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Healthcare CMMS Enables Better Patient Care

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist
SpaceIQ

You’d be hard-pressed to find facilities more technologically equipped than hospitals and other healthcare environments. Today, the practice of caregiving is as much dependent on facilities and assets as it is on the physicians and nurses actually delivering it. To care for patients, hospitals need to also care for facilities. In that sense, an investment in healthcare CMMS is an investment in better patient care.

A healthcare CMMS puts vital upkeep and maintenance at the forefront of broader facilities management. It paves the way for accessibility across facilities by ensuring the amenities within them and the systems that govern them work as-expected for doctors, patients, visitors, and anyone else relying on them. A single-source of maintenance and upkeep also allows in-house maintenance staff to get ahead of potential problems, to prevent trouble from cropping up in much-used areas of facilities.

A healthcare CMMS solution allows hospitals and other facilities to put more of their attention on caregiving and patient care, without worrying about whether facilities will support them.

What is healthcare CMMS used for?

A healthcare CMMS is primarily used to ensure repair and maintenance tasks get their due attention. This can mean everything from schedule upkeep to immediate repairs, starting from the submission of a support ticket to assigning that task and allocating the expense. It’s meant to ensure upkeep and repairs don’t get lost in the ethers, so that healthcare providers can continue to rely on the facilities and amenities around them.

Below the surface, healthcare CMMS systems are actually cost-saving budgeting tools that help control the ever-rising cost of healthcare facility maintenance. Especially in larger hospitals and healthcare buildings that see thousands of visitors each day, there needs to be consistent focus on cost control. Healthcare CMMS helps facility maintenance managers review costs, plan for expenses, budget projects, allocate to different cost centers, and optimize the use of man-hours and resources.

At the end of the day, a healthcare CMMS serves as the framework for facilitating maintenance and doing it efficiently. With the cost of healthcare already high and demand even higher, keeping facilities working properly is paramount.

The benefits of healthcare CMMS software

Because it’s the standard for all maintenance actions within the healthcare environment, a CMMS quickly becomes a source of truth and action for those responsible for upkeep. This can include recognizing proactive maintenance opportunities, reducing servicing costs, and ensuring critical amenities get due attention in a timely manner. Here’s a look at the broad benefits that accompany CMMS use:

  • Better budgeting for recurring and routine repairs and maintenance
  • Better cost allocation and expensing to different cost centers
  • Expedited time to repair for support tickets and maintenance requests
  • Improved planning for capital improvements and large projects
  • More organized ticketing and task allocation through a CMMS
  • Archived repair and maintenance tickets for reference in the future
  • Access to prior servicing data and notes, to facilitate better future service
  • Automations to reduce time, cost, and manpower affiliated with repairs

Above all, these benefits translate into facilities that work as-expected, when needed. If a handicap-accessible entrance isn’t functional or the nurse paging system on the second floor is down, it directly impacts patients. Having these issues front and center in a CMMS ensures they’re dealt with and better-understood, so that there are fewer problems like them in the future.

How to implement a healthcare CMMS

Most healthcare facilities already have some sort of digital maintenance software. Unfortunately, legacy systems aren’t always cloud-enabled or broadly compatible with increasingly smart healthcare infrastructure. To capitalize on modern-day CMMS, hospital facility managers need to orchestrate a complete migration.

Migration can occur in many different ways, depending on the scope of data involved in the transfer. In some cases, it may be a simple import-export of data that takes place in stages, to ensure a proper port. In other cases, it may involve an extract, transform, and load (ETL) procedure, where data feeds into a data lake or structured warehouse before flowing into the new CMMS. Sometimes, a direct port is possible. In any case, it’s imperative there’s no data loss and that operations aren’t interrupted during the switch.

For facilities establishing a completely new CMMS, detail-oriented setup is imperative. That means taking the time to orchestrate information about each asset, maintenance and cost center information, and more. Triggers and hierarchy programming should also be a focus, to automate as much of the workflows coming into the CMMS as possible. Integration is also imperative—especially for healthcare facilities with IoT networks and other networked systems that offer relevant data for the CMMS.

Above all, it’s important to build failsafe and redundant systems into the CMMS, to ensure every critical system gets due attention during implementation and beyond.

The bottom line on healthcare CMMS software

As healthcare facilities become more robust, so must the management of these facilities. Moreover, demand for healthcare is at an all-time high and rising, which means facilities will get put to the test as more people seek care. To meet the needs and expectations of patients, healthcare professionals need to be able to rely on the facilities around them.

CMMS software brings facility maintenance, upkeep, and repairs to the forefront of managing a successful healthcare establishment. From urgent care facilities to specialty clinics, hospitals to general care offices, when facilities support caregiving, everyone benefits.

