Smart Facility Software Home
Environmental Services Management Software
All Posts By

apetrash

Document and Report on Project Work using the Project Assignment Module

By | Software Features, Software Tips | No Comments

One of the most important things ES Optimizer can help you with is documenting Project Work. You can be ready with instant reporting for Joint Commission Compliance visits and any other question on when work was done in a specific area. You can also schedule project work so you can stop dropping daily assignments to put out fires.

Projects are automatically created with each room record based on the room type, floor type and your staffing analysis. You can use the Project Assignment module in ES Optimizer to:

  • Track completed work
  • Schedule and Assign project work so nothing slips through the cracks
  • Create work orders
  • View and Report when projects are completed
  • Set frequencies for recurring tasks
  • View scheduled work on a daily calendar
  • Schedule and assign Project Work from the floor on your mobile device

Manage Project Work from Mobile Devices:

You can schedule project work on the fly while performing a QA Inspection using your mobile device. With Service Optimizer, technicians can log completed project work in real-time on a mobile device.


 

These videos can guide you through managing Project Work in ES Optimizer:

Create and Schedule Project Work

Make a Project Recurring

After you add a project, watch this video to learn how to make it recurring ES Optimizer:

Search for Projects

Print a Project Assignment

How to Create a Work Order (or Assign a Project Work Order)

How to Schedule a Project while Performing a Quality Management Inspection

Ask us about managing Service Requests and Projects on the fly with Service Optimizer!

The Costs of Not Investing in Your EVS Department

By | Environmental Services News, EVS Learning Center | No Comments

While EVS departments don’t generate revenue, they are key to the success of revenue-generating departments. When hospitals look to decrease overhead, EVS departments— with the second largest number of people in the organization—are often first on the list. But, if you don’t invest in your EVS department, it will cost your hospital—in profitability, reputation, and patient safety.

Why Cutting EVS People Might Actually Increase Costs

Labor is the most expensive line item in any EVS budget, which means people in the EVS department are often targets for cost cutting. The problem with this tactic is what seems like a small labor cut can have a large impact on quality and destroy hard-won efficiencies.

"What seems like a small labor cut can have a large impact on quality and destroy hard-won efficiencies." - Shawn Wright, Principal at Smart Facility Software
There are three distinct ways reducing people can increase the cost of running an EVS department.

Cost 1: Paying Employees Overtime

When you reduce people, you need to plan workload reduction in order to avoid incurring overtime. Decisions will have to be made about which cleaning frequencies will be reduced and which areas will get a reduced level of clean. Failure to plan for a reduced workload will inevitably increase overtime costs.

A disadvantage with overtime is you are paying a tired employee time and a half.

Cost 2: Poor Employee Morale

One of the sneakiest, but often greatest, indirect costs of staffing cuts is the negative impact on employee satisfaction. As employee morale falls, the disgruntled attitude of employees becomes a ripple effect throughout the hospital. The last thing you want is the second largest workforce in your hospital to become your biggest critic, which can trickle all the way down to patients and visitors. Poor morale contributes to poor performance, and if not addressed, a high turnover rate—both resulting in reduced productivity.

Cost 3: High Employee Turnover

Experienced employees are the backbone of a successful EVS department.

Experienced employees are the backbone of a successful EVS department—they understand the hospital, the technical aspects of their work and more readily achieve high quality standards. When you cut staff, overworked and frustrated employees seek out a better work environment.

Increased turnover rates lead to higher management costs for hiring and onboarding new employees. Time that was once spent on productivity by experienced employees becomes time spent training and ramping up to previous performance levels.

"The cost of replacing an experienced ES employee can average as much as one-and-a-half times the year's salary for that position." - Patty Costello, HFM Magazine
Not only does this increase costs for the EVS department; it also increases the workload for other hospital departments: HR, Finance, and Security.

When EVS Departments Suffer, Hospital Profitability Suffers

EVS is an essential function at every medical facility. Without a properly staffed and productive EVS department, hospital costs increase rapidly.

There are three primary costs of not investing in your EVS department that directly impact hospital profitability.

Cost 1: Slower Patient Turnover

The most important work for an EVS Department is providing clean, infection-free bed space in a timely manner. Failure to do this results in lost revenue for the Hospital. This directly affects the rate at which hospitals serve patients. When patient rooms sit empty waiting for a short-staffed EVS team to clean the room, new patients can’t be seen and revenue is lost. Patients who experience excessive wait times will negatively affect your HCAHPS scores.

Poor patient throughput in the emergency department reduces the amount of revenue generated by this highly-staffed and high-margin department. As most hospitals run at a full census these days, slow bed turnover will directly affect the hospital’s bottom line.

