Hospital facilities must be clean, well maintained, and ready to handle thousands of patients on any given day. Keeping these facilities and assets maintained is a huge and important task for this industry. In order to stay up to date with new technologies, many healthcare facilities are constantly reviewing and upgrading their capabilities. One central area of interest for facilities managers and executive stakeholders is asset maintenance management.
Managing maintenance activities for locations containing thousands of devices requires a careful review of risk, operational efficiency, and costs. Implementing proven industry best practices and improving upon existing workflows can help improve margins and allow these hospitals to maintain a healthy environment. In this post, we’ll discuss six key considerations to make when reviewing hospital asset maintenance management practices.
1. Create a Maintenance and Inspection Roadmap
There are many vital schedules and points of oversight that a hospital must be aware of at all times. This includes the work of regulatory bodies such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). With hospitals providing such a critical resource for the areas they serve, there are many individuals and organizations that must work together to create a safe and reliable environment.
When reviewing asset maintenance management practices, it is essential to align your internal review processes to the expectations of external auditing bodies. It may also be helpful to review the equipment lifecycle plans for individual assets to plan for major upgrades and facility renovations that may take place over time. Implementing facility asset management tags can help hospitals track and monitor the usage of high-value assets, as well as manage preventive and predictive maintenance activities to maximize the usable lifespan of the company’s assets. The hospital environment is a dynamic space that uses technology that is constantly evolving.
2. Invest in a Dedicated Software Platform
Healthcare facilities have a wide variety of options available when it comes to maintenance and asset management. Two of the most prominent types of platforms are Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS). There is often overlap between the features of these systems, and the most crucial consideration when choosing a software package is to ensure support for your most vital requirements. A good asset maintenance management system will offer several tools for workflow optimization and provide a central repository for critical data such as facility leases, equipment warranties, and vendor information.
3. Pay Special Attention to High-Priority Assets
With the large number of assets that the average hospital is responsible for, it can be easy to treat all equipment in a similar fashion. However, a best practice in the industry is to dedicate extra time and attention to equipment that is deemed especially critical, dangerous, or high value.
This requires a data-based approach to prioritization and a comprehensive maintenance program. With proper oversight and a modern asset maintenance management infrastructure, it is possible to increase the likelihood that equipment will perform as needed when it matters most. Hospitals can leverage a balance of predictive, preventive, and reactive maintenance activities to ensure optimal working conditions.
4. Review Site Contingency Plans
All hospitals are required to develop contingency plans that local, state, and federal resources rely on in the event of a disaster or large-scale emergency. Business continuity is paramount in the medical industry, and equipment plays a central and vital role. It is a good practice to carefully review any existing plans and ensure that maintenance resources and equipment plans align well with the expectations. While it is possible to manage various risks, there is always the possibility of an unforeseen failure. At those moments, it is the contingency and recovery plans that make a difference and can save lives.
5. Prioritize Safety Awareness and Preparation
Safety should be a priority for any business, but it is paramount for a public institution such as a hospital. Maintaining assets in a hospital environment requires attention to detail and commitment to continuous improvement. Setting up a process for reviewing procedures and identifying improvements can help ensure that all assets are properly labeled, inventoried, and tracked. It is also important to identify clear roles and responsibilities for all staff interacting with assets throughout the facility.
6. Create Comprehensive Site Security Protocols
As a vital, community resource hospitals may also be the target for crime in an effort to cause disruptions or harm individuals. In addition to standard security protocols designed to protect the public, comprehensive asset maintenance management should address additional considerations such as access to dangerous materials and sensitive medical data. Many modern devices come with Internet-of-Things (IoT) capabilities that allow them to be connected to central IT systems. It’s an excellent asset for real-time data and time-saving insights for maintenance work, but it requires a greater priority on cybersecurity practices as well.
Given the complex nature of hospital environments, developing effective asset maintenance practices can certainly be a challenge. By following these considerations and working closely with internal and external partners, any facility can create a meaningful maintenance plan. There is no doubt that hospital maintenance management will continue to be an important priority for companies throughout the medical industry for many years to come.