ASHE revamps construction ICRA to make it more specific, user friendly

by A.J. Plunkett (aplunkett@decisionhealth.com)

The American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) has updated the widely used infection control risk assessment (ICRA) for construction and renovation projects to make it more user friendly and specific.

Calling it ICRA 2.0, ASHE published the six-page assessment, as well as a sample construction project permit, online and made it accessible to both ASHE members and the general public, noting the “critical nature of comprehensive infection prevention.”

First introduced in the 1996 edition of the Facility Guidelines Institute’s Guidelines for Design and Construction of Hospital and Healthcare Facilities, the latest version of the risk assessment has been two years in the making.

The ICRA and permit offer greater specificity and are “more user friendly and more suggestive of what factors should be considered when embarking on a remodeling or building project,” said John R. Rosing, MHA, FACHE, executive vice president and principal of Patton Healthcare Consulting.

The assessment also expands the risk categories from four to five and adds more examples for each section to help assess potential problem areas.

“The new ‘checklist-style’ layout of the assessment and permit are more user friendly and more suggestive of what factors should be considered when embarking on a remodeling or building project,” Rosing said.

“The updated risk assessment provides a more granular approach to how to manage the process,” said Steven A. MacArthur, a senior consultant with The Greeley Company in Danvers, Massachusetts, “including updating the mitigation strategies to contemporary standards.”

The expanded number of classes “will result in the identified risks being managed in greater accordance with the level of risk(s) involved,” he said.

He recommended hospitals start implementing the new risk assessment as soon as possible.

Hospitals with “projects currently in the planning stage should certainly be using this and projects in their initial start-up stage would probably benefit from using the new tool, at the very least as a means of comparing the results. If I had just done an ICRA for a project using the old form, I’d be keen to see what protections/mitigations would be put in place based on the new algorithm,” he said.