Environmental Sustainability Creates Efficiencies For Healthcare Facilities Managers

September 25, 2014


Environmental Sustainability Creates Efficiencies For Healthcare Facilities Managers

Can environmental sustainability — creating green strategies that touch all parts of your healthcare facility’s business — be a means to do so much more?

A recent report, jointly sponsored by the American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) and the Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) entitled Environmental Sustainability in Hospitals: The Value of Efficiency, argues sustainability in a healthcare setting creates financial and environmental benefits “that will help hospitals and care systems thrive now and in the future.”

How? For example, starting a green cleaning program does more than merely change a healthcare facility’s chemical footprint to a less toxic one.

Creating a more environmentally friendly program can also prevent the spread of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), helping a healthcare facility avoid penalties that could lower its Medicare reimbursements.

Now, take that sustainability improvement and stretch those financial savings in your facility over time. That one green cleaning change becomes an engine for reallocating dollars to other projects that really need it.

The savings accumulated through efficiencies on a single project alone allowed the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences to purchase 7 acres of land, remodel five operating areas, build flooring for a cancer institute and add 60 beds.

Implementing these changes that yield such benefits allow hospitals to achieve the Triple Aim that includes improving the patient experience and reducing per capita costs.

When considering sustainability, don’t forget those benefits extend beyond the walls of your healthcare facility. All that you do as a facility for the sake of sustainability also contributes to healthier communities, reducing area-wide water and energy usage and cutting back on pollution.

Commissioning

Another way to achieve efficiencies in healthcare management cited in this report is a popular one we’ve discussed before: Commissioning (the application of this process to new construction) along with retrocommissioning (the application of the commissioning process to existing buildings).

The most important thing for facilities managers to consider when commissioning a new project: How far will those extra dollars stretch on the back end.

According to the report, commissioning a project involving new construction could add anywhere from 0.25 to 1.5 percent to total construction costs. The real eye-opener from facilities managers and corporate leaders is just how far that small allocation of dollars can be stretched over the long haul.

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For assistance with getting the most out of your facility management department on time and on budget, contact Vanguard Resources.