Door Counters

Door Counters for Hospital Operating Rooms

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Door counters can be an important tool to help decrease surgical site infections (SSI) in operating rooms.

Positive Pressure Systems

Hospital operating rooms use positive pressure systems to keep air from entering when the doors are opened.  This also prevents germs from entering the operatory as well.

Limits to the Positive Pressure System

The positive pressure system, or laminar airflow systems, will not work optimally if the doors to the operating room are opened too often during the procedure.  Depending upon the type of procedure and the logistical and physical setup of the operating room, personnel can go in and out as much as once every minute.  This makes it very difficult for the positive pressure system to work as intended.

What is an Electronic Door Counter?

Door counters are a subset of what is referred to as electronic people counters.  Most of these technologies sense and count people.  However, door counters sense and count how many times a door is opened.

Door counters generally use the same magnetic door sensors used in alarm systems on doors and windows.

How does the Door Counter Work?

There are actually two parts to the magnetic sensor.  First, is the magnetic sensor itself, which is mounted on the door frame, near the edge, so that it is close to the door.  The magnetic sensor is connected to the door counter with a wire.  The second part is the corresponding magnet.  This magnet is mounted on the edge of the door, such that when the door is closed, the magnet and the magnetic sensors are very close to each other.

When the door is closed, the magnetic sensor can sense the magnetic field of the magnet, and therefore knows that the door is closed.  When the door is opened, the magnet moves away from the magnetic sensor.  At this point, when the magnetic sensor no longer senses the magnetic field, it knows that the door has opened, and sends a signal to the door counter via the attached cable.

How can an Electronic Door Counter Help?

With any problem, before we can fix it, we need to be able to measure it.  This is where an electronic door counter comes into play.  Ideally, baseline readings of door openings should be taken for a number of operating room procedures. Also, you can use large variety of interface material.

Then, incremental changes can be made, and then observe the door opening count to see if it made a difference.  This trial-and-error process of incremental changes can continue until the operating room or hospital personnel are sufficiently satisfied with the changes.

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