Keep reading: Hospital Facility Management Software and the Patient Experience

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Six Major Functions of CMMS for Schools

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

With all the activity college campuses see on a daily basis, upkeep becomes a major priority. From the buildings themselves to the assets and technologies within them, things are subject to breaking. Whether by age, malfeasance, or freak accident, it’s important to facilitate repairs as quickly as possible, to keep the campus accessible and safe. To do this requires nothing short of a full CMMS for schools.

Considering the sheer volume of support tickets colleges see on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis, a CMMS provides invaluable benefits. From digital logging of tickets to automatic assigning to craftspeople, campus managers get plenty of mileage out of a well-managed CMMS.

What is CMMS?

A Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) is a digital system for processing maintenance requests. Ideally, it handles the complete life cycle of maintenance from request, to delegation, to execution, to archiving, and, if necessary, recall.

CMMS platforms are generally automated. Someone submits a maintenance ticket through a web portal, which enters a queue. Within the queue, it’s delegated to the right department via a tag, such as “IT service” or “general repair.” Once jettisoned to the right department, it becomes a work order and goes into the daily work log. From there, it’s either handled by an in-house craftsperson or outsourced to a vendor based on a service-level agreement (SLA).

When a craftsperson fulfills the work request, it’s archived accordingly. If it’s integrated with a digital twin, that record becomes part of the life cycle maintenance profile for a particular asset. If it’s a standalone system, it’s easy to search and recall service requests within the CMMS for future reference.

Functions of CMMS for schools and colleges

While many campuses have some form of support ticketing and work request strategy, the shift to CMMS is invaluable—especially on larger campuses. Here’s a look at some of the ways universities benefit:

  1. Maintain facilities. The most obvious benefit of CMMS is that it is a more efficient way to maintain and repair facilities. Instead of being passed from person to person across departments, CMMS provides a point of access for anyone who needs to submit a ticket.
  2. Keep tech accessible. CMMS that accepts IT support tickets is especially invaluable. Campuses are increasingly technology-driven, and faster attention to items that need repair means learners can continue to use them as-needed.
  3. Improve campus safety. Some maintenance items are downright hazardous—think downed power lines or a shattered window. The ability to flag urgent repairs in a CMMS ensures they receive the attention they need to keep the campus population safe.
  4. Reduce distractions. The warped door that keeps banging shut. The buzz from a damaged projector. Untended maintenance items are distractions. CMMS expedites time to fix and allows for more complete fixes—especially for repeat offenders.
  5. Boost spirit and pride. A well-maintained campus is an enjoyable one. Students and teachers want to feel like the facilities around them are well-kept and cared for, not derelict and damaged. Beautiful, maintained facilities evoke a sense of pride.
  6. Coordinate craftspeople. Most campuses don’t have a “maintenance department.” Instead, they have a team of craftspeople tasked with addressing specific types of maintenance. CMMS makes it easier to coordinate people and projects by skill.

These functions come together in one big benefit: a campus that meets expectations. When everything works as-expected and as-intended, fewer obstacles stand between teachers, students, and their education. The benefit of CMMS for schools comes from its ability to provide an environment that’s accessible, functional, safe, and comfortable.

Keep facilities accessible to eager learners

Whether it’s a damaged door or a faulty projector screen, anything that doesn’t work the way it’s intended to becomes an inconvenience. In some cases, it impedes the education of students; in other cases, it’s a distraction—or worse, downright hazardous. In any case, the best way to make sure an issue gets due attention is to have a system for fielding requests and prioritizing them appropriately.

A college CMMS system provides a complete, efficient ecosystem for facilities maintenance across campus. From tech support to trade-related repairs, a CMMS makes it easy to identify and understand a problem and get to work on a repair. CMMS not only expedites the time to repair, it keeps the campus functioning as it’s meant to, so that students, faculty, and visitors can continue to have a positive experience.

Keep reading: Space Planning for Schools: A Bird’s Eye View

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What is Asset Property Management?

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

There’s plenty of overlap in the world of asset management and property management—after all, property is an asset. That said, asset property management is a confusing concept that overlaps with real estate and portfolio management. To make matters more confusing, there’s also the concept of “property asset management” to consider. It begs the question: what is asset property management?

Facility managers need to get familiar with the concept as part of a broader understanding of how to oversee facilities. Here’s a look at where asset property management falls into context alongside other forms of asset management and property management.

What is asset property management?

