Facility managers are leaning on technology more to cut down on paper and increase efficiency. For instance, the University of Texas Medical Branch Health Jennie Sealy Hospital worked with a building automation provider to help it exceed pressurization, temperature and humidity requirements in its operating rooms laid out according to Joint Commission requirements.
Health care facility management is also being aided by the Internet of Things (IoT). Paul Currie, assistant vice president of enterprise architecture, HCA, Nashville, Tenn., says IoT is really “about connectivity, about trying to ensure if there’s a piece of information available to trigger an action, that the action can happen.”
Here are three more ways health care facility professionals are using advanced technology to perform and/or manage daily tasks.
Enterprise facility management software
Enterprise facility management software systems can bring together disparate building systems of various ages, giving health systems one platform to track various functions across facilities.
“With an EFM system in place, information can be visualized, measured, alarmed, compared, analyzed and reported in ways that drive activities to reduce energy consumption and cost,” explains Paul Oswald, managing director at CBRE|ESI, Brookfield, Wis. “Further, it enables improved efficiency and productivity for the operations staff.”
Building information modeling
Building information modeling (BIM) might be an underutilized tool by facility managers. According to our 2016 Hospital Construction Survey, 34 percent report using BIM for facility management. That doesn’t take away from its benefits, however.
“BIM is more than a design and construction tool, it has long-term beneficial impacts for managing health care facilities,” explains Dave M. Branch, a BIM and facility management consultant with the Synertek Group LLC, Birmingham, Ala. “Whether it is tracking the color of the rubber flooring in the intensive care unit or being able to follow a water main throughout the building, the graphics and data that can be stored, extracted, viewed or manipulated from a BIM program are limitless.”
Automated disinfection systems
Whether it’s ultraviolet light, hydrogen peroxide or pulsed xenon, automated disinfection systems are popping up in hospitals more and more, and many of them are Internet-enabled for monitoring purposes. Devices from Xenex Disinfection Services, for instance, are connected to an online database that allows environmental services managers to track which rooms have been treated and by whom. It allows managers to verify that the rooms being targeted for disinfection are actually being treated.