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5 Key Takeaways from the 2018 Hospital Construction Survey

Each year, Health Facilities Management magazine, a publication of the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE), releases the results of its hospital construction survey. And each year, we comb through the available data for the juicy tidbits that are most relevant to the infection control segment of the world and therefore most relevant to us and out customers.

This year, we can away with five key points that shed some light on the state of the industry. We have included them below with details on how these trends will influence the infection control needs of facilities around the country.

For the full survey results, visit hfmmagazine.com

Emergency Preparedness is Top of Mind

Since 1980, the US has seen a somewhat staggering increase in natural disasters. According to the Economist, the instance of natural disasters has more than quadrupled in that time period. It should come as no surprise, then, that this year’s hospital construction survey results were focused heavily on what is called “resiliency.”


Construction and Renovation

More than ever, in both new construction and renovation, hospitals are focused on resiliency with 89 percent of responding facilities indicating this was a key factor in their construction choices. Resiliency construction can take many different shapes but may involve such projects as moving generators to ensure they can withstand disasters, reinforcing rooflines, or investing in more robust equipment.



Although the HFM survey is specific to construction choices, it is also important to note that construction is of course just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to emergency preparedness. Even if a hospital’s facility withstands the ravages of a disaster, the personnel that remain in the facility must be prepared to care for patients under different circumstances. People from every department must be involved in disaster planning and preparedness.

Investments in Behavioral Health

When HFM first introduced their survey five years ago, only 17 percent of respondents indicated that were building or planning behavioral health projects. Results from the 2018 survey were much different with 53 percent reporting an in-process or planned project.

From an infection control standpoint, this is an interesting statistic because as this blog has discussed before, infection control can be overlooked in the behavioral health sector. As more facilities are built, it will be important for those facilities to retain high infection control standards both with behavioral health units and between those units and other departments.  


A Physical Shift in Primary Care

Increasingly, hospitals are becoming a place for only the most urgent or critical cases. Respondent to the HFM survey indicate an increased pressure to move primary care treatment to other facilities that are separate from hospitals, noting that as bed space becomes in high demand for aging baby boomers, it will be essential that those beds do go to the most critical cases.

Moving primary care cases away from a hospital can also be a smart infection control move since primary care patients will not bring their germs into a hospital facility where those with weakened immune systems could be more susceptible to them.

Microhospitals are in the Future

According to the survey results, 3 percent of respondents have plans for microhospitals, which typically house fewer than 12 beds. The percentage is small, but HFM does indicate that there is expected to be huge growth in this area as an innovative approach to hospital construction and administration. Microhopsitals could present their own infection control challenges. Fewer patients mean fewer pathogens coming in, but closer quarters and less room for infection control technology could pose undiscovered problems.

Overall, Things are Going Smoothly

More than 61 percent of hospitals that responded to the HFM survey reported that construction projects were being completed on time and under budget. With the right planning and clear goals, it is possible to keep things moving forward on schedule, which is good news for the hospital construction industry.


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