Air filtration has always played an important role in health care facilities. However, the role of air filtration has been elevated as the manner in which health care is provided continues to evolve. Concerns over hospital-acquired infections and bioterrorism have propelled filtration solutions into the forefront as a primary tool for both infection control and engineering staff members. The main applications where air filtration solutions are employed are infection control, odor control, protection of mechanical equipment, facility cleanliness, and bioterrorism applications.
The three areas within a facility with the greatest concern for communicable disease control are rooms with known infectious cases (e.g., airborne infectious isolation rooms or AIIR), special treatment or procedures rooms (e.g., bronchoscopy, sputum induction, etc.), and areas that are most likely to contain undiagnosed infectious patients (e.g., emergency department waiting areas and treatment rooms). The likelihood of airborne contaminants leaving these rooms is reduced by keeping the rooms under negative pressure, relative to surrounding areas. Air is exhausted from these rooms either directly to the outside or through HEPA filters.