Facility Maintenance

How to improve hospital building maintenance [2022 best practices]

Staying on top of hospital building maintenance is challenging. Evaluate these hospital maintenance strategies for your healthcare facilities.

Too often, hospital maintenance teams don’t have the bandwidth to deal with digital transformation and preventative maintenance efforts.

This leaves hospitals at risk of compliance violations, safety issues, and inefficient processes that hurt accreditation and reimbursements. 

Even the top hospital systems face this challenge.

On top of that, hospitals spreading maintenance operations across five to ten disjointed delivery networks and separate solutions struggle to manage work orders, the workforce and preventative maintenance that leads to inefficient and inaccurate data.

Without proper hospital building maintenance programs, critical equipment runs the risk of failing, maintenance personnel are allocated inefficiently, and lack of compliance can incur costly fines and tarnish reputations.

Healthcare maintenance directors and their teams must play catch-up and tend to crises scattered around hospitals, with PM and efficiency at the bottom of the to-do list. 

But hospital maintenance doesn’t have to be a headache.

Let’s cover everything you need to know and how you can develop an effective hospital building maintenance strategy for the future of your facilities. 

The critical need for hospital facilities maintenance 

Implementing a future-proof hospital building maintenance strategy can effectively reduce patient complaints, violations, and asset downtime that’s challenged hospital maintenance managers for decades.

Hospital building maintenance is dependent on extending the utility of your buildings and assets by regularly inspecting, repairing, and maintaining the environment, assets, and appliances within hospital systems. 

Hospital building management teams are responsible for heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, ventilation, and any other assets within your healthcare facilities. 

Commercial appliances involved in hospital maintenance often include: 

  • Boilers
  • Air conditioning equipment
  • Diesel engines 
  • Turbines 
  • Pumps 
  • Condensers 
  • Generators
  • Compressors 
  • Machinery 
  • Medical devices 
  • Research equipment 

Healthcare facility maintenance also encapsulates the space within your buildings, like patient rooms, hallways, parking lots, and more. 

Any time hospital patients have a broken TV or the Joint Commission (TJC) is coming for an inspection, you can feel confident in your hospital building maintenance.

However, an effective hospital building maintenance program is complex and often takes months of troubleshooting and testing. 

Six best practices to improve hospital building maintenance 

Often, hospital maintenance teams struggle to gain full transparency into their assets, locations, and histories. Without an accurate asset inventory and digital floor plans, maintenance programs are more challenging to implement and less effective. Because of this, an essential part of the planning and implementation of your hospital’s maintenance program is data reliability. 

Regardless of your maintenance strategy, consider how your hospital system’s maintenance strategy aligns with the following best practices (and where you can improve). 

1. Digitize your hospital building asset inventories and floor plans 

For multi-hospital systems, you need a single source of truth for all healthcare maintenance operations.

Whether you have a CMMS integrated with machine learning and business intelligence software, or you’re plugging everything into excel, a reliable maintenance program must be informed by your environment’s historical data. 

Without accurate data, you run the risk of: 

  • Failing compliance inspections that incur fines and risk your hospital’s accreditations
  • Forgetting to implement PMI or maintenance on assets or equipment that later fail and cause critical business disruption
  • Spending unnecessary resources on inventory when you had what you needed all along
  • Improper utilization of your interior and exterior space without accurate CAD drawings

If your building documentation is out of date or missing, it’s important to update existing drawings and create missing or non-existent drawings. The final drawings should represent your building in its actual as-built state.

Standard hospital building floor plans should include: 

  • Interior and exterior walls
  • Doors
  • Windows
  • Skylights
  • Openings
  • Stairs
  • Built-in features
  • Plumbing fixtures
  • HVAC components
  • Measurements of all accessible spaces

For exterior floor plans, include: 

  • Patios
  • Balconies
  • Attached structures

It’s also important to provide fire evacuation maps, available as documents or engraved on durable plastic material to withstand environments. 

2. Standardize your equipment and location nomenclature

Managing asset performance data across multiple hospital facility management gets complicated with inconsistent naming conventions for your water pumps, HVAC units, and more. This makes it harder to locate these assets within your floor plans and view and update the asset histories within your CMMS.

