ASHE released four new monographs this year in an effort to build the body of knowledge surrounding health care facility management and help those who work to improve the physical environment. ASHE monographs cover single topics related to health facility engineering; planning, design and construction; clinical and biomedical engineering; and safety and security management.

"These monographs are a way to share knowledge with ASHE members and others who strive to optimize the physical environment in hospitals and other health care facilities," says ASHE Executive Director Dale Woodin, CHFM, FASHE. "ASHE is committed to being the top resource for this type of information and will continue to publish papers on topics im­portant to our profession."

Two recent monographs are available to the public — including those who are not ASHE members — on the ASHE website. One deals with operating room setback strategies and the other focuses on health care-associated infections from an engineering perspective.

Adopting operating room setback strategies can save hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers energy and money by allowing temperature or humidity settings to fluctuate in operating rooms when the room is not in use. However, finding the right setback solution requires consideration of the local climate, facility type, code requirements and user needs. The monograph highlights some of the issues health care organizations should consider before moving forward with a plan to implement operating room setbacks.

The monograph on health care-associated infections, the newest monograph posted on the ASHE website, delves into the role of the health care environment in infection prevention and control. The paper explains strategies used to address infection prevention in health care facilities. The paper outlines the advantages and potential shortcomings of strategies to reduce health care-associated infections, and includes a wealth of background information on the pathogens commonly found in health care facilities.

Two other monographs released this year — one focusing on converting medical units for safe use by psychiatric patients and another on achieving compliance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency's National Incident Management System — are available to members-only on the ASHE website.

ASHE plans to continue publishing new monographs and to update existing papers. For instance, an upcoming monograph will summarize the storage requirements for medical gas cylinders in health care facilities. The monographs can be found on the ASHE website at

This month's column was written by Deanna Martin, ASHE's senior communications specialist.



ASHE insight

Resources available

ASHE offers a number of valuable resources at special prices to professionals in the health care industry.

They include the following:

  • Health Facility Commissioning Guidelines. Written by health care professionals, this resource helps optimize construction or renovation delivery. It enables project teams to deliver cost-effective and efficient health care facilities that yield the desired return on investment. The guidelines can help ensure a suc­cessful transition from construction completion to a sustainable, high-
    performance operation.
  • Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities. The 2010 guidelines cover minimum program, space and design needs for all clinical and support areas of hospitals, nursing facilities, freestanding psychiatric facilities, outpatient and rehabilitation facilities, and long-term care facilities. They also include new material on acoustics, patient handling and movement, patient safety, bariatric patient care, cancer treatment and emergency services. For information on purchasing either of these valuable references, click here.