Facilities management is a function that’s essential in every industry. However, healthcare presents some unique challenges for facilities managers. We recently spoke with Tom Pangurek, Business Development Manager at ARCHIBUS, about healthcare facilities management and the role of technology.
Question: Why is the facilities management department so important in healthcare organizations?
Tom Pangurek: In healthcare, it’s not uncommon for 60% of an organization’s budget to be devoted to the maintenance of facilities. The trend in healthcare today is to do more with less – as a result, leading organizations are interested in any steps that can be taken to reduce facility costs without compromising patient care. Technologies like facilities management systems offer many opportunities to improve equipment uptime and increase levels of operational readiness for healthcare providers.
Question: How is facilities management for healthcare different from other industries?
TP: Compliance is an important element of every aspect of healthcare, including the maintenance of facilities. When accrediting organizations, such as The Joint Commission, come onsite for surveys, they examine everything that impacts patient care and that includes different facilities-related factors such as cleanliness, exits being clearly marked and accessible, ability of the building to minimize effects of smoke and heat, safety equipment maintenance and more. Every day, healthcare facilities management teams must be proactive about these compliance concerns. Once an inspection or survey is underway, it’s too late to address facilities-related deficiencies.
Question: How are mobile technologies transforming healthcare facilities management?
TP: Traditionally when an issue occurred and was reported, the facilities manager needed to go to the site, review the issue and then schedule the work to resolve it. Today, mobile technologies, such as smartphones, make it easy to take a photo of a problem – such as an obstructed egress route or a cracked ceiling tile. It saves time because the facilities personnel can see an image of the issue right in their system and know how urgently they have to address it.
Question: What does the future of healthcare facilities management hold?
TP: One emerging trend is real-time task management which is especially important in healthcare. Let’s say a nurse finds a loose tile in a patient’s room and reports it. The facilities management systems can track the location of the issue and determine where the closest maintenance staff are located based on location information from their smartphones. The facilities manager can review the request and assign a work order based on the location of the maintenance staff as well as provide an estimated time of arrival. After maintenance completes the work onsite, they can virtually pick up their next work order and communicate to their supervisor, the requester, and the facilities manager that they are in transit. The facilities manager can also change project priority based on emergency needs, location of staff, and visual information received from occupants and other personnel. Real-time task management offers great transparency into facilities management work and has the potential to increase customer satisfaction levels. These capabilities are only possible, however through the integration of mobile technologies and facilities management systems.
To learn more about how the integration of today’s technology with facilities management systems can help your healthcare organization reduce costs, improve compliance, and increase customer service levels, contact IMAGINiT today. We have worked with numerous healthcare providers to integrate technology successfully into their facilities management teams and have seen the benefits they experienced when done correctly. What’s stopping your organization from doing something similar?