Health facilities management teams provide essential support within hospitals, clinics, physicians’ offices, and other medical facilities. The scope of work for these professionals is incredibly broad, making them an indispensable part of the team.
Maintaining Certification and Compliance
Healthcare compliance and certifications are essential concerns for a health facilities manager. Facilities must comply with laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA), and more.
Organizations like The Joint Commission offer certifications that boost the reputation of healthcare facilities while providing an essential framework for hospitals to measure and maintain their quality standards. Facilities can pursue specialized certifications like cardiac certification, disease-specific care, perinatal care, palliative care, and patient blood management. HFM professionals are responsible for helping their facilities obtain and maintain compliance and certification. Without a key individual in this role, healthcare facilities may inadvertently provide compromised care or even engage in illegal operations.
Ensuring Safety and Security
HFM professionals manage both physical and digital security for the facility. They’re responsible for designing and overseeing systems for building access, surveillance, and emergency response. Facilities that house sensitive medications may face their own unique risks from individuals seeking those drugs.
On the digital side, HFM professionals oversee cybersecurity efforts that secure large amounts of people’s personal data. In a hospital setting, hackers could potentially target anything from the computers that house patient records to the machines that manage medications. A dedicated health facilities manager is tasked with protecting the building from all sides.
Handling Preventive Maintenance
Take a look around any healthcare setting and you’ll find an abundance of complex systems and equipment that require ongoing care and maintenance. Facilities management for hospitals includes the never-ending task of making sure the environment is properly cared for so that patients enjoy a safe and comfortable experience. HFM personnel work directly with HVAC professionals, plumbers, water systems specialists, electricians, carpenters, and more to make sure every aspect of the building is in good shape.
The HFM team also oversees maintenance tasks associated with medical equipment. Facilities management professionals are tasked with the complex job of conducting condition monitoring, which involves completing inspections and gathering data to determine whether tasks are being conducted too frequently or not enough. Unnecessary maintenance puts undue financial strain on the facility. Meanwhile, defaulting to the manufacturer’s guidelines could result in inefficiencies like unscheduled downtime if the facility’s exact needs and operating parameters were not analyzed against the general assumptions used for broad-reaching standard maintenance recommendations.
Overseeing New Installations and Construction
The facilities manager takes an active role in new installations and construction projects, from soliciting contractor bids to purchasing elevators. The facilities management team diligently ensures that the building is properly equipped in all ways. Within the healthcare sector, this means sourcing and placing computers, medical equipment, and furniture.
A dedicated facilities manager is crucial to ensuring that new installations and construction projects take place in a timely manner while upholding the critical components of compliance, certification, and attention to detail which are essential to protecting the patient’s health.
HFM professionals typically have a set operating budget that they’re tasked with maintaining. This is a complex job, as numerous expenses fall under the purview of a facilities manager including plumbing repairs, filter replacements, cleaning supplies, furniture purchases, and even medical equipment. The health facilities manager must constantly balance the needs of the building with the available budget, scheduling paint jobs, repairs, replacements, and upgrades accordingly to provide the highest possible level of care.
Supervising Day-to-Day Operations
HFM personnel oversee the daily operations of a variety of personnel throughout the building, including cleaning crews, hazardous waste disposal services, and groundskeeping personnel. Health facilities managers also work closely with human resources and other departmental managers to assess the needs of patients and healthcare providers throughout the building. Without key players in this role, the facility would lack a necessary troubleshooter to address issues in a timely manner when problems occur.
Facilities management is a complex area for hospitals, where challenging situations often are life and death matters. With the guiding hand of a savvy facilities management team working in the background, healthcare facilities can provide quality care and reliable services to their patients. Though they may go unnoticed by many patients, these employees have an indispensable role in the building.