As organizations become familiar with groundbreaking technology, some industries will benefit more than others.
Hospitals are one type of facility that will soon embrace new technology designed to improve patient care.
Thanks to big data analytics, scientific breakthroughs are continually announced, from predicting premature births to diagnosing cancer. But beneath the surface is maintenance technology – the key to daily operations.
Just as rapidly as business intelligence software has taken over, more intelligent maintenance technology has also ramped up to support hospitals’ bottom lines.
Two Maintenance Technologies for Smart Hospitals
A better maintenance process benefits patient care, employee workflows and the bottom line improvements all healthcare facilities must consider.
1. Preventive Maintenance
For facilities just starting out with maintenance improvements, preventive maintenance is critical. From the Definitive Guide to Computerized Maintenance Management Software (CMMS):
Preventive maintenance, or planned/scheduled maintenance, is the most common method of conducting routine maintenance. For all maintenance actions based on a calendar or routine system, technicians are conducting preventive maintenance such as changing the oil, replacing a part or ordering new equipment to prevent a breakdown.
When facilities decide to switch from a costly reactive cycle to a responsible proactive cycle, CMMS allows maintenance teams to document and schedule maintenance practices ahead of time.
For example, if an HVAC unit requires routine maintenance, technicians can schedule a check-up every six months. When technicians go to perform the maintenance, they can also note whether a replacement part will be needed and can order it for next time through the solution. The work order is then updated, and the six-month checkup will be scheduled with a note to replace the part. In addition, any warranties and receipts are saved digitally for technicians to check as needed in the solution.
Smart hospitals recognize that these features are must-haves for reliable uptime.
2. Predictive Maintenance
For hospitals that may be using or considering smarter hardware technology, CMMS can greatly help with organization and cost savings.
Many technologies include smart beds, advanced wheelchairs and other equipment pieces for reading information in real time. These devices are expensive, but worthwhile, as they enable doctors to continually monitor the health of their patients. A new trend called the Internet of Things has paved the way for objects to directly communicate health data, and one popular example is the FitBit.
Predictive maintenance is a dynamic combination of features such as work order tracking, scheduled maintenance and mobility with analytic capabilities found in business intelligence software. For a better understanding, here’s how we’ve defined it in The Definitive Guide to CMMS:
Predictive maintenance relies on conducting maintenance based on trends within equipment data. This technology is tied to condition-based monitoring systems for reading the output (condition) of an asset’s variables. For example: If a piece of equipment has had temperatures continually rise, an alert or work order for predictive maintenance will trigger before equipment failure. Predictive maintenance is based on predicting when an asset needs attention rather than simply replacing a part when it could have lasted longer.
Assets can read the real-time conditions surrounding them and communicate trends to the software. The applications of this technology have a very far reach.
For example, with predictive maintenance, MRI maintenance isn’t done on a time-based schedule. Instead, a maintenance solution tracks the MRI machine’s usage so maintenance is only performed before any problems occur. Instead of replacing a part on a schedule, technicians can save time and money by only replacing parts when necessary. Spare parts inventories can also be predictively balanced so parts are automatically ordered based on usage patterns.
Facilities looking to take better care of their high-capital assets use predictive maintenance to ensure that technicians fill their days with minimal reactive tasks, carefully predicting all of the work needed for the day instead.
The Bottom Line
Hospitals have many opportunities to improve in this day and age.
As incredible technology breakthroughs become mainstream, it may be a good idea to use tech to improve your facility’s maintenance. Rather than viewing the maintenance department as a cost center that reacts to problems as they arise, using CMMS helps prevent issues and can dramatically reduce expenses.
Author Bio: Julia is an editor with Better Buys, a trusted source for maintenance software news and research. Follow her @JuliaScavicchio for more on how technology is changing our workforce.