Everything to Know About Healthcare Facility Management
When it comes to healthcare facility management, there are a number of things that won’t apply to general facilities. This is a specialized type of management that requires strict adherence to policy, regulation, and safety. The management and team must have a unique set of skills that can quickly recognize, assess, and handle challenges while employing best practices to ensure the highest levels of efficiency, productivity, and effectiveness throughout the operation.
What Does Facilities Management Look Like in Healthcare?
Facilities management in healthcare has many different layers. It is more than just supervising maintenance and those assets, but deals with the security of the facility, operations, disposal of waste, construction, and more. This makes it distinctly different from managing a general facility. This type of management must consider infection control, the safety of patients, maintenance and repair, equipment, multiple areas of compliance, and making sure there are adequate resources to keep things running. Without these in place, the level and quality of care can quickly diminish.
How Facilities Management Affects the Patient Experience
When patients or visitors enter healthcare facilities, everything matters. From the quality of the air to the furniture in the room, they are seeking safety, comfort, and cleanliness. Healthcare facilities are charged with providing high levels of caregiving in every department. Their mandate is to provide safe environments while maintaining privacy, confidentiality, equipment, controlled substances, germ-free property, and more. When this is lacking, patients are uncomfortable and want to go to another facility.
Management must consider their comfort, engagement time, atmosphere, and communication that resonates with everyone, including their employees. When these areas are adequately addressed, it results in positive patient outcomes and experiences that enhance the overall quality of care. Understanding the impact of facilities management starts with understanding and being proactive, rather than reactive in handling multiple challenges.
Challenges in Healthcare Facility Management
There are many challenges in healthcare facility management, including keeping operational costs low, carefully maintaining all assets through a robust preventive maintenance program, creating the best energy efficiency, cleanliness of the facility, physical security, and access control. It can be difficult maintaining the supply chain and other areas without the right protocols and staff in place to ensure productivity is high and daily operations run as they should.
One of the largest challenges is ensuring that all equipment is properly maintained. With so many patients relying on equipment to run as it should when issues arise, it could cause a chain reaction. Doctors and nurses who rely on electronic health records can run into problems when the system is down. Facilities managers must prepare for times when emergency systems may shutdown, cutting off life-saving equipment. This makes having routine maintenance critical.
Another major challenge and area of concern is cleanliness. Healthcare facilities must work to keep the facility clean and infection-free. This is a high-risk area where if the cleaning routine is thrown off, it could create severe illnesses. The housekeeping department must be aware and alert at all times with a disinfection and waste disposal system in place. The HVAC system in the facility must also operate at optimal levels to ensure the air quality is always good, the facility has enough sunlight, and the cross ventilation is adequate. Infection control is of the utmost importance.
Healthcare facilities must also have regulation at the top of the list, as there are many rules, regulations, and protocols they must adhere to that are not a concern for other types of facilities. The way employees handle employee records, to how physicians treat patients, the way linen is handled, how waste is disposed of, and how food is regulated and maintained throughout the facility.
The Role of Technology
Technology plays a huge role in technology management. From the accessibility of electronic health records, to what information can be disseminated over the network, technology helps run the facility. Healthcare facilities have come to depend on technology in every aspect, from locking doors to maintaining their life support systems. All these must be regulated. Physicians and nurses also have tablets and other electronics that must be secured, and there must be a separate network where visitors can access the internet.
Technology is very important in maintaining healthcare facilities. Almost everything is automated and on some systems. Facilities maintenance software assists in making sure every asset has a regular schedule for maintenance, computers must work at optimal levels, and even the security team relies on technology to ensure visitors are checked and stored in the system.
Keep Your Facilities Healthy
One of the best ways to keep your facility healthy is to get everyone on the same page. The facilities management team must work in every area to ensure departments are performing as they should. This requires a facilities maintenance system that can track and observe each department, issuing schedules and compliance protocols for everyone to follow.
A healthcare facilities manager has a huge responsibility and needs a supportive staff that understands the importance of their roles. From contractual obligations, inventory, equipment and assets, emergency planning, the overseeing of building management and contracts, budgets, risk management, and sustainability, they must be prepared and ready to maintain it all. Using the right systems and processes is key.
With a responsibility to visitors, patients, healthcare personnel, and their vendors, facilities must operate with efficiency and safety. ServiceChannel can assist by creating an effective facilities management and maintenance plan to maintain compliance while delivering the safety, security, and protection everyone expects.
For more information, contact the team at ServiceChannel to source a team for you with ServiceChannel Managed today!