Asset property management is part of the spectrum of asset management. It trends toward the macro end of the scale:

  • Asset management involves oversight of assets
  • Property management involves oversight of property
  • Property asset management involves oversight of properties as assets
  • Asset property management involves oversight of assets within properties

The difference between “property asset management” and “asset property management” is largely semantic. Most companies practice both in conjunction with each other, which further adds to the ubiquitous nature of the definition. Moreover, most facility managers and portfolio managers see property and property assets as one in the same. For example, it’s difficult to separate the HVAC system from the building it’s tied to. For all intents and purposes, they’re managed together.

Asset management in the real estate market

There is one important distinction to make when looking at assets within properties and the property itself: one of value. The overall value of real estate comes from many individual factors. In commercial real estate, capital systems play a significant role in the value of the building.

For example, a building that is in great shape but has poor HVAC may cost more in upkeep, raising the total cost of ownership. Conversely, an older building with great HVAC may be worth less, but operates more efficiently. When it comes to evaluating these buildings, portfolio managers need to consider how the assets that govern each property play into the total value of the holding.

Put another way, asset property management plays a big role in portfolio management. If the sum total of capital systems in Building A costs more than the sum total of an identical Building B, it’s a sign of the need for better asset management. The decision to act (or not to act) contributes to the value of that building within the company’s broader real estate portfolio.

Tips for better asset property management

The golden rule for asset property management is to be proactive, as opposed to reactive. While it may seem counterintuitive to spend money up front on maintenance, this ideology manifests in saving asset managers the cost of unanticipated, unexpected repairs.

Similarly, tracking the asset over time is an important part in managing it. Through inclusive asset tracking it’s possible to identify upcoming maintenance, budget for costs, understand cost of ownership, and more. All this factors into keeping capital assets in functional condition.

Finally, it’s important to understand assets in context. Consider a building with an antiquated HVAC system. While it might run smoothly, there’s no guarantee it’s running efficiently, which could cost building operators more than they realize. Moreover, it might contribute to a stuffy atmosphere within the workplace—or worse, Sick Building Syndrome (SBS). Looking at cost and upkeep alone aren’t enough. Asset property management needs to include context.

The goals of property asset management

The goals of asset property management are cost reduction and ROI optimization. Managers need to first justify the cost of an asset, then work to optimize its returns beyond the break-even point. For capital assets within real property, this means looking far ahead at the entire lifespan of an investment.

Take, for example, renovations that upgrade the efficiency of facilities. There’s an immediate cost to undertake these renovations, however, they’ll return value through both the efficiency upgrades and the productivity they enable. The goal of an asset property management approach is to reach that break-even point as quickly as possible, and to enhance the ROI beyond that. This means staying on top of upkeep costs in order to minimize them and understanding how to measure and record ROI.

Ultimately, the role of good asset property management is to extend the life and value of an asset, in order to ensure the ROI reaches the highest levels possible.

Software improves property asset management

As is the case for many modern-day facility metrics, asset property management is best tracked using software. IWMS or CMMS software provide critical insights about the cost of operating facilities—particularly their capital systems. These asset insights lay the groundwork for how much it costs to operate a property and set the benchmark for its performance against other real estate holdings. Moreover, they provide insight into how to better-manage individual property assets.

There’s significant opportunity in treating capital systems and properties like the assets they are within the context of facilities management. The more attention given to the cost, upkeep, ROI, and utilization of assets, the more opportunities are available to better govern them.

Keep reading: Property Asset Management Strategy Plus Goals and Benefits

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Where to Get a Healthcare Facility Management Degree

How to Become a Facility ManagerBy Dave Clifton
Content Strategist
SpaceIQ

Healthcare is a booming industry for a number of reasons—an aging population, health epidemics, and the rising cost of healthcare administration among them. With rising demand comes an increasing need for optimization, specifically when it comes to facilities management. This, in turn, pushes demand for qualified professionals with a healthcare facility management degree.

What is healthcare facility management?

Healthcare facility management differs from general facilities management in numerous ways. While space allocation, optimization, and efficiency are at the core of the practice, there’s a much larger dynamic at-play. It’s important that, when they seek healthcare, people are able to get it with as few obstacles as possible—and that their experience is as positive as possible. Much of this experience comes from the availability and navigability of healthcare facilities.

For those who want to pursue a healthcare facility management program, there are plenty of options. Here’s a look at six of the top healthcare facilities management schools in the country and the programs they offer specific to healthcare-focused professionals.

1. Cornell University

One of the eight prestigious Ivy League schools, it’s not surprising that Cornell University offers a healthcare facility management degree. The certificate program is available through the college’s virtual learning program, which makes it highly accessible to anyone who wants to explore this modality while attending a top-rated school. Cornell’s healthcare facilities management program consists of four core courses and four electives, of which students need to select and pass two. It’s an affordable option that carries the prestige of the Cornell name with certification.

