Quality and efficiency always depend on good maintenance, but nowhere is this more apparent than in a hospital. Nearly everything maintenance workers do affects compliance, and routine maintenance like cleaning, inspecting, and properly storing equipment can mean the difference between life and death for patients. A hospital maintenance checklist is a good start to keep procedures in order. 

At the very least, a hospital relies on efficient processes to maintain a consistent flow of patient care, ensuring that a set number of patients are seen on a set schedule. Equipment failure and missed tasks can increase patient wait time and puts strain on hospital staff and backup equipment.

Hospital facility management software is a fundamental tool used by organizations to help adhere to regulatory compliance standards and reduce costs by centralizing processes. Although many hospitals have already adopted maintenance management software, some organizations are still using decentralized manual methods. If your organization hasn’t jumped on the CMMS bandwagon, read on to learn more about the benefits of maintenance management software for hospitals.

Does your hospital struggle to meet regulations?

Hospitals are among the most regulated facilities, and the maintenance department plays an important role in meeting those regulations. The Health Insurance Privacy and Portability Act (HIPAA) is a law that, among other things, mandates strong protection for the personal and medical history of patients, These requirements don’t directly address maintenance departments, but they can complicate routine tasks like cleaning and preventive maintenance. A hospital maintenance policy and procedures manual must be followed to simplify routine tasks. If work isn’t scheduled carefully, workers end up in areas where they’re exposed to Protected Health Information (PHI). This puts them within the scope of HIPAA, necessitating extra training and safeguards, and needlessly increasing the risks of a breach. 

Maintenance tasks involving IT equipment or areas where data is stored need to be handled carefully to minimize the risk of a breach. This requires additional protocols to ensure workstations are logged off or filing cabinets are locked before maintenance is done. HITECH compliance imposes extra maintenance burdens to ensure the effective use of technology. Computers, networking, and other IT resources require regular service to ensure they’re secure and in good working order at all times.

On top of that, there are Department of Health rules, Joint Commission requirements, HCAHPS surveys that impact public perception of the hospital and optional standards like Life Safety Code Requirements that many hospitals choose to comply with.

With such a complex maze of rules and regulations, it’s not enough to fix things when they break. Maintenance managers must be able to spell out standards and prioritize tasks to ensure compliance-related repairs and preventive maintenance are being attended to. Computerized maintenance management software is an effective tool that ensures nothing is overlooked and falls through the cracks.

This case study on Philhaven Health Care  illustrates what the right CMMS software can do. This behavioral Health Care provider was struggling to cope with their rapid growth using traditional maintenance management methods. With 12 locations including a 103-bed hospital, paper work orders and Excel spreadsheets just weren’t cutting it any more. Jim Ipsen, Director of Facilities at Philhaven, explains:

“To effectively and efficiently manage maintenance operations in our facilities and demonstrate compliance with governing authorities, we needed a more nimble maintenance management system to record and report the status of tasks.”

Hippo maintenance management software allowed Philhaven, to “simplify communication between all parties involved in the creation, execution, and processing of work orders.” The asset and equipment management feature allowed them to keep track of maintenance across their facilities, ensuring that no maintenance tasks were being left out. Not only did this make it easier to verify compliance, it also yielded increases in efficiency. That means a higher standard of care, lower compliance risks and decreased spend across their organization.

Does your hospital lack process standardization? In hospital maintenance management, each task needs to fit the proper steps and benchmarks. Anything that affects compliance, safety or the hospital’s mission — sterilizing tools, servicing medical equipment and even checking emergency equipment — has to be done in a very particular way to minimize risks and maximize quality of care. Even low-complexity tasks need to be spelled out, step by step, in great detail.

Word of mouth or hands-on instruction isn’t reliable. Hospitals have tens to hundreds of people responsible for maintenance. Tasks like servicing complex diagnostic equipment, or running and monitoring IT security are usually done by outside contractors, and often routine facilities maintenance is contracted out. Turnover is often high, and at any point, the hospital may change vendors or outsource duties that were previously kept in-house.

Even with SOPs for every piece of equipment, it’s hard to enforce them without maintenance management software. If they’re kept in a spreadsheet or binder, there’s often no practical way for workers to access them when they need to; it isn’t practical for everyone to run back to the maintenance office to double-check procedures and make sure they’ve got everything right. Working off memory leads to mistakes and overlooked steps, while using a paper-based system proves cumbersome to organize and refer back to.

