John Penny, M.AIRAH

Viscon Systems
Improving standards for hospital patient isolation rooms

Infectious diseases such as influenza, measles and COVID-19 can be spread by airborne transmission. In many cases, a patient being treated with an infectious disease is placed in a negative-pressure isolation room, which acts to contain the disease and stop it spreading to other patients or healthcare staff in the rest of the facility.  

Although the current standard of continuous monitoring of negative pressure verifies that contaminated air is exhausted out and away from the patient and staff, air quality can still vary significantly between facilities. Seeking to maintain or exceed HVAC guidelines, many hospitals have adopted engineering controls that include directional airflow and technologies that are reliable, responsive, and effective in reducing airborne particulates. 

Penny will compare hospital HVAC guidelines and engineering controls applied in Australia, the US and the UK with respect to patient isolation rooms. Based on these findings, the presentation will suggest a pathway for Australia to help better protect patients and healthcare staff from the risk of airborne infectious diseases.
About Penny

Penny is an experienced project engineering specialist offering expertise and products for measurement and control of ventilation, pressurisation and humidity. His recent portfolio includes hospitals, cleanrooms and research laboratories such as The Kinghorn Cancer Centre (NSW), The Westmead Institute for Medical Research (NSW), and UniSA Cancer Research Institute.

Penny approaches problems with considered and in-depth consultation. With more than 30 years of experience in the industry, he has substantial expertise drawn from working at Honeywell and engineering consulting firm Arup.

He is passionate about sustainability – aiming for energy-efficient outcomes that benefit the customer, end-user and environment. Quality is also a key driver in his promotion of products and systems that meet project requirements and ensure lasting outcomes.