Make healthy business decisions amidst labor resource constraints

4 minutes

No two ways about it; COVID-19 walloped the healthcare industry, especially regarding labor.

While the news has focused on the labor pressures of healthcare workers—doctors and nurses—quietly the issue of maintenance and facilities labor shortages have percolated in the background.

Even pre-2020, Baby Boomers had already started aging out of the workforce, especially in facilities-based roles. Then, as pandemic-related financial pressures mounted, some healthcare organizations furloughed or eliminated maintenance staff positions due to lower-than-expected census rates in hospitals. In some cases, these jobs have yet to be restored to pre-COVID-19 staffing levels.

Additionally, for those on the fence about whether to stay or go, the pandemic accelerated employees' decisions to change roles or leave healthcare altogether—as many as one-in-five workers have departed the industry, either switching careers or retiring.

Keeping departments resourced is a top challenge. The healthcare industry must do more with fewer people, from nursing and clinical positions to the maintenance and operations (M&O) professionals that keep facilities functioning.

How staffing shortages affect healthcare operations

When hospitals don’t have enough workers to take care of operations, it cascades to the physicians, support staff and patients. If something falls through the cracks, it can compromise the safety of everyone who depends on the facility, whether for employment or care.

From cleaning or HVAC maintenance to ensuring the compliance of equipment and facilities, there is a lot that goes into keeping everything up and running—an extra challenge if it’s all tracked on paper or disconnected spreadsheets.

For M&O teams, the decline in personnel arrives at an interesting juncture. Across industries, there is a push for digital transformation. It’s no longer a buzzword; it’s a fact of whether or not organizations can remain competitive, and in some cases, operational at all.

At the same time, there are deeply-experienced professionals leaving the workforce altogether, while many operational leaders have yet to crack the code of attracting the next generation of maintenance professionals.

Hint: remember that digital transformation we just talked about?

There is help to maximize existing resources

While not an ideal state for longevity, leaders and administrators must find ways to navigate operational talent challenges—right now—while leveraging assets to make strategic budgeting and forecasting decisions. The right technology, such as an enterprise asset management (EAM) or computerized maintenance management system (CMMS), can help.

Implementing technology designed specifically for healthcare operations can help in a myriad of ways, including:

  • Capturing and centralizing legacy knowledge before it walks out the door
  • Automation of tasks, scheduling and workflows to boost efficiency
  • Staying on top of inspections and compliance
  • Monitoring utility consumption

On top of simply making the day-to-day easier, technology creates an opportunity to upskill workers. An optimized operations department has more time (and possibly, more funding) for learning vital skills. If organizations want to leverage every ounce of their long-time M&O employees before they leave, technology can also aid in transferring knowledge to the next generation.

Streamlining operations to provide the best care possible

For hospitals and healthcare facilities, taking care of patients starts with the buildings, machines, tools and systems that providers rely on. Equipment, safety functions, cleaning protocols—it all must maintain compliance so doctors and physicians can focus on patients.

It’s a tall task for an understaffed M&O department.

Facility management software can help operations teams to cut costs through smarter maintenance and improved compliance processes. With the right tools to efficiently manage risk assessments, M&O leaders can build smarter budgets and workflows to help hospitals and other health facilities work with what they have while planning and hiring for a stronger future.

Understand the health of your assets (and work smarter while you’re at it)

Operations teams might not work directly with patients, but what they do sets doctors and nurses up for success. For M&O managers building out their departments as institutional knowledge continues to walk out the door, the key to retaining some legacy knowledge and setting the next generation of workers up for success lies in gathering all the available data and centralizing it.

An enterprise asset management system with advanced asset health modeling can enable leaders to gather and visualize data better to predict long-term asset health, take advantage of work order automation and leverage preventive maintenance to save time and money.

Shining the Brightly light on healthcare facilities management

Are you ready to stop spending countless unproductive hours building and maintaining static spreadsheets disconnected from daily operations? Brightly can help your healthcare organization unlock optimized facilities management.

Whether you’re interested in leveraging a CMMS system fully optimized for healthcare or looking for a SAM solution that can improve strategic budgeting and forecasting, Brightly can help boost the productivity of your staff and enable your management team to make more informed decisions—and make them quickly.

Sound good? Let’s get started. Connect with Brightly today.