Yangi Hospital's 'walk-thru' diagnostic booth wins domestic patent

By Lim Chang-won Posted : August 25, 2020, 10:45 Updated : August 25, 2020, 17:00

[Courtesy of H+ Yangji Hospital]

SEOUL -- A safe diagnostic system introduced for the quick screening of patients infected with a novel coronavirus obtained its first domestic patent. The patent has been applied by H+ Yangji Hospital head Kim Sang-il, who introduced a "walk-thru" booth for the first time in South Korea in February.

Yangji operates four booths to examine more than 100 cases a day. The booth keeps the virus apart from medical personnel, minimizes cross-infection and reduces the waiting time, the hospital said in a post on its website, describing its system as a "high-performance solution" for small and medium hospitals with no surplus space.

With a patented walk-thru system, K-quarantine technologies developed in the global crisis of COVID-19 have laid the foundation for proper protection and stable supply, the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIOPO) said in a statement, adding registered patent technology would be unveiled to 61 countries.

"We hope that creative K-Walkthru inventions will be protected by patents, thereby enhancing the motivation of developers to create and sharing knowledge with medical staff around the world by disclosing accurate technologies through patent specifications," Won Jong-hyuk, a KIOPO official in charge of bio-healthcare, was quoted as saying.

Usually, it takes about 30 minutes to screen one person because of meticulous disinfection. With a walk-thru system, it takes six or seven minutes. When a visitor enters a diagnostic booth, medical personnel take samples from outside to reduce the risk of direct contact. While the booth is being disinfected, another booth will take samples.

Yangji's walk-thru booth has the size of a telephone booth with transparent walls. Doctors can use a pair of gloves installed on the wall and consult through the phone. Stethoscope and pen-light are placed inside to examine patients. An ultraviolet light lamp is on and negative pressure is operated. Once the patient gets out of the booth, it is sterilized and ventilated for about 10 minutes.

Along with a drive-thru screening system that gained global attention, a walk-thru system has been introduced in South Korea to reduce the time taken for the screening of patients. In April, South Korea decided to promote walk-thru systems as the brand name of "K-Walkthru" and apply for an overseas patent.

A medical center operated by Seoul National University Hospital has adopted a "glove-wall" system that allows doctors to examine people from the other side of a protective wall. The glove wall system consists of a box-shaped room with a clear acrylic wall with a pair of hand holes which have oversleeves extended outwards so that medical staff can take samples.
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