If you need rooms renumbered after renovations or construction projects, you can you should implement room naming conventions that can:

  1. Scale from single floors to an entire building
  2. Align with accurate measurements with practical and sequential numbering schemes

If you’re managing multiple hospital buildings within maintenance programs, standardizing items such as work order types, asset categories, naming conventions, and vendor information has two main benefits:

  1. You’ll experience more accurate and efficient reporting capabilities for your department
  2. You can leverage insights from your benchmarks by analyzing each asset’s performance, replacements, failures, and other critical maintenance key performance indicators (KPIs). 

In the long run, you can leverage this change to your data to drive more informed decisions and, ultimately, a positive ROI.

3. Barcode equipment and assets 

Often, large hospital systems lack a complete or accurate inventory of assets. When it’s time for compliance rounding, a mislabeled asset or incorrect inventory can mean hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

If your assets aren’t tagged with unique identification codes, this increases the likelihood of not locating an asset (in person or on virtual floor plans). In turn, your equipment isn’t routinely checked on, and your environments are at risk.

Your hospital maintenance program can place asset identification tags on all equipment to help your team identify, track and control your assets in any environment.

FSI offers various labeling options to customize with logos, asset information, facility information, and barcodes.

You can also access comprehensive on-site data collection services to record, verify and update your asset and equipment inventories. Finally, the data collected will be uploaded and standardized within your CMMS’s database. All to ensure that your hospital building maintenance program is reliable, useful, and usable. 

4. Establish and monitor critical hospital performance metrics. 

Do you have an adequate level of technicians? Is your equipment productivity high enough? Viewing standards across the hospital industry can shed light on areas of improvement and celebration.

Every hospital faces unique constraints that make analyzing your performance and productivity challenges. Still, you should understand how other hospitals with the same number of beds or staff are performing and if you’re over-or under-performing. 

Critical KPIs within your hospital maintenance program should include: 

  • Mean repair time
  • Mean time between failures
  • Overall equipment effectiveness (OEE)
  • Planned maintenance percentage
  • PM completion
  • Inventory turnover
  • Reactive maintenance work hours
  • Unscheduled downtime
  • Spare parts inventory management
  • Work order cycle time

Regardless of your hospital’s maintenance management program, you must prioritize your patients’ safety and meet regulatory compliance requirements. 

5. Go mobile with cloud-based hospital maintenance applications

Mobile work order solutions have many benefits for healthcare systems, from more accurate and detailed data to taking & attaching pictures to specific assets, work orders, and locations across your digital facility. 

A mobile CMMS gives your technicians the power to work on the go and manage maintenance tasks in the field, optimizing productivity and reducing workflow interruptions.

Additionally, mobile CMMS apps allow you to take and attach pictures to work orders, view and update asset histories, and record materials changes and labor on-site. Doing so will minimize everyone’s end-of-day computer work.

6. Integrate your work orders and floor plans 

If your building drawings and work orders are digital, layer these two elements and use this insight to see into your team’s schedule and their routes. This enables your organization to more efficiently manage both corrective work requests and preventive maintenance work orders within your CMS environment quicker and more accurately. 

Merging your work orders and floor plans through your mobile CMMS app also reduces data entry errors and redundant tasks while providing you with more up-to-date reports and responses to your customers.

Connecting your floor plans and work orders gives technicians easy access to equipment history, including both corrective and preventive work orders. Managers can also view who completed the work and their comments.

Other advantages of a mobile work order system include: 

  • Capturing work-related information in the field electronically.
  • Eliminating errors from reading handwritten notes on paper work orders.
  • Gathering accurate data readings by restricting the type of input and range of values for each question, or include your pick list of responses.
  • Receiving new work orders in the field without returning to the office.

With the age of digitization comes an advanced ability to monitor & improve your maintenance programs. This increases your hospital facility’s reliability and OEE to provide a more proactive approach. 

Inform your hospital building maintenance with accurate data

Equipment failure is expensive and detrimental to your hospital’s operational continuity. Depending on your own organization’s maintenance program development and history, the best building maintenance strategy for your hospital will vary. 

Make sure that your hospital maintenance isn’t limited by inefficient maintenance operations, outdated legacy systems, or inefficient workflows that are hurting your bottom line and productivity.

FSI offers CMMS for Biomedical Departments, Hospital Facility Maintenance Management, and more. Get in touch or request a demo to learn how you can streamline and optimize your maintenance operations today. 

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