Healthy Facilities™

Why PC4HS Uses ICM

By IEHA

Integrated Cleaning and Measurement (ICM)â„¢ is an open-source quality and effectiveness tracking system - owned and administered by the non-profit IEHA (formerly the International Executive Housekeepers Association). ICM's goal is to integrate measurement into the cleaning processes used in commercial and public facilities - enabling improvements in cleaning outcomes through the use of measurement tools and well-chosen metrics. These may include enhancing productivity based on time studies, or improving levels of cleanliness by measuring soil with devices such as ATP meters or particle counters. These methods are set as an improvement over traditional visual inspections (or “white glove tests”) operating under the assumption that if it looks clean, then it must be clean.

Early predecessors of ICM to take a scientific approach to evaluating cleanliness included taking swabs from environmental surfaces and culturing the results in a growth medium to confirm the presence of pathogenic organisms. This process was used extensively in health care in the late 60s and early 70s. While this method provided hard evidence, widespread implementation was hampered, as results could take days and be very costly.

In recent years, hand-held and other inexpensive devices have been introduced that can measure both surface and aerial contaminants which are capable of providing nearly instantaneous measurements of soil levels.

Integrated Cleaning and Measurement (ICM) is designed to capitalize on these recent innovations in measuring cleanliness and aims to implement more reliable, objective programs to determine the environmental and hygienic result of the cleaning process, and help ensure a cleaning process that yields repeatable, positive results.

Proponents of ICM believe that other measurement-driven improvements resulting from a successful ICM program include increased customer satisfaction, enhanced safety, reduced worker turnover, fewer worker injuries and lower labor costs. Advocates of an ICM program recommend that the system is most successful when all aspects of the cleaning program are a part of a master plan - i.e., are integrated - yielding an empirical total systems approach that governs decision-making.