2. Brigham Young University – Provo

The Brigham Young University – Provo healthcare facilities management degree isn’t a standalone degree—rather, enrollees will end with certification as a Facility and Property Management (FPM) specialist. That said, healthcare facility administration is a core focus of the program. It’s a program that has won several national awards and it ties into key areas of the college, instead of teaching concepts in isolation. Participants need to be on-campus to participate at this time.

3. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

The Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University healthcare facilities management degree is an offshoot of its broader healthcare administration track. Those pursuing a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration will study facility management intensively, to understand the relationship between facilities and patients, medical staff and visitors. This is one of the more robust programs on this list, as it’s a full 120-hour bachelor’s degree and not just a certificate.

4. Temple University

Temple University offers a full bachelor’s program for its facility management degree, and enrollees have the option to choose a specialty within the degree. Many choose Temple’s program because of the healthcare facilities management track, which leaves them with an opportunity to gain one of three designations upon graduation: Facilities Management Professional (FMP), Sustainability Facility Professional (SFP), or Certified Facility Manager (CFM).

5. Missouri State University – Springfield

Healthcare facilities management at Missouri State University – Springfield falls under its Hospitality Leadership degree program. This track offers broad-ranging insights that lend themselves to someone seeking a future in facilities management at a large healthcare facility, such as a major hospital or research facility. This bachelor’s program is one of the most well-rounded for those looking to immerse themselves in the prevailing concepts of healthcare facilities management—everything from clinical staff management to hospital IT and security.

6. Wentworth Institute of Technology

The Wentworth Institute of Technology offers both undergraduate certificate and masters’ programs for facility management. For those in pursuit of a career specific to healthcare facilities, the undergraduate track is more focused in this area (the masters’ program trends toward manufacturing facilities management). Graduates will find themselves with IFMA accreditation and the education they need to affect real change in healthcare facilities of the future.

Choose a program focused on healthcare

Facility management isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept—especially when it comes to healthcare. Each of the above schools offers a program designed to prepare graduates for the nuances of facilities management within the healthcare industry. More important, graduation from any of these programs will land you as a Certified Healthcare Facility Manager (CHFM)—a professional recognized by the American Hospital Association (AHA).

Is it possible for someone with a facility management degree or experience to transition into the realm of healthcare facilities management? Absolutely. That said, it requires no small commitment. For those looking ahead and considering healthcare facilities management, the smart option is to pursue a degree-specific program and graduate as a CHFM. Look into any of the programs above to get started.

Keep reading: How to Become a Facility Manager

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Five Pillars of Government Facility Management Software

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

At its core, managing government facilities is very similar to managing commercial facilities. While there are differences across the various aspects of facility function and expectations, the core areas of focus are largely the same. It’s why more and more municipal building managers have turned to government facility management software as a way of overseeing facility operations.

In the same way commercial facilities management software provides a top-down look at buildings and everything they touch, government FM software does the same. Facility management software for government agencies provides insight into the core areas of focus for running a building that’s efficient, welcoming, sustainable, and cost-conscious.

Here’s a look at the five pillars of municipal facility management, and how government facilities management solutions help direct them.

1. Space management

Government buildings vary tremendously. Consider the simplicity of a suburban police station vs. the complexity of a federal courthouse in a major city. Despite the broad difference in size and complexity, these spaces all demand the same astute oversight. Facility management software helps level the playing field.

For smaller, less complex buildings, it’s about making the most of limited space. For larger, more diverse buildings, the focus is on accommodating many different people, needs, and expectations. Space management software assists on both fronts and bridges all gaps between—from emergency preparedness planning to room booking and space reservations.

2. Energy management (sustainability)

As we push into a greener future, governments need to lead the charge. From new LEED Certified government complexes to old buildings with sustainability initiatives in place, facility management software provides a top-down view for managing building sustainability. And, combined with BIM data, there’s ample opportunity to turn government facilities into stewards of environmental sustainability.

In this realm, facility software can help monitor energy usage and costs, deliver insights on green improvement projects, monitor sustainable benchmarks, and more. The most important thing to remember is that it quantifies this data, which allows government facility managers to contextualize and report on these figures in a public way.

3. Maintenance management

According to research conducted in 2018, the average age of federal government buildings in the United States is 60 years old—and growing older with each passing year. Upkeep is paramount, alongside modernization and improvements. To identify and undertake cost-efficient, necessary projects like these, facility managers need digital tools. Facility management software is key in facilitating internal upkeep, managing contracted services, and planning future refurbishments.

Some of the crucial features available to municipal building facility managers include service and support ticketing, digital twins for asset management, vendor management tools, and more. Digital insights allow for more specific reporting of building maintenance needs, which informed everything from better budgeting to bidding and capital expense planning.

