Healthcare estates account for a major proportion of the world’s built environment. While many are leading edge digital facilities, others are faced with the challenges of providing advanced medical care amidst crumbling infrastructure. However, when it comes to safety compliance, healthcare facilities throughout the world are expected to demonstrate excellence in governance. Advances in technology have meant that optimising estates management and maintaining compliance within the healthcare sector has become more achievable and efficient.
Integrated systems for instant alerts
Adopting integrated software systems within a healthcare facility can help ensure that safety standards are maintained at the highest possible level. For example, the temperature of a cold store may be set not to rise above -12°C. This would usually be monitored by a BMS tool or as part of the freezer controls, which will normally trigger an email if there a problem. This then has to be picked up by a help desk which in turn generates a job.
By utilising integrated software, rather than the request alerting someone who has to manually raise a work order, the computer aided facilities management (CAFM) system automatically generates a maintenance job, specifying the timescale for attendance by the designated in-house operative or outsourced contractor. The software creates a full audit trail, detailing the times the job was created, started and completed, to fully support legal and regulatory compliance.
New tech for old estates
This kind of technology is not only possible in a brand new state-of-the-art healthcare facility, but can be fitted to existing estates. The Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability in London, UK, is by no means brand new – it was founded in 1854, expanded in 1868 and between 1901 and 1985 three of the five wings were added to the original building, which now spans nearly five hectares. After trialling and developing bespoke software technology solutions in selected hospital wards, a new software system was installed across the whole estate in just six months. Now the efficient logging of tasks and reduced failure rates achieved through the use of integrated software fully supports its enhanced health and safety performance.
Managing SLAs through FM software
Because most healthcare facilities require extremely high compliance standards in maintenance, service delivery and cleaning, FM contracts are expected to meet rigorous Service Level Agreements (SLA) and Key Performance Indicators (KPI). In one Canadian hospital where 20% of the new hospital’s patient rooms were specialist infection control rooms, exacting standards had to be met. To help meet the demands, a totally paperless system was introduced with iPads running the software. Housekeepers’ uniforms were modified so that a mobile device could fit in their pockets and iPads attached to maintenance trolleys which enabled devices to become the operators’ main communication method. This both improved the overall performance of the contract and also enabled the facilities team to provide comprehensive data to help prove that performance levels were being maintained.
In addition, by consolidating all of the software into one system, covering all of the soft services (catering, cleaning, porterage), as well as all of the hard maintenance services including medical equipment, estates assets, space management and compliance, the healthcare facility could ensure total consistency in how they operate and how they report. Therefore, with one supplier relationship to manage, one help desk number to call, one contract to negotiate, and one purchasing process to negotiate, significant cost savings could be achieved.
Complimentary white paper
This article on healthcare compliance is taken from Service Works’ white paper, Optimisation of Healthcare Estates Through Technology, covering a number of themes including QR codes for maintenance, mobile communication and space planning. Click here to request your copy or contact us for more information.