Powerful on demand work order management software makes it easy to ensure timely completion of jobs no matter the worker assigned — from full-time maintenance workers, to outside contractors who only come in once or twice a year. Work orders have customizable fields, allowing facility managers to specify as little or as much information as necessary. Necessary tools, documents, safety issues and other data are accessible on work orders, allowing workers to reference all information belonging to that repair.

Work orders can be accessed by internal maintenance workers or outside vendors. All users can receive work orders anywhere they have an internet connection with the ability to update work order information from the field using a mobile CMMS app. Administrators are able to sort, track and view the progress of work orders, making sure everyone is on track, and everything is getting done.

Are you able to hold employees and vendors accountable? Tracking work orders, repair history and other factors doesn’t just help maintenance workers; it also provides management with the visibility necessary to ensure accountability across the organization. In-depth maintenance reports allow managers to see the status of all work orders at a glance, filtered by user-definable categories into easy-to-use charts. It’s easy to see which tasks are completed, due or overdue — sort by priority, type of job and other criteria.

CMMS reports make pulling maintenance history records simple. Users can examine costs, breaking them down by regular and overtime labor hours, parts and materials used, and invoices. Maintenance history reports give accurate insight into key performance indicators as well. Having this data makes it easy to find the vendor with the most competitive price, promote employees with the best track records, or slate low-performing workers for additional training. It also helps make more strategic staffing decisions, empowering managers to compare contractors and employees head-to-head.

Maintenance management software is as helpful managing parts and other inventory as it is with scheduling workers. The inventory reports function allows managers to examine and sort the entire stock at a glance. When parts and materials run low, alerts via email are sent to the right people for reordering, ensuring that critical parts are always available. CMMS inventory management modules also store supplier contact information, so when parts and materials need to be replenished, it can be done without delay.

The visibility and accountability of reports has been a crucial feature for many facility managers, including Reynold Peters from the Manitoba Regional Health Authority, Southern Health. The organization covers almost 27,000 kilometers and operated on a decentralized model, which poses unique challenges. Although a central authority supervises some of their facilities, many of their hospitals, clinics and assisted living centers are run independently, so it’s difficult to verify consistent performance across their maintenance department.

Using Health Care CMMS software, has allowed them to revolutionize their maintenance department. According to Peters, Construction and Energy Savings Manager, maintenance software allows them to see “who issued the work order and know who to go to if there are any issues with documentation.” They are able to use reports and benchmarks to compare performance between facilities, spotting quality control issues before they become a serious problem. And they’ve been able to do it while still operating with the local autonomy that allows each facility to best meet the needs of its community.

Have you adopted a preventive maintenance program? In an industry like manufacturing where a broken machine can shut down production, everyone understands the benefits of preventive maintenance, but many Health Care organizations still neglect it. Yet hospitals also have mission critical infrastructure which needs to be serviced regularly. It’s not just key equipment like life support where failure can be disastrous; an unexpected failure of HVAC infrastructure, backup power supplies or decontamination equipment can also decrease productivity levels and seriously impact patient care.

Even when lives aren’t at stake, preventive maintenance yields huge benefits for hospitals. From MRIs to refrigeration units, having a formalized planned maintenance program will extend the longevity of assets. This saves money and minimizes disruptions, allowing Health Care facilities to provide a higher, more consistent standard of care.

The right preventive maintenance softwares allow hospitals to use a single system to schedule, track and confirm regular repairs, from the blood lab, to the cafeteria kitchen. Work orders are scheduled based on a calendar frequency or meter readings, with floating options set to adjust future work orders based on the most recent service date.

With a CMMS, preventive maintenance work orders are set so they’re automatically assigned to the right worker or technician, or sent to an admin who can then assign them. Due dates, advanced notification reminders and other scheduling features make it easy to plan ahead, allowing workers to prioritize important maintenance tasks without disrupting their regular duties.

Maintenance management software supports everything your hospital does. It makes it easier to meet compliance goals, promotes accountability, enables strategic vendor and staffing decisions and increases the lifespan of hospital and maintenance equipment.

Hippo Health Care CMMS specializes in providing maintenance management systems for the Health Care industry. It has been successfully implemented in more than 200 hospitals, retirement communities, clinics and assisted living facilities. Contact Hippo CMMS to learn more about our simple maintenance management software for Health Care facilities.

About The Author

Jonathan Davis

Jonathan has been covering asset management, maintenance software, and SaaS solutions since joining Hippo CMMS. Prior to that, he wrote for textbooks and video games.
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