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The challenges of running a maintenance department that is efficient and praised by top management and staff members may seem insurmountable but not when you have a Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS). The responsibility of maintaining and managing an excellent healthcare facility calls for the use of a computerized system that is effective. So, what is CMMS software? The use of CMMS coupled with commitment from management, as well as efficient planning and scheduling, can transform the operations of health facilities.

From the large hospitals to the small clinics, CMMS is designed to enable health care facilities to uphold high standards in both the equipment and physical infrastructure. This software supports numerous management functions that are critical in running machines as well as facilities. Thus, it comes with fields that are customizable to accommodate health care terminology.

A successful CMMS usually goes beyond mere record keeping by offering opportunity in maintenance operations, saving not just time but also money. While several studies have shown that between 60% to 80% of CMMS implementation often fails, it is important to point out that if the implementation is not well handled from the beginning, then the organization is unlikely to harness a return on the investment.

CMMS Within Healthcare

The constant change in the healthcare industry means that in 2016, many of the healthcare facilities need to structure how their approach to taking care of infrastructure will improve efficiency from managing data to handling patients. To keep up with these changes, there is need for a solution that can track the changes, which is where the CMMS comes into play.

These systems are an excellent way of storing information about your physical assets. CMMS is also an excellent repository for maintenance data. It collects information that ensures the facility runs smoothly. The special thing about CMMS is that the ability to store data is expandable even as it introduces more automation to healthcare facilities.

Three classic examples of how to solve some of the standard problems using CMMS software within the healthcare industry are as follows:

The number of wheelchairs in the facility is limited; those wheelchairs must not only be reliable but also well maintained. Consequently, a CMMS can track the wheelchairs, letting the staff at the facility to always have a wheelchair ready. In addition, repairs must be scheduled in advance. Some of the information that the system can track includes:

  • The age of the equipment
  • The number of wheelchairs available
  • Notes on the repairs and warranties
  • The need to purchase more wheelchairs

Through the CMMS software, a staff member is able to capture general information on the wheelchairs at the facility in the course of CMMS implementation. This system enables multiple users to give updates as well as enter fresh information on the wheelchairs.

The second example will be that of patients who are sensitive to changes in temperature. It is important to ensure that humidity and temperature are controlled for patients, yet most of the patients are known to be uncomfortably cold. Although advancements in HVAC technologies allow for control of cooling and heating, a CMMS would be ideal as information can be stored automatically. In addition, the systems can be automated to adjust in the event of changes in humidity and temperature. Sensors may be positioned at the windows or doors of the facility to account for drafts, as well as sudden temperature changes, letting the system adjust and maintain an ideal temperature.

These two examples are dependent on storing the appropriate information, albeit differently. While the first example takes a preventive measure to forestall any foreseen problems with the equipment, the second example is condition-based. These can be applied across different departments in a hospital.

The third example examines a case where a healthcare facility needs to keep track of the metrics on enhanced beds. With facility updates, healthcare facilities look into ordinary pieces of equipment to capture extraordinary information. For instance, inpatient beds can automatically monitor the heart rate, temperature and blood pressure of the occupant, letting the staff care for the health of the patient with ease.

Not only does this enhancement involve physical assets but also sensitive patient information that would be stored in an Electronic Health Record. These two systems can be integrated, letting hospitals keep track of information within a secure central database that may be accessed through maintenance and nursing staff. Numerous breakthrough interventions may be applied in this sensitive industry. CMMS can also store major data and maintenance data in instances where the facility is not ready.

Enhancements that are condition-based were previously a possibility of organizations that are asset-focused, as they are much less expensive and have more users across the industries. Thus, CMMS lets organizations collect information, save time and money through making operations more efficient. Healthcare facilities need to take advantage of the trends by implementing more procedures that are effective for the benefit of both patients and staff.

Facilities and Machines: Available and Reliable

Health care buildings as well as equipment that are at optimum operating performance ensure staff readiness and patient comfort. CMMS software guarantees optimal performance through provision of comprehensive asset management and preventive maintenance scheduling. The software, which is scalable, flexible and customizable increases the reliability of assets like lights, HVAC systems, piping and plumbing systems, elevators, restrooms and parking lots. Preventive maintenance scheduling will keep the X-ray, MRI and other machines running at peak performance, making them always available to patients and staff.

Equipment Performance and Cost

CMMS software stores a wealth of data that is accurate, providing a complete picture of the cost and performance of the equipment. Managers can then make decisions aimed at reducing costs related to the use of energy or performance of the machine based on the data that is available.

Safety and Security

CMMS is instrumental in supporting overall security and safety within the health care facility through machine maintenance and asset tracking. Important aspects like functionality of the elevator, quality of air, machine maintenance and food storage equipment may be monitored using the CMMS software. The result of this is that staff will always be prepared to handle emergencies, thereby increasing effectiveness.

Compliance and Auditing

The CMMS helps in compiling necessary data that is then reported for further review in addition to running the audit trial module for compliance.
Inventory Management

The system’s ability to schedule and plan is incomplete without proper management. Thus, CMMS helps organize as well as barcode your inventory, making the location and availability of machine parts and the other supplies known. Consequently, this ensures proper and efficient management of the machines that are available.
Generally, to ensure that parts are available whenever there is a work order, these steps need to be taken:

  • Add a list of parts to every piece of equipment. This will ensure that the technicians will not lose time trying to look up the numbers against the corresponding vendors.
  • Give the technicians instructions to only record subtle parts whenever they are able to discover them. This information may be beneficial to another technician at a significant time at a later stage.
  • Regularly review the parts that are already used while carefully deleting those that are obsolete.

Work Order Management

The CMMS software is quite handy when managing orders, as it can help to schedule, dispatch and track work crews, thereby helping to eliminate overlapping of duties. Success in planning and scheduling is determined by how work orders are communicated to the maintenance department and how these orders are eventually handled. In instances where an immense number of orders arrive by phone, significant staff time will be devoted to taking and answering calls. Furthermore, it will be easy for data or order details to be lost through this verbal delivery.

However, when these numbers are handled electronically, the number of work orders does not only increase but also helps save time, while reducing the frustration of the requester.

Furthermore, work orders that are submitted electronically limit communication problems as the exact words of the requester are stored for ease of reference by the technicians. Even then, an objective classification system is required in order to schedule work effectively.

Mobility

The mobile functionality of the CMMS offers the freedom to get updates within the field, letting the maintenance and facilities employees focus on their work as opposed to having to run to and fro between the job and headquarters.

Overall, there is no doubt that the CMMS is guaranteed to bring a revolution into the management of health facilities by making it easier for health workers to access information that includes schematic drawings, manuals, pictures, blueprints, equipment specifications as well as anything that is useful for the job. Moreover, organizations are able to collect information easily, thereby saving on time and money while guaranteeing efficiency of maintenance operations. 

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​Lindsey Walker

Lindsey Walker is the marketing manager for NEXGEN Asset Management. She excels at business development, project management and asset management. Her passion for writing allows her to share her knowledge on asset management, geographic information systems (GIS), software implementation, training curriculum development and similar topics.

Location: Sacramento, CA

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