The new American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE) Operational Excellence Committee, which began meeting in April, aims to put the ideas expressed in ASHE’s operational excellence strategic imperative into action.

“The committee will implement the strategic imperative in a way that allows us to make a difference in member’s organizations,” says Jonathan Flannery, FASHE, senior associate director of advocacy at ASHE. “The whole effort here is to give our members the tools, resources and guidance to improve their operations across the board.”

Flannery explains that the operational excellence strategic imperative is essentially an extension of ASHE’s Energy to Care initiative. That initiative, which is a benchmarking and awards program, focuses on helping hospitals save energy. The operational excellence imperative encompasses energy sustainability but goes much further.

“We’ve expanded the idea of sustainability into the concept of operational excellence,” Flannery says. “The committee has not yet formalized how it will deliver the tools and other resources needed to meet the strategic imperative, but that work is underway.”

One possible outcome of the committee’s work could be a library of best practices on operational issues, suggests committee member Michael Hatton, FASHE, vice president of Memorial Hermann Health System in Houston.

“I think gathering up best practices across members’ enterprises and creating white papers about them would be a good way forward,” Hatton says. “These could be assembled in an easy-to-access tool kit for the facility manager to utilize. They could be arranged from the shortest return on investment to longest return on investment.”

Committee member Skanda Skandaverl, FASHE, division director of facilities management, planning, design and construction for Catholic Health Initiatives’ Nebraska and Fargo, N.D., division, sums up the committee’s mission succinctly: “I think our goal is to educate ASHE members so they have a better understanding of how to manage their assets and understand the life cycle of their equipment.”