Labor shortages in the aftermath of COVID-19 have touched virtually every sector, and the healthcare field is certainly no exception. The pandemic also brought on new challenges in staffing and hiring that couldn’t have been foreseen two years ago.
It is understood that roughly half of the current facilities maintenance workforce is retiring within the next few years, which is much earlier than most healthcare administrators predicted. COVID has expedited the retirement of maintenance workers that hospitals depend on to fulfill service orders and ensure all equipment is running as it should.
Now more than ever, administrators need to do all they can to use time and resources efficiently to staff service maintenance roles, allocate the time of current maintenance employees, and review whether the systems they currently have in place are running as smoothly as they could be.
The best CMMS may not be able to actively recruit workers to fill vacancies, but it can help do the next best thing: help you use time and resources more efficiently.
There are two main ways a CMMS can do this: It reduces onboarding time, which gets new maintenance workers up to speed faster and frees up time for current workers so they don’t have to spend as much time training; and healthcare maintenance software can fine-tune systems to increase the chances that preventative maintenance is only done when necessary, while still being compliance ready.
Reducing Training Time
Let’s explore the first of these a bit further. It is standard practice in healthcare for newly hired maintenance workers to shadow current workers for a period of roughly two years in order to understand the layout of the hospital, the location of important systems, and learn how to fulfill work orders. With FSI’s technology, you can cut this onboarding time exponentially with features like the CMS View application. This provides a map of your hospital layout at the touch of a button, allowing new hires to see where equipment is without relying on other workers for guidance.
Robert Setters at Tiff Regional gives us a look at how hospitals use CMS View on a regular basis. “Having the ability to quickly pull up a map of the hospital has done wonders for saving time and energy,” he says. “Jobs can be completed far quicker when it’s easy to see exactly where the work needs to be done.”
Another key piece of technology that healthcare maintenance management software can assist with is continued training and ensuring knowledge transfer. If a new hire needs to refresh their memory on how to do something, VR 360 puts training videos at their fingertips, encouraging self-taught training at their desired pace. Another key to success is capturing the knowledge of the workforce that will retire. Conducting on-site interviews with senior maintenance staff and extracting the knowledge from their minds into a database allows teams to continue to learn from those with the most experience. Whether it’s your hospital’s proprietary training videos or generic ones, VR 360 can utilize any video content to get your workers on the right track.
Creating Efficiencies With CMMS
The second biggest role that custom maintenance management software can play is in creating efficiencies that allow your hospital to do less with less. What we mean by this is you can reevaluate the maintenance you are currently doing to see if it’s still necessary now that you have a smaller maintenance staff. Typically, the level of maintenance that a hospital was doing years ago when they were fully staffed simply isn’t necessary anymore, and our customer success team can show you how.
One example of a customer success efficiency model is Atrium Health, an integrated, nonprofit health system with 40 hospitals and more than 1,400 care locations based in Charlotte, NC. By using FSI’s CMS Analytics, the team helped them cut down time by 15-20%, all while still passing compliance. This information also allowed them to gain a better understanding of where workers were spending their time.
“We cut back in the areas we didn’t need to spend as much time in, and our team can feel that overall things are running that much smoother,” expresses Dennis Ford, MHA, FASHE, CHFM, CHC, Corporate Support Services at Atrium Health.
By looking through data and analytics, our team is able to pinpoint where to cut out preventative maintenance work orders, thereby reducing the number of PMs. The actions you can take as a result of reducing preventative maintenance can be done while still meeting compliance codes, but doing them less frequently.
Like many sectors, healthcare is still adjusting and rebuilding after the pandemic, and finding solutions to staffing shortages is a challenge that administrations are working to overcome everyday. Let your CMMS help you in this endeavor and give you creative solutions to problems like onboarding, efficient use of time and allocation of resources. Learning to do less with less will allow your team to do your jobs more efficiently than you could have imagined.
Serwinski is the Founder and President of FSI. He is a seasoned professional with a broad range of experience in facility management, computerized maintenance management systems (CMMS) and business development.