Facility Management (FM) is a broad area that has become increasingly important to many organizations. Every business has property, assets, or inventory that needs to be maintained for staff or customers, no matter the industry. However, FM is particularly important in the healthcare field, as providers strive to provide a clean, safe environment for the staff and their patients.
For many years, we at Vorro have focused on the healthcare industry, specifically, clinical data exchange. More recently, in partnership with the Collaborative Work Environment and Zencos, we have developed a solution to provide insight to non-clinical and Facility management costs.
There are several core competencies of Facility Management, or FM.
First and foremost: safety concerns, such as environmental health and issues that concern the building and its equipment. Failure to address these issues can result in substantial fines, loss of business, and—in dire cases—even prosecution, if negligence caused loss of life or permanent damage/injury.
Advancements in technology are now making it possible to maintain strict access control for high-security areas that could present danger to the general public. However, you still must maintain a focus on these developments in order to make smart decisions when it comes to investing in security technology.
Every aspect of a building, including pre-installed machinery, such as an HVAC system, must be maintained by the facility management team. Even under the watchful eye of a competent crew, you must always be prepared for the worst-case scenario, especially in a healthcare facility. This is why Business Continuity Planning (BCP) is a must for hospitals to consider, as it can help you prepare for not only natural disasters, but man-made disasters as well.
In the event that your building is damaged or completely lost, your team must have already (read: before the disaster occurs) made a solid plan for a temporary facility and its security, maintenance, and hardware needs. Business Continuity Planning (BCP) can also assist your Facility management team with day-to-day organization in order to handle routine tasks of maintenance and any other challenges that may arise.
Now, what if you had an easily-readable view of all of the Facility management activities and the cost required to perform them?
This would allow you to immediately direct resources where needed and actively pursue cost-cutting measures. It would allow you to streamline your maintenance operations and without eating into minimal resources. This way, capital purchases and projects are more in tune with your business and the lifecycle of your portfolio.
Smart buildings are not smart just because they are connected and technologically advanced—they take advantage of their Facility management data and put it to good use. Seeing
this data come together and using analytics to focus your attention on important matters is the first and most essential step to cultivating a smart facility. You can take proactive measures to set environmentally and financially efficient parameters, such as lighting and temperature, based on this data. For example, plug in your scheduling systems to know when a space is being used (and when it’s not) in order to be actionable around the ability to unlock doors, turn lights on and off, and to set the temperature. Now that’s a smart building.
Now is the time! Facility management is key to keeping healthcare costs low. In the past, the IT department has been kept out of FM processes and planning. However, in the world of the Internet of Things (IoT), it is alarming as to what can be, and perhaps already is, connected to your building’s system via wireless networks. Lightbulbs and wall outlets are now IP addressable and provide all kinds of metadata about themselves on a regular basis. We can even turn our lights on or off from thousands of miles away.
It is time for change in the healthcare industry, and integrating Facility management, will be a key tool in revolutionizing the field.
This article is dedicated to the fans of Eureka—now that was a smart house!
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Billy Waldrop is the Chief Operations Officer for Vorro, Inc. Billy has dedicated his career to managing and developing complex systems for the manufacturing and healthcare industries. He spent 10 years at the Mayo Clinic, where he supervised and directed teams responsible for the development and support of critical Patient Financial Services systems. He holds an MBA and a B.S. in Professional Management, along with many certifications from the Mayo Clinic.