4. Capital project management

Speaking of capital projects, facility software is instrumental in overseeing these value-add initiatives. Whether it’s building improvements, sustainable projects, or a transition to new operational practices, capital projects demand critical oversight. Specifically, managers need data and phase planning capabilities to facilitate and report on them.

Software consolidates the most important aspects of capital project management into a single resource. FMs can manage the design, funding, bidding, procurement, resource management, and reporting of projects through a system designed to deliver insights against benchmarks for budget, timeline, ROI, and more.

5. Real estate management

Government-operated facilities span a broad scope. It’s vital to see each and every property under a municipal umbrella as its own cost center. Management software provides the high-level figures for each facility, so local and federal entities can accurately budget, report, and make decisions about how to occupy and manage various buildings.

Because real estate and leasing costs are taxpayer funded, it’s critical to have transparent data about each facility. Using this data, portfolio managers and other decision-makers have the insights necessary to act accordingly—whether that means improving utilization of certain facilities or divesting others that may be too heavily subsidized.

Great software makes it easy to manage each pillar

While distinct, each pillar of government facilities management plays an important role in the function of the building at a high level. The best government facility management software makes it easy for FMs to focus on each individual pillar, while still understanding how it contributes to the whole of the building.

For municipal buildings especially, there’s emphasis on cohesion. Constituents expect governments to run a tight ship, and to make use of government facilities in a cost-efficient, sustainable way. Facility management software isn’t just key in providing these results—it’s imperative in proving them.

Keep reading: Government IWMS Software: 10 Must-Have Features

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Facilities Management Software in Australia: Must-Have Features

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

CRE costs in Australia face turbulence from the fallout of COVID-19. Nevertheless, they remain relatively high, which means tenants and occupants need to stretch their investment over every square inch carefully. The best way to do this is through facilities management software in Australia. That means using software that’s feature-rich, rife with the capabilities Australian businesses need to operate with efficiency.

There’s a strong market for facility management software for Australian companies. That said, not all software is equal, and not every program offers the same level of opportunity when it comes to features. Here’s what to look for when choosing facility management software to govern your business’ facilities and operations.

Floor planning and stack plans

At its core, a successful facilities management program needs space visualization features. The two most-used and most important are floor plan and stack plan features. In the quest to maximize space as an investment, these tools are essential. They enable facility managers to coordinate, plan, and optimize space in any setting, no matter the variables involved.

The best software will not only offer space visualization tools, it will support these tools with value-add features. For example, a stack plan might come with the ability to see cost center data alongside space allocations. Or, a floor plan might feature programmable parameters to ensure new floor plan designs don’t violate building codes. The more features within floor plan and stack plan capabilities, the more useful they are.

Move management tools

Now is a period of flux for many Australian businesses. They’re reconsidering space and using this opportunity to relocate to new facilities that better-support operations. To do this efficiently takes a robust suite of move management tools.

Look for facilities management software that simplifies relocations of all types and complexities. This includes everything from checklists and task delegations, to messaging integrations and asset management features. While moves may not be a routine part of your operations, many of these features lend themselves to agile workplaces. It’s important for companies to evaluate these tools and understand how they apply to any shuffling or relocation opportunities ahead.

Asset management resources

Facility management software in Australia needs to include asset management resources. As they strive to maximize their space, Aussie companies need to also consider the assets within that space. From copy machines and break room appliances to capital systems and high-value equipment, mindful asset management improves both top- and bottom-line prospects.

The biggest opportunity for companies to optimize facilities is through preventive and proactive maintenance. This also necessitates a CMMS component, which many broader facilities management platforms offer or integrate with. Digital twins are also an important factor here, since they’re digital representations of assets, from the building itself to the systems within it. Software that offers these features enables Australian companies to maximize their management of high-value assets and their contribution to the business.

Wayfinding and directories

For companies occupying larger facilities or broad campuses, wayfinding is vital. It’s important that employees and guests are able to navigate to specific areas quickly. But wayfinding and directories offer so many more opportunities beyond navigability. They’re also instrumental in visitor experience, safety, convenience, and collaboration.

Look for software with a strong emphasis on wayfinding and directory capabilities. It’s not enough to have a lookup system that helps people find each other. Wayfinding also needs to bridge into space booking, access control, and everyday operations. Implemented correctly, wayfinding helps employees and visitors alike make the most of the space available to them—a factor that can improve space utilization and ROI.

Room booking and space reservations

More and more Australian businesses have embraced agile workplaces. To govern them accordingly takes hoteling software and room booking systems. You’ll find both in the top facilities management software. This includes features that make it easy to search and book workspaces, whether on-site or off-site. Moreover, these systems are also instrumental in providing statistical data about space efficiency. This enables further optimization and cost-efficiency.

