. Health It Outcomes
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