Efficiency of healthcare facilities is a relative term and has multiple, domain specific definitions. Efficiency ultimately translates to added value and improved performance outcomes. Revisiting the importance of infrastructure and facility management in healthcare organisation, it is more often the forgotten information which can play an important role in operational continuity, optimisation and continuous improvement.
The potential for efficiency gains background paper proposes a framework for analysing the factors affecting efficiency in various parts of the healthcare service. Considering the scope for administrative and operational efficiency, we have identified 4 simple ways to demystify the broader reach of operational touch points, in which the consolidated management of information from intelligent building systems can add significant value.
Efficiency of Process incorporates the planning and operational practices that significantly reduce or eliminate the negative impact on clinical service continuity in healthcare facilities. The analysis of infrastructure data and its contribution to decision making will result in better understanding of cause and effect scenarios affecting the environment of care. When measured against tangible criteria such as cost and quality, appropriately weighted against the potential severity of impact from infrastructure failure to patient care and patient experience, the process and its outcomes become enablers to change management initiatives, people efficiency and productivity gains. This level of complexity, and the number of variables involved in determining the right process and reaction under certain conditions, can no longer be contained without the aid of technology.
Efficient people can make the most important difference to cost and quality of healthcare facility management service delivery. The challenge to deliver better service quality at lower cost is driving the need to adopt innovative ways in communication and people interaction with technology. Analysing and collaboratively managing patterns of infrastructure behaviour creates visibility for potential issues and strengthens engagement with all stakeholder groups in the organisation. It turns a potentially daunting experience into a positive, proactive risk mitigation approach, allowing for wide recognition, shared commitment and support in required resolution. This information can also be used to continuously tune building systems to facilitate the seamless interaction between services, enabling their logical connectivity and response to uniquely complex and critical environment’s inputs.
Efficiency of technology and end-users’ adoption are key success factors. The challenge remains to balance cost and complexity in implementation of intelligent solutions with a measurable performance output and ROI by choosing the appropriate technology to deliver the right process with an optimal utilization level.
Building services in healthcare facilities are managed through electronic systems which cover monitoring, controlling or simply handling alerts and notification of operating status. An intelligent integrated building management solution provides the healthcare facility operator with valuable insight on building performance, status of critical infrastructure and the likelihood of impact on clinical service delivery. Applications and systems attached to building services accumulate a significant amount of data which can be analysed and transformed into information, hence becoming an important decision making support tool in managing the infrastructure and service continuity in the healthcare facility.
Efficiency of solutions implementation implies the decision to implement the right solution in the right place, at the right time, for the right outcome. An efficient implementation will support all other key considerations discussed thus far, providing demonstrable ways to meet business objectives, offering ease-of-use for all stakeholders and providing an environment that supports people-centric processes with near-term ROI.
Balancing the risk of downtime from infrastructure failures, raising cost of maintenance for ageing plant and equipment, resources and budget constraints with an increased demand for performance and efficiency, the healthcare facility management profession is facing also the challenges from service criticality, considering that asset failure can potentially have direct or indirect impact on patient care outcomes.
An efficient solution for healthcare building infrastructure should offer a holistic approach to information management, an intuitive design with proven technical capabilities, flexible & adaptable features matching the dynamic health service environment and ensure visibility of information to aid decision making. Only the sum of all of these aspects will result in measurable value for the healthcare organisation.
Systematically achieving efficiency in process, people and technology domains eliminates waste while maintaining or improving the quality and continuity of service. The benefits realisation is mostly visible in cost and quality measures which allow dynamic readjustments in processes and systems, controlling operating cost and reducing errors.
What other critical factors do you believe can influence efficiency in healthcare organisations?