Recognizing the crucial roles that facility design, operations and management play in controlling and reducing healthcare-associated infections, JLL has released a white paper on the findings. Synopsis:
WHAT IF you could design and manage a healthcare facility in a way that helps you control and reduce health care associated infections (HAIs)? More than just a daydream, the thought is a clinical goal and business necessity for the leaders of the nation’s hospitals and health systems.
The pressure to control and reduce HAIs is coming at hospitals and health systems from all directions.
It is no surprise that hospital and health system executives are making the control and reduction of HAIs one of their top clinical and financial priorities. But making it a priority and doing something about it are two different things.
To produce this 2016 Healthcare Outlook white paper, JLL Healthcare Solutions assembled a panel of seven healthcare facilities management infection control experts and asked them to identify facility-related strategies and tactics to control and reduce HAI rates at hospitals and health systems. Their collective advice fell into three buckets for healthcare executives:
- Facility design
- Facility operations
- Facility management
Better Design for Better Infection Control
When building a new facility or renovating an existing site, hospital and health system executives should make infection control as high an economic consideration as cost. They should factor into their design decisions the long-term savings from effective infection control against the short-term costs of adding design features that will contribute to effective infection control.
The best way to do that is to visualize the patient care space as a complete environment, according to Michael Chisholm, vice president of compliance at JLL Healthcare Solutions. Once you’re able to visualize the patient care space as an environment – whether it’s an operating room suite, patient room, clinical laboratory, waiting room or outpatient exam room – you must consider whether the environment has the optimum electrical, mechanical and plumbing capabilities and optimum workflow design to prevent infections, Chisholm says.
An example of an optimum environmental capability is the ability to filter the air and maintain positive air pressure in an operating room suite to catch and expel airborne bacteria that can lead to surgical site infections, one of the HAIs that hospitals are required to report to the CMS.
An example of optimum workflow design is the placement of hand sanitizers and medical waste containers in patient rooms, according to Susan Silverman, senior vice president of healthcare project and development services at JLL.
Building materials, furniture, fixtures and décor also are being rejected or selected based on their ability to cause or reduce HAIs. Silverman cites non-acoustical ceiling tiles, copper surfaces, foot-operated sinks and glass-encased privacy curtains as innovations that reduce infection-causing bacteria counts.
There is a balance that needs to be struck between initial cost of facilities and long-term operations when designing healthcare facilities. Most of the focus is on designing aesthetically pleasing healthcare facilities that support healthcare delivery. However, infection control mitigation costs are not factored into the initial facility ROI projections, which often leads to increased downstream operational costs to mitigate risk, says Elizabeth Chaney, managing director for architecture and planning at JLL.