S. Korean hospital showcases one-person swabbing booths for safer virus test

2020.03.16 16:13:31 | 2020.03.16 16:13:59

[Photo by Yonhap]이미지 확대

[Photo by Yonhap]

South Korea’s virus-test capability that showcased the first drive-thru to become an envy of the world raised its bar with the installment of one-person booth to ensure more safety against virus infection.

Seoul-based H+ Yangji Hospital said on Monday it has introduced a safer care booth to swab samples for coronavirus testing. The so-called `SAFETY` (Safe Assessment and Fast Evaluation Technical booth of Yangji hospital) is a one-person testing booth that separates the doctor and the patient to reduce the risk of mutual infection. The doctor uses the gloves attached to the booth to swab patients in the booth where the negative pressure is maintained. Four units of this screening booth are currently installed in front of the hospital building.

The testing booth (W: 700 mm, H: 2,050 mm) inspired by a bio safety cabinet, also known as BSC for handling hazardous materials in the lab was supported by field healthcare professionals who are taking care of patients at hospital checkpoints.

Drive-thru testing centers, for which Korea is touted as a model for other countries, has limitations because they require a large space available to vehicle users. However, the SAFETY can overcome these limitations by examining patients without cars and the elderly in a convenient and safe manner.

The current screening booth which mainly consists of containers and tents increases the patient`s discomfort due to increased infection risk, inefficient operation and long waiting time. A hospital`s negative pressure room installed inside the building is inefficient for testing inpatients. There is also the hassle of disinfecting the entire hospital room after screening. Medical persons who take samples from patients feel fatigue due to wearing a level D protective clothing and N95 mask for protection against infection.

The one-person care booth can be safe option for patients, medical staff, and disinfection workers with no concerns about droplet contact during swabbing.

An interphone in the booth allows the patient to interact with the doctor during testing. A stethoscope is attached to the booth to help the doctor check the patient’s condition accurately.

With high inspection efficiency, swabbing takes just 1 minute per person with safe screening guaranteed through quick ventilation and short disinfection time.

Up to 10 people can be tested per hour considering disinfection time when operating four booths simultaneously.

By Lee Byung-moon and Minu Kim

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