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San Fernando Valley Business Journal

Glass Doors Add to Safety in Hospitals
Waiting rooms use walls to divide and conquer viral infection.

By ANDREW FOERCH Staff Reporter

Rendering: Enclosed spaces marked ‘clean’ or ‘unclean’ keep germs under control.
Rendering: Enclosed spaces marked ‘clean’ or ‘unclean’ keep germs under control.

Are medical waiting rooms due for a redesign? Valley businessman Doron Polus thinks so.

Polus is chief executive of Sliding Door Co. in Chatsworth, a manufacturer and direct seller of glass doors and room dividers for homes and offices. Since COVID-19 broke out, the company has marketed its products to hospitals and urgent care clinics as a way to stop the spread of COVID-19 and maintain social distancing in crowded waiting rooms.

Polus told the Business Journal people want access to health care now more than ever, but concentrated populations of sick people make waiting rooms highly dangerous. He thinks this wxperience will change how people think about doctor’s visits even after the outbreak subsides.

“How can we separate people… to make them feel more comfortable and safe in the place where they are going to see a doctor?” he posited.

The Sliding Door Co.’s engineers had an answer: a product line called Wellness Glass Walls that aims to divide public areas into halves, quadrants or other sequestered spaces using floor-to-ceiling glass panels that block airborne particles and prevent cross contamination. The product line includes enclosed isolation “pods,” for use when dealing with potentially contagious patients. These pods feature a hands-free, food-operated door opener and signage on the front that marks the pod “clean” or “unclean.”

Polus said the walls and pods are easy to install and move around.

“The product is modular,” he said. “It’s like Legos.”

Pods come in single, double and triple sizes, and cost $3,300-$4,500, plus an installation fee. Polus opened an inbox on his website where medical providers in low-income areas can apply to have pods or dividers installed free of charge. So far, the company has provided office fronts for the administration area and consultation rooms at the David Geffen Medical Center at UCLA, Northridge Hospital Medical CenterMercy Medical Center in Paramount and more than 50 Quest Diagnostics locations.

That is one way Sliding Door Co. is keeping money trickling in amid the economic shutdown. Polus said the company has closed dozens of showrooms around the U.S. and furloughed a majority of its U.S. employees. Manufacturing is done in China.

The company has moved meetings online using video conferencing software, and is offering virtual showroom tours for clients who need to see products.

Though marketing has been directed mainly at hospitals and emergency rooms, Polus said he sees potential use for Wellness Glass Walls in both the office and the home. He predicts social distancing recommendations will stay in place long after the economy reopens.

“This is the new normal,” he said. “People won’t go back to their old habits.”

Polus said that would allow his company to break into several new markets. He is already considering schools, airport departure gates, dentist’s offices and more.

“In every situation, you look for opportunity,” he said. “We didn’t choose this. But there’s a need.”