Stephanie H. Taylor MD M Architecture, CIC – Relative Humidity, Infections & IAQ
After working for decades as a physician, Dr. Stephanie Taylor, MD decided to obtain her Master's Degree in Architecture and an Infection Control Certification. Dr. Taylor is the CEO of Taylor Healthcare Commissioning, Inc. where her lifelong commitment to patient care focuses on improving the physical healthcare environment and clinical work practices to protect and help heal patients.
Nuggets mined from today’s episode:
From a young age, Dr. Taylor was interested in looking at the little things underneath. Like the human interaction between cells, tissues, and organs. She has done cell biology research, pediatric oncology, psychiatry and family medicine. Dr. Taylor observed that patients practicing hand hygiene and modified behavior were still getting sick and sensed that the building was involved.
When she tried discussing issues with facility managers she struggled with communications because clinicians and facility managers had different beliefs and lexicon.
After receiving her Masters in Architecture in 2005, she began to design hospitals. Her focus was on decreasing infections in hospitals. Hospital patients have increased vulnerability. She found the same infection trends in all types of buildings. She opined that hospital-related infections are underreported at 5%-10% and that a rate of 15% is more realistic. Pneumonia and pressure sores are common problems.
According to Dr. Taylor, humidity plays a big role in infection control. Maintaining RH at 40%-60% improves patient health and outcomes.
In 2014 she began tracking microbiome in a new hospital. Looking at patients she monitored 11 factors. She compared 8 million data points to patient outcomes and found an association between low RH and higher infection rates. This finding broadened her perspective. Holistically, the indoor environment affects the mind, human comfort, human energy, and immunity.
She learned that after becoming knowledgeable in one field that it is hard to start as a novice in another field. She was uncomfortable as a beginner. She wondered why the medical profession and building professionals don’t communicate effectively.
In operating rooms (ORs) doctors and nurses wear multiple layers of garments and PPE. Cooler, lower humidity air is preferred in ORs for doctor and nurse comfort. Lower humidity in the OR comes at the cost of more surgical site infections due to condensation.
Stephanie consults with hospitals, nursing homes, schools and hotels. She suggests that hospitals may begin to be used differently. While building codes may require patient rooms have windows and views, she offered the example of a beehive hierarchy where the vulnerable queen is kept in the middle,
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