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HefmA 2016 - Using FM software for space management for cost cutting and efficiency

This year’s HefmA conference focused on the patient journey, reminding the industry that as the heart of the healthcare sector, the patient should be considered across all operational decisions.

Saving Money Through Communication

Proceedings began with speaker Chris Lewis, who recounted from his own experiences in battling with cancer. As the NHS is such a large institution, the biggest problem it faces is weakness in communication, says Chris. He described his circumstances where the cancer is in remission but his body continues to suffer the side effects of treatment, so access to services is difficult. Hospitals need to consider all aspects of patient care – from arrival in the hospital car park and the assistance received at reception, to follow-up care at home after their appointment. By improving these processes, long-term sufferers feel supported and re-admissions are reduced, saving the NHS money.

Lord Carter Report

Following on from this, the Lord Carter Report was discussed, which confirmed that £5bn could be saved through productivity and efficiency measures. It reported ‘significant unwarranted variation’ between hospitals and resource areas, and made 15 recommendations to help trusts improve their performance.  Utilisation of space was marked as a challenge for estates teams, with a target of just 2.5% unoccupied or under-used space by 2020. They are also expected to reduce energy costs through smarter energy management systems, as well as put in place a general cost-reduction plan based on the benchmarks identified by the report.

Accurate Record Keeping in Estates Management

Part of the problem identified within estates management is record-keeping, as without accurate reporting, there is no in-depth insight on which to base managerial decisions. The review recommended improving the data added to Estates Returns Information Collection (ERIC), which in turn will improve performance benchmarking. This database requires in depth information relating to service costs, utilised floor space, hard and soft maintenance costs, and details of incidents reported.

FM Software for Space Management

FM and estates management software was identified as an easy, accurate method of reporting on these factors, especially for space management which was touched on again later in the conference while looking at cost reconfiguration. FM software, such Service Works’ QFM Space, can provide a visual representation of the value of different spaces used throughout the site, as well as allowing the forecast of future space requirements and the creation of multiple ‘what if’ scenarios to help planning and decision making. Through the use of software, NHS hospitals and trusts will be able to update ERIC easily, using more accurate information, as well as uncover and rectify inefficiencies to increase productivity and reduce costs.

To find out more about how QFM can help create efficiency and accurate reporting in your organisation, contact us on 020 8877 4080 or email info@swg.com.

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