Whether your business has shifted to flex work or wants to promote a more dynamic workplace, room booking and reservation software is essential. It’s quickly making the “must-have” list of demands for Australian companies embracing space flexibility.

Look for features that support your business

The best Australian facilities management software is the one with the features and capabilities to match your operations. Even if you don’t need a specific feature, it’s nice to have it available as your business grows and your needs evolve.

If COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s that workplaces will continue to adapt as the workforce does. The Australian commercial real estate market is proof of this right now. With new expectations from employees and shifts in workplace regulations, facility managers need plentiful tools to adapt facilities in a way that meets these new expectations. Facilities management software is the key to not only weathering change, but continuing to adapt to it.

Keep reading: Selecting the Right Facility Management Software

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Healthcare Facilities Management Improves Patient Experience

By Devon Maresco
Marketing Coordinator
SpaceIQ

Hospitals and healthcare facilities are scary, unfamiliar places—or at least, that’s the way we see them when we’re admitted. It’s one of the biggest challenges in the healthcare industry to make a hospital or clinic seem like a warm, welcoming, relaxing place. It’s tough, but not impossible. An above-and-beyond approach to healthcare facilities management has a powerful impact on patient experience—and even recovery prospects.

The concept behind healthcare facility management isn’t much different from any other commercial space management. The building and everything in it need to support the actions and activities of the people using them. With an experiential focus, there’s opportunity to transform the hospital environment from a confusing, daunting place, to an environment conducive to comfort.

What is healthcare facility management?

Healthcare facilities management focuses on coordinating facilities, assets, and people to concentrate on delivering the highest standard of patient care. In the healthcare setting, there are also layers of compliance, security, and emergency planning involved. It all adds up to a functioning healthcare environment that’s enabling to medical professionals and comfortable for the people they’re treating.

Healthcare facility management needs to be agile, dynamic, and careful. These facilities move very quickly—whether it’s a one-hour outpatient appointment or a marathon inpatient procedure. That means coordinating space, people, assets, and resources with steadfast precision, to avoid delays that could be critical to a person’s health. There’s a lot of pressure—but at the same time, healthcare facilities are some of the best-run in the world.

What is the function of healthcare facilities management?

Whether it’s a hospital with 1,000 beds or a small urgent care clinic with five rooms, the core premise of healthcare facilities management is the same: to empower the highest standards of care. Whether they need a diagnosis or are in for a complex surgery, healthcare professionals need complete support from facilities to treat patients.

The function of facilities management is to enable caregiving in all forms, at the highest level. Other functions of healthcare facilities management include:

  • Facilitate a safe environment with minimal cross-exposure
  • Maintain patient privacy, comfort, and accessibility during their stay
  • Protect people and property, including records, controlled substances, and equipment
  • Simplify navigation for professionals, patients, and visitors
  • Coordinate the use of shared equipment and resources, to ensure timely care
  • Control costs associated with complex business lines

All of these distill down into an equally important benefit alongside the enablement of care: patient experience.

Factors that affect patient experience

Patient experience in the hospital environment hinges on so many factors. And while these factors vary from facility to facility, situation to situation, they’re all rooted in facilities management. Some common contributors from a facility standpoint include:

  • Time to wait, including for appointments, diagnoses, testing, and procedures
  • Comfort in facilities, including for inpatient stays or while navigating
  • Atmosphere, such as access to natural light, fresh air, and privacy
  • Transparency, or the ability to understand where they are and what’s happening

Numerous other factors contribute to patient experience, including their interactions with staff and their prognosis. Even these variables have roots in facilities. For example, well-coordinated floors can reduce the runaround for nurses, who in-turn have more time to spend with patients and who can be more personable since they’re not rushed.

The smoother the patient’s transition through healthcare facilities, the better the experience. The same goes for doctors, nurses, and specialists. When facilities aren’t a hindrance, they become an enabler of great patient care and a superior patient experience.

Tenants of good healthcare facility management

Good healthcare facility management comes down to two main factors: agility and control. You can’t have one without the other in a healthcare setting.

Say, for example, there’s a surgery scheduled at 2pm but a triage case comes in at 1:45pm. This situation doesn’t have time to develop—there’s a life on the line. Good facility management has contingencies to facilitate this shift from scheduled to emergent, and to do it quickly. Moreover, it needs to happen in a way that doesn’t compromise the health, wellbeing, privacy, safety, or integrity of either party.

This example and countless other real-world, everyday situations prove the need for agility and control as the two tandem variables governing healthcare facilities. Even in non-emergent situations—such as appointment clinics—a practice’s ability to deliver the highest caliber of patient care (and remain profitable doing it), stems from agility and control.

