Why CMMS is Crucial for Healthcare Operations

11/20/2019 - Blog

Healthcare facilities have always tracked property maintenance and medical equipment. In years past, the data was tracked via pen and paper and was far less reliable.

Thankfully, with advances in technology, operations teams have been able to use Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) to digitally track vital data across any number of departments and locations.

CMMS are now found in almost every healthcare facility and are crucial for smooth day-to-day operations in hospitals, urgent cares, and emergency rooms. Healthcare facilities must properly maintain and track not only medical equipment such as MRI machines and hospital beds, but also material inventory and the facility itself. An effective CMMS should track:

  • Previous and preventative maintenance of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems; mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems; food storage and preparation equipment; elevators and fire safety building compliance; and medical devices
  • Software updates for computers and medical devices
  • Quantity and condition of wheelchairs and transportation equipment
  • Lighting and energy efficiency and savings
  • Cleaning and maintenance schedules

Tracking the condition, status, and inventory of these assets allows faculty to save time and focus on their task at hand, ensures staff and patient safety, and can save the hospital or healthcare facilities from potential liability from having faulty equipment or infrastructure. Due to the highly regulated nature of the healthcare industry, readily available status reports for every inch of the facility assists operations in keeping everything up to code. Additionally, tracking property systems and infrastructure can save the facility time and money in the long run by avoiding costly repairs and extending the lifespan of valuable assets.

CMMS also increases communication between departments and the maintenance staff and keeps all information in one place. Despite the commonality of these systems in healthcare facilities, many are not utilizing their systems to their full potential. While a new system may be necessary in some cases, often the current CMMS is appropriate and just needs to be re-evaluated.

How do you determine if your existing CMMS is sufficient?

  1. Review and prioritize your inventory. Go over your inventory to ensure all equipment is accounted for, all critical equipment is identified, characterized, and maintained to Joint Commission standards, and that any equipment more suited for documentation in an asset management system is moved to that system.
  2. Review and update PM schedules. Take a look at manufacturer recommendations or create an Alternative Equipment Maintenance (AEM) schedule and build regular maintenance and documentation processes into your CMMS. Be sure to consider the timing of work order generation within the CMMS so you don’t overload your team all at once.
  3. Review your corrective measure work order process. Consider the CM workflow and consider the customer experience. Sort different work orders by level of priority to ensure life safety issues are addressed immediately, while other, less pressing issues are allowed a longer timeframe. This is also when you and your team should begin to identify the key performance metrics you want to track.
  4. Evaluate your CMMS software requirements. Having completed the first three steps, you can now review your existing CMMS to determine whether it fits your needs. Ask, “Can it regularly demonstrate compliance? Can it capture operation-critical information? Can it generate regular reports? Is it reliable?”

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