Six tactics for streamlining your operations amid COVID-19

By Braden Witt / Special to Healthcare Facilities Today
May 19, 2020

In the past few months, your work, your environment and your operations have changed.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the world is depending on you even more to promote health and safety – and your operations processes are core to that mission. So, what are you doing to improve – or what can you do to improve with all the new complexity in your daily work?

Let's explore a few ideas for ways you can streamline today. Tactics for aligning your team. Tools to help you operate more digitally. These could unlock the efficiency you really need in the current environment.

1. Organize your workflow and communication

Now is the time where your Emergency Response plan goes into action. And while it may not be carried out perfectly under the circumstances, workflow and communication should be a focus.

One way to streamline your operations workflow is through organizing your preventive (PM) and corrective maintenance tasks. Take a look at what you need to prioritize, pause or build out. Now may be a great time to add more scheduled work orders into your CMMS (computerized maintenance management system). These set tasks will help you better forecast your team’s work, have daily reminders and improve accountability.

Your technology should also empower you to have close communication. Close the communication loop by using a work request tool that allows you to push feedback back to requesters – and even automates that process for less legwork from you. This can help cut down on status check calls and even complaints. Another idea is to use bulletins within your CMMS to flash up alerts and important information related to COVID-19 for users.

2. Take advantage of mobile tools

We’ve been monitoring usage patterns within our software since the start of the pandemic, and one thing we’ve noticed is that mobile usage up 10% since March 2020. And that comes as no surprise as operators in healthcare are looking for ways to be more agile.

Now is the time to go digital with as much as you can – work orders, housekeeping tasks, QA and surveys, safety procedures, etc. With a mobile maintenance and operations system, you can do all of this and give your team access wherever they’re working and documenting. From biomedical asset management to gathering inventory to disinfection tasks, it can all be captured on a mobile device.

3. Optimize your QA & survey process

One way to ensure you’re maximizing staff time and promoting consistent work is by taking a look at your QA and survey process, especially in high-touch areas. You can do that by:

• Completing regular infection control-related inspections

• Using your CMMS to automate simple pass-fail surveys and generate the corrective work order

• Monitoring the results of surveys to improve housekeeping and maintenance procedures

• Completing EOC and safety rounds via mobile

Use these methods to gauge if your training and COVID-19 procedures are being carried out consistently or find areas of improvement.

4. Harness digital documentation

How you document the work you do is almost as important as doing the work. Digital makes that much easier for you and your team to capture, especially around COVID-19 tasks.

Within your CMMS, you should create a custom source of work and category or subcategory for COVID-19-related work. Ensure your team knows that the tagging of related work is critical for data consistency, reporting and ultimately, infection control, and keeping your Emergency operations in order.

Furthermore, you should explore these other areas of digital documentation within your CMMS:

• Digital file library that can house important documentation like forms, questionnaires and protocols

•  Space management tools to digitize floor plans and the locations of equipment and assets

• Biomedical asset management tools to streamline managing clinical equipment

• Staff schedules and work routing.

5. Clear and impactful reporting

The stronger and more organized the COVID-19-specific data you’ve gathered, the more impactful your reporting.

Here are some reports you should run around COVID-19 tasks:

• Work orders completed

• Work load analysis

•  PM analysis

• Task list and QA completion and results

• Response time analysis

• Security round exceptions

Mark those and other reports as favorites and set up email subscriptions for you and other managers and department leads so everyone is in the loop, allowing easy access to reporting for staff that may be working from home or isolated parts of the facility. More than just the work, ensure you are also tracking labor hours and costs, so you can see the full impact of what you’ve done and what you should be doing.

6. Show gratitude & prepare for the future

Take a moment to thank your team serving on the front lines of the pandemic. Show your maintenance, housekeeping and operations staff that you are grateful for them and their dedicated work. You can also pull COVID-19 reports from your CMMS to demonstrate the gravity and volume of their work.

Finally, it's a great time to reevaluate emergency management plans based on lessons learned during pandemic response and ensure you’re equipping your team with tools and technology to streamline their critical work. Small efficiencies and maximizing your team’s productivity mean you can more efficiently promote a healthy and safe environment.

Braden Witt is a Product Manager for TheWorxHub at Dude Solutions


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