Infection Prevention is a critical element underlying every aspect of the healthcare
environment, but it is often overlooked during the design of a new facility, leading
to decisions being made in a vacuum without proper expertise. By reversing this paradigm
and involving Infection Prevention as a key stakeholder from the outset, far-reaching
decisions can be made holistically, influencing everything from flow of clean and
dirty equipment to placement of airborne infection isolation rooms and beyond.
To develop two new facilities for a major hospital system, leadership established
a multidisciplinary team to shape a bottoms-up approach. Maturing from space allocation
to department-specific requirements to operational logistics and the day-to-day user
experience, this team is working to optimize design from a staff and patient perspective.
Crucially, while this team incorporates representation on a unit-by-unit basis, it
is founded upon a core group of system leaders, architects, and infection prevention
and regulatory subject matter experts, ensuring a high standard of quality across
Halfway through the initial design phase, this approach has yielded a number of pivotal
decisions. For example, the team designated separate clean and dirty elevators while
mapping a travel path to minimize cross-contamination. They provisioned for a breakdown
room in departments with voluminous deliveries to segregate packaging material from
clean supplies. They ensured that sanitization stations were logically allocated throughout
each unit, removing barriers from the hand hygiene process. These and other choices
would not have been possible without Infection Prevention being a foundational stakeholder.
The unique contributions enabled by this bottoms-up, multidisciplinary approach demonstrate
that this paradigm for facility design presents distinct strengths. Establishing a
core leadership group that prioritizes subject matter experts as key stakeholders
inherently drives higher quality standards for facility development, and key lessons
learned should be extracted and implemented for other large-scale construction projects.