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Why dehumidification solutions are critical for diagnostic labs

Dhirendra Choudhary
Wednesday, July 13, 2022, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Over the years, healthcare sector has emerged as one of the largest sectors in India. Various factors are driving the growth of the sector. The improvement in healthcare facilities over the years coupled with enhanced services and the coming in of the advanced technological equipment has played a major role in strengthening the healthcare infrastructure. A lot of new-age equipment is being used to expedite the process with no scope for error. Along with this, the increase in the income of people has made healthcare facilities accessible to the general public. If we compare our healthcare facilities to the last decade, there has been significant growth and the pandemic has only propelled it further.

For instance, the stagnant mode of life in the current age is a precursor of various lifestyle diseases which has intensified health awareness in recent years. Due to the increase in overall life span too, people after attaining a particular age prefer to go for interim/timely health check-ups. It would be right to say that healthcare plays a crucial role in the overall well-being of people. With this changing phenomenon, diagnostic is an intricate part of the industry that helps in the early detection of the ailment to provide timely and suitable medication ahead to avoid any serious repercussions in the future. There was a time when people went for tests only after a recommendation from the doctor. But as stated above, given to emerging lifestyle diseases have made people conscious, where they go for tests at regular intervals of time to keep a proper tab on their health conditions. As a result, there has been an exponential rise of diagnostic labs backed up with highly advanced and competitive equipment that helps in giving highly accurate and fast test results. This has all happened because of the technology becoming advanced; helping the industry to work together and benefiting the society at large.

The importance of the diagnostic centre was more starkly felt during the Covid-19 period. The high rate of transmissibility accounted for the exponential spreading of the disease. Looking at the intensity of the situation along with the deadly nature of the disease, there was an incessant need to increase the frequency of tests and at the same time take proper care to deliver accurate results to seek medical help immediately. Failure in providing correct results could take a toll on the lives of the people suffering from the coronavirus.

Considering the diagnostics, the centres have advanced machines that are very sensitive to the surrounding environmental conditions and given to the complex nature of tasks undertaken by the machines it is imperative to provide diagnostic labs with controlled stable environment to operate optimally for maintaining the accuracy in results.

The instruments in diagnostic centres majorly constitute of electronic components which are acutely sensitive to even the slightest presence of moisture/humidity beyond the optimum level. Moisture is a source of deterrent with the potential to immensely damage the machinery. In addition to having high corrosivity power, humidity is also responsible for condensation on the lens surface that can impair the vision and result in faulty reading. Thus, by intervening with the smooth functioning of the machines it causes recurrent malfunctioning which substantially reduces their life cycle. Along with this malfunctioning can also be responsible for the elevated maintenance cost of these highly expensive equipment. Most importantly, it can meddle with the research process as it can trigger erratic reading due to frequent recalibration consequently compounding to inaccurate readings.

The incorrect results invariably impair the credibility of the lab/centre and also put their reputation at stake as the faulty test results brings to question the health and safety of the patients and hurt their faith in the particular lab. This necessitates protecting the machines against uncontrolled humidity and temperature fluctuations. Hence, in diagnostic centres it is critical to maintain optimal temperature along with humidity levels.

To achieve the stable environment conditions, desiccant dehumidifiers must be installed at the diagnostic centres to control even the slightest fluctuation in the humidity level. By maintaining the optimal humidity level, dehumidifiers invariably add to the life of the equipment by substantially reducing their malfunctioning.

In addition to giving erratic readings, moisture menace can even take a toll on the samples taken for testing. It can immensely contaminate the specimen as the collection (culture/stool) samples are inherently vulnerable to get impacted from the environment and require optimum humidity level for storing and testing. High humidity can increase the overgrowth of bacteria and lead to sample contamination which can impact the accuracy of the test result. Here, dehumidifiers are critical in achieving and providing sterile and hygienic environment through the elimination of high moisture content from the surroundings.

While talking about the issue of humidity in diagnostic labs, it is equally important to focus on manufacturing of these complex and highly advanced equipment. Any mistake at the time of manufacturing is responsible for faulty machines with the ability to create havoc in the lives of patients by giving test results full of error. Moreover, in the recent times people are enthusiastically opting for self-testing kits giving rapid results that can be used at the convenience of home. Given to the rising preference of these kits, it is mandatory to maintain perfect environment in the manufacturing setup. Manufacturers of laboratory equipment recommend maintaining a temperature between 20°C and 27°C and relative humidity between 40 per cent and 50 per cent.
(Author is chief executive officer of Bry-Air)

 

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