By Dave Clifton
Content Strategy Specialist
There is a reason that, despite being fast-paced, high-intensity environments, many hospitals do not necessarily feel that way. Short of the triage unit and emergency center, most hospital wings and wards feel organized and well-orchestrated. They are ready to respond, always calm, cool, and collected. The secret rests in the oversight afforded to managers by hospital facility management software.
It is impossible to manage hospital operations without a system of guidance. Everything from patient conditions, to their privacy, to the equipment of the hospital and the staff with the skills to deliver care falls under the guise of operations management—and all this falls within the realm of facility management. For hospitals, the facilities are what matter, and they deserve careful and continuous oversight.
How is facility management done in hospitals?
There are two parts to hospital operations: available facilities and the people who need them. If you have two people who need MRIs and two MRI machines, it is straightforward. If you have nine people who need surgery and only three operating rooms, there is much more to consider. What makes hospital facility management so complex is the sheer scale of it all. It is not just MRI machines or operating rooms—it is hundreds of different spaces and pieces of equipment, and thousands of patients who need them.
Hospital facility management software connects the many sides of a hospital to the ebb and flow of demand from patients. While every hospital has different wards—oncology, urgent care, cardiac, pediatric, etc.—each unit has limited space, resources, and equipment available to it. Hospital facility management maximizes the resources of each unit, to ensure the quickest and best levels of patient care. This, in an environment fast paced, demanding, and often unpredictable.
Examples of hospital facilities management
The power of hospital facility management software stretches across a wide breadth of solutions. Here is a look at some of the most basic examples of how hospital facility managers employ software to deliver strategic solutions to patients on a regular basis.
- There is a pandemic and the hospital needs to schedule float nurses to staff accordingly. Facility managers look at occupied beds to staff the proper number of nurses per ward, per shift, taking from other units with less need.
- John is being discharged from urgent care to a rehabilitation wing after breaking both his legs. He is placed in an unoccupied room near the rehab facilities he will use to recover, close to a wheelchair accessible washroom.
- St. Mary’s Hospital is seeing a spike in drug-related hospitalizations. The hospital decides to repurpose part of its triage center to deal specifically with administration of care to patients with addiction.
These examples are only a microcosm of how facility managers orchestrate the caregiving environment to meet patient needs on a daily, hourly, and even by-the-minute capacity. This flexibility and agility are also the reason otherwise-chaotic hospital wards feel well-ordered and ready to adapt.
What is the function of healthcare facilities management?
The core function of hospital facilities management is to improve the patient experience. Patients do not necessarily need to know why hospital operations are set up the way they are. All they need to take away from their experience is the feeling they received great care, in a timely manner, in an environment that put them at ease.
Facility management happens behind the scenes in hospitals. Patients rarely see the coordinated effort it takes to deliver the experience they receive—and this is ideal. They know they can come in for an appointment or an emergency and get the care they need in a prompt fashion.
The growing demand for facilities management for hospitals
There’s still significant room for improvement in the realm of hospital facility management. Though down from a decade ago, emergency room wait times are still almost 40 minutes at peak hours. Likewise, many hospitals still face difficulty pathing patients to specialty wards with expedience.
As healthcare demands in the U.S. and around the world grow larger by the year, more demand for hospital services will put more emphasis on efficient and effective use of available facilities, equipment, people, and resources. Facilities management in hospitals will become more important than it already is.
Complexity beyond description
It is impossible to contextualize the sheer scope of hospital facilities management in one article. From coordinating urgent care, to orchestrating patient movements, to delegating space by demand, and beyond, there is a reason most hospitals put entire facility management teams at the helm of robust software. There are fewer environments more complex and fewer instances where the need for stringent oversight is more important.
Keep reading: How to Select the Right Facility Management Software