Healthcare

Facilities Management: Creating Cost Savings and Driving Outcomes

Management of a facility and its equipment is kind of like maintenance of a car (though much more complex, but just bear with the analogy here). It’s important that it's regularly inspected, the tires are rotated, and the oil is changed after so many miles.

While a car can run for a period of time without this type of maintenance, it doesn’t mean that it should. In fact, it decreases quality and life expectancy, costing more money in the end. The same is true for a facility.

That’s where facilities management programs come in. In this article, we’ll define facility management, discuss its importance to the overall health of your building and its occupants, and then we’ll dive into how it can promote cost savings without sacrificing quality.

What is facility management and why is it important?

Facility management (FM) is an all-encompassing program that manages and maintains a facility. FM teams ensure that every aspect of the facility, from HVAC systems to fire alarms, are regularly maintained, updated, and within compliance.

“By training in-house teams to handle installation, repairs, and maintenance, facilities save by not having to bring in specialty contractors like plumbers, HVAC companies, fire and alarm systems, painting, etc.”, says Steve Weipert, Vice President of Integrated Facilities Management at HHS.

In addition to regular maintenance of existing equipment, FM teams have the opportunity to tailor programs to each facility and create preventative and predictive maintenance plans that help create budget allotments for future equipment.

Integrated FM programs offer:

• Designed programs that fully comply with all federal, state, and local regulations and codes
• Transparent, comprehensive resources for better standardization of regulatory compliance
• Detailed programs that cover every aspect of the environment of care and life safety
• Action-based plans to measure results and keep track of discrepancies
• Detailed schedules and timelines for compliance procedures and renewals
• Safety training and ongoing education 
• Safety planning for team members and facility staff
• Comprehensive management of facility
• Hands-on management to ensure operations run smoothly

Reactive, Preventative, and Predictive

There are three types of maintenance strategies — reactive, preventative, and predictive.

In a reactive maintenance strategy, facilities have to create solutions after equipment has already been run to failure. 

In a preventive maintenance strategy, facilities perform regular maintenance and take precautionary measures to extend equipment life expectancy.

In a predictive maintenance strategy, facilities predict issues before they arise and plan for potential costs or repairs equipment may need.

“A lot of hospitals fail to do the preventive maintenance on machinery, so the life expectancy of high-dollar equipment fails sooner than it should. In turn, hospitals are either paying significant repair costs or have to budget for replacements earlier than anticipated.”

Using preventive and predictive maintenance strategies, integrated FM programs can save facilities 40% over reactive maintenance. More importantly, these strategies create a safer environment for team members and patients. 

“As part of our FM program, we provide partners with a facilities conditions assessment. In that, we go through and look at all of their equipment and analyze it from an age perspective, a performance perspective, and a quality perspective.

This helps identify a 5-10 year capital plan for the facility so they can appropriately budget.” 

Opportunities of an integrated FM program

So, aside from preventive and predictive maintenance, how do these programs benefit facilities?

Safer conditions

Faulty or run-down equipment can negatively impact a facility and make it unsafe. By implementing an efficient FM program, teams can prevent and predict equipment failing and ensure safety.

“If you have a facility that isn’t functioning properly, it has an adverse effect on the well-being of patients and team members.”

Improved operational efficiency

Not only does well-maintained equipment create a safe environment, it also increases operational efficiency. When equipment is in good condition and runs efficiently, facilities save on energy and resources. 

Reduced downtime

When a facility is not performing at its best, it’s losing money. This cost can often be overlooked, but when equipment goes down for maintenance or facilities use a reactive strategy, it can be financially detrimental to a facility. 

Improved experience

The first impression of a facility should be a positive one. When equipment isn’t working properly or it’s having issues, it can have an adverse effect on team members, visitors, and patients. It’s vital that facilities are operating smoothly to ensure a good experience and make visitors feel safe and comfortable.

Conclusion

Facility management can be costly and time consuming. While it’s impossible to completely eliminate these issues, a dedicated FM program can significantly diminish them. 

Preventative and predictive maintenance are proven to be successful cost-saving strategies. However, overlooked  opportunities — like operational efficiency and reduced and safer conditions — often make the biggest difference.

Through these practices, integrated facilities management programs and teams help facilities run more smoothly and save money in the long run.