Every hospital in the U.S. works around the clock to provide quality care to its patients and stable support for its staff. Every day, hundreds of thousands of people rely on healthcare facilities to function at their most optimal levels, no matter whether a winter storm or hurricane blows through.
This means healthcare facility infrastructures, maintenance machines and computer systems work overtime to ensure all members within an organization have what they need to provide care while visitors are kept comfortable. It should feel like clockwork to them.
Facilities teams know that’s not the case, though.
With multiple maintenance systems working around the clock and oftentimes independently, a maintenance team encounters more than a few headaches and inefficiencies on a regular basis.
Maintaining a functional, safe, healing environment is a full-time job, especially for small maintenance teams.
To make the most of small teams and today’s technology, many healthcare facilities are implementing Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS). This software is intended to lower repair costs, ease work order management, boost productivity, meet compliance standards and increase daily efficiency while ensuring the hospital functions at its best.
Here are the top four ways healthcare facilities benefit from CMMS:
1. Evolves work order management
Not too long ago, maintenance data was conducted via pen and paper on clipboards hanging by fire extinguishers and HVAC systems. Work orders could easily become lost and most maintenance performed was reactive, rather than proactive.
While digital, today’s work order management can still be improved. Storing information via spreadsheets and uploading hundreds of files may get the job done, but it sacrifices maintenance technicians’ time in the process. Not to mention that multiple data files across different departments can lead to siloed information, preventing maintenance teams from seeing everything at a system-wide glance.
This is where the CMMS comes in. It maximizes efficiencies and provides invaluable benefits to turn organizations into high-functioning healthcare facilities.
2. Reduces maintenance costs
In healthcare, one organization may have multiple clinical departments and different locations, but just one maintenance team. Developing and maintaining a solid foundation and alignment between departments can be difficult and lead to inefficiencies or gaps in maintenance—or worse, gaps in care.
Instead of having one maintenance team handle all departments of a hospital, a CMMS allows for a system-wide overview, providing one big picture of the organization, its current inventory and needed updates.
A CMMS shows how much current equipment is present, the criticality of said equipment, and the cost associated with each individual part. Without a CMMS, inventory may not be clearly defined, leading to problems down the road.
Delays can arise if the necessary parts are unavailable for the task, and the resulting production downtime can lead to higher costs throughout the life of a project. In turn, a CMMS checks for preventative maintenance, reducing overall healthcare costs by utilizing less labor over time.
3. Alleviates regulatory overload
All healthcare leaders have to contend with regulatory overload. With hundreds of discrete regulatory requirements across nine regulatory domains, maintaining compliance throughout a healthcare system isn’t easy. CMMS is a beneficial solution that alleviates the regulatory burden of compliance requirements.
Along the lines of proactive maintenance, a CMMS notifies maintenance teams automatically of continual required testing, saving the team from scrambling to make sure everything is up-to-date prior to Joint Commission (TJC) surveys.
For example, depending on the type, fire pumps are required to be tested weekly, monthly or annually. Instead of manually tracking these tests, a computerized system sets up recurring tests to measure current data and future trends, as well as plan for when the next test will occur.
A CMMS can also track the system’s full history, forecast any preventative maintenance and notify managers when it’s time to test again.
4. Creates a culture of accountability
TJC requires reports to be 100% completed within a certain timeframe.
These results and statistics are shared with not only The Joint Commission committee but also the healthcare organization as a whole. By managing projects and personnel through a CMMS, a facility’s maintenance team can track common trends throughout the data.
Since all data is stored via the computer, maintenance teams can look at their work orders from a backlog perspective. Program managers are able to keep tabs on closure rates on the preventative maintenance side. By constantly monitoring PM statistics, managers can see where gaps may lie in their personnel, holding them accountable for their actions.
Designed to help healthcare maintenance teams carry out their jobs more efficiently, a CMMS lowers overall costs, maintains continual compliance and creates a culture of accountability amongst the organization.
Managing multiple healthcare systems can be a full-time job. But with a CMMS, it doesn’t have to be.
Larry Lacombe is the Vice President, Program Development, Support and FM Compliance at Medxcel.