Last week, the RedEye team in North America were lucky enough to visit the 2019 CAHED Annual Conference. CAHED – or the Colorado Association of Healthcare Engineers and Directors – is an industry body focused on excellence in Facilities Management, Biomedical Engineering, and Asset Management.
The event itself was a fantastic opportunity for RedEye to meet some truly innovative healthcare providers and to understand more about the complexity of the healthcare network in the United States. Here’s what we learned:
Reuse of facilities means access to the latest version of engineering data and drawings is as important as ever
Due to cost pressure, healthcare providers are reconfiguring every available facility rather than building brand new facilities. This means there’s an increased reliance on existing 3D models and engineering documentation to ensure the most cost-effective refit – the challenge is if that information is not accessible or up-to-date. Additionally, Med Tech is advancing at a rapid rate and there’s an almost constant need to update systems, including the supporting data and documentation.
The majority of field maintenance work is now being completed by multi-company teams
There’s less and less space for small, specialized contractors – they must work together. Healthcare providers require support from multiple specialists – architects, designers, mechanical and electrical contractors, dedicated vendor specialists, etc. Communication and information sharing across teams is a major hurdle that innovative tech-focused healthcare providers are tackling at the moment.
Multi-company teams are part of an even larger network
Hospitals are usually part of a local, state, or interstate network. That means that FM and engineering teams, while centrally located, are responsible for facilities across a large geographic footprint. Ensuring all FM teams are working in the same direction is often difficult – friction between each facility and central team. Again, communication and information sharing is vital.
Directors are looking for new ways to do more with less
A few directors I spoke with reported that budgets are being cut, despite the general positive financial position of the US healthcare system. The default response to doing more with less leads to more contract work and more pressure on salaried staff. The more innovative healthcare providers are looking to technology to reduce operational costs through streamlined asset and facilities management.
Tech for tech’s sake just leads to more silos
FM teams are seeing more and more tech adoption. Cloud-and-mobile software, 3D models and GIS technology is becoming commonplace. With every new piece of technology, it’s important to remember the overarching goal and how each individual platform takes the hospital closer to this goal. Sometimes it’s the smaller software solutions that can have a bigger impact.
Want to learn more about digital engineering? Download our free 10-page What Is Digital Engineering whitepaper including a glossary of terms to provide you with the information you need to start your digital transformation journey.