The powerful impact of facility management

A curious thing happens in well-managed healthcare facilities: people get better, quicker. Several studies show a strong correlation between a comfortable, stress-reduced physical environment and the healing prospects of patients. One study from 2012 titled, A Healing Environment, notes the myriad of ways in which well-orchestrated facility management positively impacts patients—from indoor air quality, to room orientation, to amenity comforts, and a dozen other factors.

For patients, their families, and the healthcare staff tending them, facilities management is imperative. It improves the patient experience, which folds into the primary objective of modern facilities: to heal with compassion. Whether it’s supporting healthcare staff as they administer care or enhancing the quality of life for those recovering, facility management is an imperative focus in the modern age of healthcare administration.

Keep reading: 9 Tips for Better Healthcare Space Management

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What is Demand Maintenance in Facilities Management?

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist
SpaceIQ

Especially in larger workplaces, it’s virtually impossible to keep tabs on every single facet of maintenance. Larger companies rely on employees to be their eyes and ears for emergent aspects of facility upkeep. Support ticketing and incident reporting unlock a new aspect of facilities maintenance: demand maintenance.

What is demand maintenance? It’s on-demand facilities maintenance that pairs prompt solutions with emergent problems. It’s the perfect way to augment a maintenance continuum that already includes preventive, reactive, and corrective maintenance. To work effectively, it requires a robust system of incident reporting and the means to respond to tickets submitted.

An overview of on-demand facilities maintenance

Demand maintenance consists of tasks performed out of necessity. These are issues that require reactive repair, and the best way to learn about them is through ticketing and reporting. Judith reports a problem with the standing desk at Workstation 044. Maurice submits a ticket about a parking lot pothole. These are problems that are emergent, but not urgent. They’re likely to go unresolved until someone reports them. When reported, it shows demand for service.

There’s also a planned component to demand maintenance, where applicable. Pest control, for example, is a form of demand maintenance. It’s best not to wait for a pest problem to generate demand. It also falls outside the realm of preventive maintenance, since there’s no guarantee of a pest problem by not treating for them. In such a case, there’s still demand for the service.

Demand maintenance needs a system to function

Demand maintenance only works if there’s a system to qualify demand and justify a solution. Companies need to rely on a software infrastructure—the likes of a Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS), or similar. It’s easy to program ticketing software to quickly categorize types of maintenance and assign them appropriately.

For example, the system might flag the words “elevator” and “broken” in a ticket, then mark that ticket as “specialized.” The in-house team will review and confirm, and schedule an elevator repair specialist. On the other hand, if the ticket is about something simple, it gets filed into the daily queue and assigned to a maintenance staff member.

The key in meeting demand maintenance is follow-through. A CMMS or other routing system is great for processing requests. But who’s filling those requests? It depends on the nature of the demand. There are two ways to approach facility maintenance on demand: in-house and outsourced. For most companies, the solution is a mixture of both.

Small, common problems are quick to address in-house, while specialized solutions may come from a vendor. It’s the difference between fixing a door and repairing an elevator. In many cases, an integrated facilities maintenance approach is the solution: a single-source provider that can act with agility.

How demand maintenance augments other maintenance

Demand maintenance is an agile form of maintenance that augments a broader facilities upkeep approach. It falls somewhere between corrective and reactive maintenance. It’s reactive in the sense of solving a problem that’s already happened, yet corrective in the sense that you can plan an on-demand solution and coordinate the best approach.

Demand maintenance also offers benefits that other forms of facility upkeep can’t. The simplest is employee ownership. When employees submit a ticket and see that problem resolved, they feel good about it. They vocalized a problem and saw action, which fosters a better culture. Employees are proud to help maintain their workplace and appreciate the ability of the company to listen to them and respond.

Flexibility is also important. It’s impossible to be proactive in every form of maintenance—yet, pure reactive maintenance might not be the best solution. Demand maintenance is an intermediary for businesses. And, with a CMMS to gather data about demand maintenance tasks, it’s possible to improve preventive and planned budgets, while optimizing responsiveness to reactive maintenance tasks.

Reap the benefits of on-demand solutions

Demand maintenance exists to safeguard against the unplanned and unanticipated. There’s no telling when the chair at Workstation 032 will break or if the refrigerator in the break room will suddenly die. These problems aren’t on a routine checklist and there might not be a corrective solution. Instead, these problems get resolved when they’re reported. It’s up to facilities managers to create a system for reporting them.

Demand maintenance is only as effective as it’s enabled to be. A robust reporting and ticketing system, budget allocations, and actionable solutions are what make it an integral part of total facilities maintenance.

Keep reading: Get Familiar with a Facility Maintenance Plan

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How to Measure IWMS ROI

By Dave Clifton
Content Strategist
SpaceIQ

The shift to flexible work and the new desking concepts that support it has led to an even larger reliance on workplace software. Nothing provides support for workplace governance quite like an Integrated Workplace Management System (IWMS). This comprehensive solution for digital workplace management gives facility managers the tools they need to manage a workplace in real-time. Not only that, it’s a window into workplace optimization on a broad array of levels. These benefits and more are evident in IWMS ROI.

IWMS ROI occurs at both top and bottom lines of a company’s balance sheet. The cost savings of an efficient desking concept vs. new opportunities for revenue by enabling employee productivity. Here’s a look at how to measure IWMS ROI through various lenses, depending on how your company utilizes this software.

What is IWMS?

First, a quick recap of the many ways IWMS software touches the different facets of a business’ operations. While IWMS applications vary greatly from organization to organization, the capabilities of these systems are broad. Some of the broad pillars its features encompass include:

  • Space planning and management
  • Workplace and employee experience
  • Real estate optimization and utilization
  • Facilities, maintenance and asset management

IWMS is the digital system through which facility managers can document, observe, oversee, and improve workplaces and facilities at large. It provides powerful reporting capabilities for whatever application it’s deployed to serve—which gives facility managers plenty of opportunity to track its ROI.

Space planning and management

The simplest way to measure the ROI of IWMS software in regard to space planning is to observe classic space-related metrics. Use available data to set the benchmark for these metrics, then peg improvements after IWMS implementation. Some of the core metrics to track include:

  • Capacity, occupancy and density
  • Overall and space-specific utilization rates
  • Cost per head and cost per seat
  • Mobility ratios

Historical data will tell the story of how IWMS insights help facility managers improve these metrics and do more with space. Especially as we enter the era of flex work and a mobile workforce, it becomes more and more important to make sure space meets the needs of companies and users in a cost-efficient way.

Workplace and employee experience

It can be difficult to put a price on employee experience and workplace culture. The best way to peg these benefits is through quantifiable metrics that have costs attributed to them. Say, for example, a company does a Net Promoter Survey and finds that happy employees are 26% more productive than the mean, and unhappy employees are 45% less productive than the mean. Apply these percentages to the revenue generation benchmark per employee to recognize the impact of workplace experience.

Quantifying emotion, opinion, sentiment, and other intangibles can provide insight for IWMS ROI. For example, if workplace sentiment averages 64 out of 100, the mean hourly revenue generated by a sales team might be $50.40. With IWMS improvements to create a more comfortable, supportive work environment, that average rises to 81 out of 100 and revenue of $64.50 per hour. Here, you can say that IWMS ROI in terms of workplace experience equates to $14.10 per hour in new revenue. Real change and real numbers make for meaningful ROI.

Real estate optimization and utilization

Calculating IWMS ROI at the real estate level is easy—chiefly because real estate management is inherently numbers-driven. Attributing ROI is a matter of understanding what changes an IWMS enables and how those changes trickle up to the macro level.

For example, if a new floor plan created through IWMS results in better cost per head, that’s reflected in the high-level ROI of the building within a portfolio. When the time comes to extrapolate positive changes across different locations, that location’s cost per head will come up as a model for broader company efficiency.

IWMS has a direct connection to lease costs and operations. Facility managers can gauge positive trends, cost savings, and new revenue tied to operations after implementing IWMS to see the value of software as a driver of improvements.

Facilities, maintenance and asset management

Asset management is one of the simplest avenues for IWMS ROI calculation. In many cases, it’s as simple as taking maintenance budgets or costs from prior years and comparing them to new strategies enabled by digital asset management tools. If the cost of facilities maintenance drops by 18% year-over-year thanks to proactive action through IWMS, the ROI is the dollar value associated with those saved costs.

There’s also ROI in each instance of smarter decision making. If IWMS data projects $1,000 in annual maintenance costs for a piece of equipment, the decision to use it for three more years makes more sense than to spend $6,000 on a new model. Or, at the very least, there’s an ROI in being able to budget for it.

IWMS ROI transcends dollar values

Calculating IWMS ROI requires companies to look at all the different ways IWMS enables better operations. In some cases, that means operational costs saved. In other situations, it’s the top-line growth made possible by IWMS innovations. Beyond even these facets of ROI, there’s one more to consider: the intangible benefits.

It’s difficult to put a dollar value on happy employees or comfortable workplaces—yet, these are major drivers of ROI. It’s essential to factor in not only the dollar figures that show up on the balance sheet, but also the intangibles that IWMS brings to a smooth-running, well-managed workplace environment.

Keep reading: 8 Benefits of IWMS for Smart Building Management