Sonicu's Blog

A Comparison of Room Pressure Monitoring Systems for Hospitals

Written by Joe Mundell | Nov 11, 2020 5:50:39 PM

Where is Room Pressure Monitored in Hospitals?

Whether you are designing or managing healthcare facilities, safety is a crucial concern. In isolation rooms, operating suites, pandemic preparedness areas, and hospital pharmacies, it’s all about safety.

These rooms need the correct airflow to control the movement of airborne pathogens, keeping patients, and medical staff safe.

Depending on the application, a particular room may need to maintain either higher or lower room air pressure compared to adjacent rooms or hallway.

A room with higher pressure maintains positive room pressure preventing outside air from entering (example; sterile rooms). Conversely, the room with lower pressure is at negative pressure, preventing air (and airborne pathogens) from leaving the room (example; isolation rooms).

This relative room pressure difference is often called "differential air pressure".


Sonicu recently launched its SoniShield View room display which captures real time and historical data to replace the ball in the wall system while improving compliance readiness. 







How is Room Pressure Monitoring Regulatory Compliance Achieved?

Many healthcare facilities utilize simple physical devices, commonly called "a ball in the wall" to indicate relative air pressure differential.

While these devices are inexpensive and at first glance seem to meet the minimal threshold for compliance, they create operational issues for building managers, safety officers, and administrators trying to get empirical data showing actual HVAC performance over time, and a record of room pressure compliance across their facilities.

Organizations like The Joint Commission are becoming more rigorous about performing regular room pressure inspections and strictly enforcing regulations regarding room pressure.

An inspector's walk-through may show which rooms are in compliance, but because "ball in the wall" devices are simple good/bad indicators, they provide no historical data that can be recorded and analyzed to determine compliance trends, and/or identify problem areas.

This means there is no data to show an inspector how compliant an organization is, or how problem areas have been identified and resolved.

Facility managers in hospitals struggle to maintain adequate staffing resources, and manual logging of room pressure data requires a person to walk the floor(s) and physically record their visual inspections, which still only shows a snap-shot of room pressure at that time.

This case study from Indiana University Health shows how they leverage room pressure monitoring to improve efficiency.


How to Free Up Valuable Staff Time while Removing the Antiquated Ball in the Wall

This labor-intensive practice is subject to human error and takes staff away from performing their primary responsibilities. 

As regulatory entities drive organizations to implement improvements to patient safety, the leaders within health care facilities across the country must adapt to keep up.

Wireless room pressure sensing solutions that are accurate, reliable, and automatically log pressure data 24/7 are a valuable tool in the fight against infectious disease. 

Room pressure monitoring effectively "future proofs" your facility, and removes the burden of recording and logging data from valuable staff members. By staying ahead of regulatory bodies like The Joint Commission, you have the opportunity to save valuable time and money that is better spent improving patient health.

The typical Sonicu customer realizes about $80,000 in labor savings per 100 hospital beds. 


What is My ROI (return on investment) for Wireless Cloud-Based Monitoring?

Today, there exist a number of automated room pressure monitoring systems for hospitals that provide higher return on investment (ROI), compared to manually logging and reporting room pressures.

Unfortunately, the majority of these systems require retrofitting the hospital building automation system (BAS) to achieve data acquisition. BAS integration with these devices can become time-consuming, expensive, and disruptive to implement.

This is problematic if hospitals need to change monitoring protocols quickly due to increased regulatory rigors, or create and monitor new isolation rooms, as we are seeing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that continues to intensify. 

Sonicu provides an immediate ROI when compared to both manual and legacy systems currently being used in hospitals today. 

To calculate what your expected ROI would be with cloud-based monitoring contact Sonicu to schedule a convenient appointment with a monitoring specialist.

Every situation is different, but calculating ROI only takes a few minutes, and it's a great opportunity to get your questions about cloud-based monitoring answered.

Because the Sonicu platform is designed for healthcare enterprises, it natively supports a variety of other monitoring applications including; temperature monitoring of freezers, refrigerators and equipment, -80˚freezers and cryogenic, ambient room temperature and humidity conditions, and much more.

All monitoring applications are seamlessly integrated into the SoniCloud monitoring dashboard for total operational visibility. To see all applications visit

SoniCloud Software Platform Dashboard


How Does Wireless Cloud-Based Monitoring Work?

Sonicu leverages digital sensors to transmit data via Wi-Fi, 4G/5/G LTE, or Ethernet, to the secure, cloud-based software platform SoniCloud, which is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS) for maximum data security and reliability.

Facility personnel including Admins, Users, and Managers benefit from the ability to remotely view real-time pressure conditions for each monitored room via the SoniCloud dashboard, AND pull up historical data to quickly generate compliance reports.

Locally, flush-mounted displays provide actual room pressure for each monitored location as shown below.

Color-Coded, On Site Local Display


The SoniCloud platform includes the SMART Tools software suite, where all data is automatically aggregated and compiled into regulatory compliant reports designed to meet the requirements for Joint Commission, HFAB, BoP and others.

The SMART Alerts alarm handler is a very robust, tool that can be configured as needed to ensure staff is alerted by text, phone, or email (or all three) quickly if room pressure is falling outside of the desired range for a determinable duration.

The flexible monitoring platform also supports BAS integration if requested, and it can be accomplished through an API, without the disruption caused by hardwiring into the BAS system. 

What Does the Future of Cloud-Based Monitoring Look Like?

Since 2008, cloud-based, wireless monitoring systems have emerged that are quickly becoming the de facto standard for a wide variety of monitoring applications.

This is because these systems automate data logging and reporting 24/7, provide better data security, better operational visibility (with granular detail if required), and better ROI with the lowest cost-of-ownership model.

Sonicu's wireless room pressure monitoring is a "future proof" choice for hospitals looking for a cost-effective, easy to deploy, highly accurate pressure monitoring system that scales easily as their needs change.

Software and firmware updates are provided as they become available to ensure future compatibility with new features. 

To learn more about room pressure and room conditions monitoring visit:

To speak to a representative call: (317) 468-2345 or email: