Proactive Facilities Management for Healthcare & Hospitals
For facilities managers in most large buildings, there’s a saying: fix it when it breaks. Often, this means: fix it when someone complains. But hospitals and healthcare facilities don’t have that luxury. Facilities management in healthcare requires a proactive approach; the unique role and high stakes of hospitals and other medical facilities mean you have to be able to fix systems before they break and well before anyone complains. Today, that means using advanced technologies to ensure optimal conditions at all times while improving efficiency and reducing costs.
The Problem of Traditional Maintenance
Covid has awoken widespread concern about the importance of air quality in both public and private indoor environments. But in healthcare facilities, these concerns are not new. In these environments, air quality must be prioritized at all times. This is in addition to the typical concerns facilities managers have about HVAC, lighting, security, and other critical building systems.
These systems can’t fail because lives depend on them—and that’s why facilities managers must take a proactive approach to maintenance.
Traditionally, this has required a lot of human effort. Technicians regularly review the operation of each piece of equipment manually, ensure it is operating within acceptable parameters, and take action to fix things if needed. Ideally, this can reveal any issues before they turn into serious problems. However, it has major drawbacks:
Expensive, time-consuming, and labor-intensive.
Requires a high degree of skill and accuracy from technicians who are often working on tight schedules.
Problems that arise after the inspection may go unnoticed until they become major malfunctions.
In practice, manually proactive approaches are actually largely reactive; you react to what you are seeing at any given moment. This can not only increase the risk of expensive repairs and significant downtime, but also compromise the wellbeing of patients and staff.
A proactive maintenance approach powered by analytics offers a better way. With an advanced analytics platform, facilities management for healthcare facilities can become more efficient and small anomalies don’t have to become big problems.
Analytics Empowers Proactive Maintenance
Integrating building systems and adding analytics gives you a single-pane-of-glass view into everything that is happening in your facility. You can see when something is going wrong, anywhere. But it’s not just a window; an analytics platform is a tool for action.
A platform with machine learning capabilities and advanced fault detection and diagnostics continually mines data to flag anomalies in real time. By intelligently prioritizing alarms, offering pragmatic suggestions for corrective action, and allowing for automated adjustments to setpoints, the maintenance process can be transformed. You no longer have to chase after every alarm, rely on inefficient time-based equipment checks, or wait until someone complains to take action.
Analyzing data from all connected systems and applying advanced machine learning algorithms also:
Provides deep insight into how building systems interact
Helps you uncover opportunities for short and long-term improvements
Offers more accurate predictions as datasets expand
Continually refines automation over time
All of this helps to ensure optimal system-wide performance, prevent equipment overuse, and minimize downtime. In an environment where so much is on the line and even a small HVAC malfunction can be dangerous, this is invaluable to keep systems up and running while allowing maintenance workers to focus on what’s most important.
Supporting Health and Safety
Unifying conventional building systems can go a long way toward improving hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Now, smart technologies allow you to take that to the next level.
IoT sensors allow you to track critical variables that impact health and safety. These include:
When these sensors are integrated into the building management system with an analytics layer, you can gain advanced room-by-room automation capabilities. For example, ventilation can increase or decrease according to occupancy. Temperatures can be adjusted as waiting rooms fill up. Lighting can be dimmed or turned off when natural light is enough to illuminate an office.
Not only does this improve comfort and keep patients safer, it also optimizes energy efficiency; energy is not wasted on cooling empty meeting rooms or keeping lights on when lobbies are filled with sunlight. This efficiency can translate into significant cost savings and extend the life of equipment.
Of course, protecting health means more than better automation. Facilities management for healthcare must ensure the highest standards of cleanliness, which requires human labor. An innovative platform like BuiltSpace allows for reliable maintenance and janitorial tracking, offering clear visibility into cleaning and sanitation. Using QR codes, cleaning crews and maintenance staff can instantly report completion of janitorial tasks, and data can be made accessible to stakeholders in real time. Not only does this give facilities managers the information they need to verify work and create strategies to improve cleaning processes, it can also help staff, patients, and families feel safer.
The Best Tools for Facilities Management in Healthcare and Hospitals
When you are creating a unified system with analytics in hospitals and healthcare, you need a partner who understands the unique needs of your industry and your building. That means seeking out a master systems integrator (MSI) with deep domain knowledge. Using Jetstream, an MSI can connect all building systems and normalize data from disparate sources. An intelligent analytics platform, like onPoint, can then be added to make that data meaningful. This powerful platform provides actionable insights, single-pane-of-glass control, and custom reporting capabilities to easily share information with stakeholders.