What is Healthcare Facility Management (HFM)?
By Healthcare Facility Management, or HFM, we mean the management of healthcare facilities. Find out what it is and what its main functions are
At the end of a grueling pandemic, we are now more than ever aware of how crucial the proper functioning of healthcare facilities is. Therefore, healthcare facility management (HFM), that is the efficient management of healthcare facilities through specific facility management software is equally crucial.
In this article, we will see what HFM consists of and what its functions are.
What is healthcare facility management?
Healthcare facility management (HFM), or hospital facility management, refers to the management of healthcare facilities. The term “Healthcare” encompasses all facilities providing medical services: hospitals, clinics, surgical centers, physiotherapy centers, long-term hospitalization centers, etc.
The management of these facilities includes the maintenance and administration of every element of the asset. Since they are buildings where people’s health is taken care of, their maintenance and management is as important as delicate.
How is healthcare facility management performed?
The management phase of an asset is particularly delicate because it should allow the asset to maintain, throughout its life cycle, the same functions with which it was designed.
When it comes to healthcare facility management, the task is even more delicate. In fact, it manages the functions, safety, maintenance of all parts of a structure that deals with people’s health.
Healthcare facility management duties are certainly vast and vary according to the specific type of health facility, but there are seven paramount functions that should certainly not be lacking in the planning of an HFM. Let’s see what they are.
- Managing Day-to-Day Operations: operations for a healthcare facility manager include the following tasks:
- establishing safety policies and maintenance plans;
- identifying the needs for repairs or renovations;
- coordinating contractors for building repairs;
- inspecting and assessing the conditions of medical equipment and supplies;
- ensuring regulatory compliance;
- periodically assessing the structural safety of the building and its fire-fighting system;
- performing inspections and maintenance of HVAC systems, medical equipment that prevent the use of medical gases, etc;
- ensuring that all buildings meet safety standards;
- supervising the management of utilities and electrical systems;
- inspecting patient rooms, waiting rooms, operating rooms, etc.;
- purchasing and installing furniture and equipment;
- inspecting buildings to identify existing or emerging structural problems;
- staying focused on the budgets related to management operations;
- managing agreements with suppliers.
- Maintaining a High-Quality Care Environment: providing a safe and reliable healthcare environment for patients is essential for every healthcare facility. In this sense, the healthcare facility manager will be responsible for carrying out periodic inspections on fire safety, electrical system, water systems management, air quality, etc. The HFM team typically collaborates with the hospital administration office to develop strategies and policies that protect patients, visitors and employees.
- Managing projects and interventions (Construction Project Management): ensuring that the interventions on the structure are completed in compliance with the budget and time requirements is another fundamental aspect. It is clear how delays, for example, delivering an area of the facility, temporarily closed for maintenance, can cause serious disruptions to patients.
- Ensuring security: Security is a major concern in the healthcare sector. The Facility Manager is in this case responsible for a number of tasks aspects to manage, among which we can find the below:
- accessibility: those who can and cannot enter and leave a health facility;
- monitoring: through video or real-time recordings;
- data protection: patient data and electronic medical records are among the information to be protected.
- Preventive Maintenance: as for each structure, preventive maintenance – which prevents unexpected failures in the future – is certainly preferable to reactive maintenance – which only intervenes once the problem has occurred. Preventive maintenance plans allow the HFM team to address regular maintenance before problems may arise, prolonging the lifespan of company assets, equipment, and infrastructure.
- Finances: as far as finance is concerned, the most important responsibility for the HFM team is the development and adherence to an operating budget for the asset. Not only must they understand the economic contingence of the facility to define the budget, but they must also make decisions on new investments, set spending priorities and negotiate service agreements.
Healthcare facility management checklist
With facility management, in this case a healthcare facility, having a list, studied and planned in advance.It will be really helpful not to leave anything behind and to be sure that every aspect and every element of the work is managed as expected. Here below you will find an example of healthcare facility management (HFM) checklist:
- electrical problems: the lives of many patients depend on the constant flow of electricity, so it is essential that the electrical system and everything connected to it, is constantly monitored and maintained and that you know how to intervene in the event of failures;
- extreme meteorological events: it is essential to keep the pedestrian roads and and zones perfectly functioning and safe even in the event of exceptional weather phenomena;
- kitchen maintenance: the catering service is essential for the patient guests of the structure. It is therefore important to rely on a company with experience in the installation and repair of commercial kitchen equipment;
- Document management: healthcare facilities collect a lot of personal and private information from patients. Therefore, one of the points that must not be missing from the HFM checklist is a safe data management process;
- furnishings and equipment: these two elements are fundamental within a healthcare facility, which must accommodate and guarantee comfort and well-being to the patient. It will therefore be one of the tasks of the HFM to ensure that the furnishings of the structure are always in perfect condition.
Healthcare facility management is certainly a delicate activity that implies great responsibility; fortunately enough, there are specific software that provide valuable support to facility managers. A healthcare enterprise facility management software would, in fact, suit them to discover the benefits of safe and efficient facility management process.