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Facilities Management and The Patient Experience

Aug 03, 2020
By Leslie O'Connell

Well designed medical facilities and hospitals can reduce anxiety, speed up recovery, and even shorten our hospital stays. Positive patient outcomes improve with comfortable and safe settings.

A lot of work goes into designing, building, and maintaining medical facilities to create environments that help us heal. We owe a lot to the people working in the background, maintaining our facilities to ensure our well-being.

Hospital Support teams – like IT, Facilities, and Healthcare Technology Management (HTM) – work together to keep hospital campuses running smoothly.  And, they ensure all medical devices are safe, compliant, and operational.

Here is a behind the scenes look at just some of the ways hospital support teams help deliver better patient care.

 

 

Clinical Engineering: This group ensures essential medical equipment like Defibrillators, Beds, and Imaging Devices are tracked, maintained, compliant, and safe for patient use.

Preventive maintenance programs are designed to periodically dispatch teams to audit medical devices and ensure they are operating properly. When there’s a problem with a critical device, processes are in place to quickly assess and fix the issue before it affects patient care.

Sensor technology is often used to trace movable assets before or at the time of need. Tracking and locating critical equipment during a crisis saves lives.

Medical devices are often connected to hospital networks, and unfortunately, can be hacked. IT and HTM departments work together to keep medical devices protected from cyber-attacks, threats, and vulnerabilities.

 

 

Physical Facilities Maintenance: Facilities teams manage cleanliness, call buttons, beds, room temperature, and all aspects of the physical hospital setting.  Most recently, these teams are working around the clock to ensure proper sanitation protocols are followed during the influx of COVID-19 patients.

They also maintain rounds checklists, ensuring patient safety and regulatory compliance for things like exit signs, fire doors, and bed safety rails.

Physical features, such as the placement of doorways, handrails, and furniture, can help reduce patient falls and accidents.  And having clean rooms with working equipment reduces a patient’s stress level.   Studies have shown that organized patient environments also reduce the stress levels of the care team staff.

 

 

Space Management:  Space management helps healthcare organizations minimize risk to patients by carefully designing the physical infrastructure. Easy-to-navigate hospital layouts are crucial for keeping patients comfortable and at ease during their stay.

Space management design and maintenance is also critical in times of crisis, as we know from the COVID-19 response. Space management teams quickly mobilized to reorganize hospitals to reduce the spread of the virus. They redesigned areas to care for non-COVID patients and created more patient rooms when reaching capacity.

 

 

Environmental Factors:  Engineering teams often take a lot of care in ensuring hospitals comply with industry standards and patient comfort when it comes to air quality. They manage the complex systems that heat and cool the hospital. And they maintain a crucial component of safety, airflow.

These engineering teams are also responsible for creating negative pressure rooms to contain contagions within a single room and prevent illness from spreading to other areas of the hospital.  Airflow is so important to patient care that HVAC specialists use specialized equipment to measure relative pressures, volumes, and air exchanges. Patient comfort and safety is always a top priority when designing and maintaining systems for air quality.

 

A hospital support team’s mission is to deliver better patient care while ensuring all hospital facilities and medical devices are safe, compliant, and operational.  Often the unsung heroes of the medical world, they do a great job of creating and maintaining healthcare settings that are reliable and comfortable.

 

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