Cost 2: Negative Reputation and Reduced Market Share

A small but insidious cost to hospitals with understaffed or overworked EVS departments is the negative impact on reputation. When you cut ES staff, you end up cutting corners—reducing cleaning frequencies and levels of cleanliness.

Multiple studies and patient surveys have proven patients’ perceptions of hospital cleanliness majorly impact their overall perception of care and their hospital experience. Facilities that appear unsanitary are viewed as unsafe, resulting in patients who take their business to a facility they believe they can trust. Not only does it erode the hospital’s word-of-mouth reputation; it also affects HCAHPS scores—which are publicly reported and impact government reimbursement.

Cost 3: Increase in Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs)

The EVS Department plays a critical role in reducing HAIs, which affect 1.7 million patients and cost U.S. Hospitals over $35 billion annually.

The EVS department plays a critical role in reducing HAIs, which affect 1.7 million patients and cost U.S. hospitals over $35 billion annually. More importantly, these infections lead to approximately 98,900 deaths every year.

While EVS departments can’t control the human transfer of pathogens, they can significantly reduce the impact of the environmental spread of HAIs. If hospitals start viewing EVS technicians as Infection Control Specialists, hospitals can go from clean to sterile.

Investing in EVS staffing helps maintain a safe, comprehensive, unfaltering level of clean that protects patients, visitors, and hospital staff.

ES Optimizer Calculates Staffing Levels and Optimizes Work Assignments

Investing in the right number of EVS staff is key to avoiding common pitfalls that negatively impact your EVS department’s effectiveness and the profitability of your hospital. However, investing doesn’t always mean increasing headcount. It does, however, mean knowing the exact number of people you need to keep your hospital not only looking clean, but infection-free as well.

An EVS department performs hundreds of 1,000s of tasks every year. Getting a complete understanding of EVS department needs requires comprehensive ES Technology like ES Optimizer. With this technology you’ll understand the full scope of EVS responsibilities.

Here’s an example of some of one hospital’s facility and cleaning data readily available and usable in the ES Optimizer database after an on-site survey by the Smart Facility Software team:

  • 12 Buildings
  • 122 Floors
  • 529 Subsections
  • 8,200 Rooms, Stairwells, Entrances, Elevators, and Corridors
  • 1,760,565 Cleanable Sq. Ft.
  • 9,807 Daily Cleaning Tasks to be Performed 5, 6, 7, 10, 12, 14, 18, and 21 Times per Week
  • 26,295 Project Work Cleaning Tasks to be Performed 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, and 26 Times per Year

Having this kind of data at your fingertips is necessary for an accurate headcount. An inventoried Hospital in the right EVS software system also has the power to optimize your workflow, side-stepping the avoidable costs of not investing in your Environmental Services Department.

Once you have the right number of people doing the right thing at the right time in the right place, your Environmental Services Department performance will show provable progress.

Real-World Case Study of EVS Software in Action

ES Optimizer users know their hospital is clean and their department is running as efficiently as possible. The results they see from using our ES Technology save time, and therefore money, while improving patient/visitor experience.

See the measurable impact our clients experience using ES Optimizer.

Woman’s Hospital – Baton Rouge

ES Optimizer’s staffing models showed the ES Director that he had three extra Full-Time Employees (FTEs) on staff, allowing him to staff a new building without hiring additional FTEs. It also dramatically impacted his employee’s happiness and job satisfaction by making sure work assignments are equitable.

If you’re ready to see measurable results at your medical facility, request a free demo of ES Optimizer or reach out to me directly at swright@smartfacilitysoftware.com or call us at 800-260-8665.

How to Use ES Optimizer Reports to Justify Staffing Levels at Budget Meetings

By | EVS Learning Center, Software Tips | No Comments

When it’s time to present to the budget committee, you can justify your EVS staffing levels with the most accurate and up-to-date data and ensure that you have adequate staffing using your ES Optimizer Reports.

First, make sure your room inventory in ES Optimizer is up-to-date.

If there’s been a change in your cleanable space, whether that’s an office move, construction, or a flooring upgrade, you might need more people. Update your ES Optimizer database to determine how your workflow will be affected.

Updating room information is a simple process in ES Optimizer. Choose “Master File” in the software. Here you can add Buildings, Departments and Rooms.

Second, Use ES Optimizer to calculate # of people needed to perform routine and project cleaning tasks. Choose “Staffing Analysis” under “Special Function” in the software.

Third, Calculate additional staffing needs. This includes:

  • Management FTEs
  • Lock-In Positions
  • Duties the EVS department performs beside cleaning such as: Bulk/Bio Waste Collection, Recycled Materials Collection, Linen PU/Delivery, Meeting Set-Up/Breakdown, etc.

Remember, you are not alone. Click here for support, call Tech Support at 800-260-8665, ext. #2 or call the consulting team ext. #8

Three Ways Harnessing ES Data Justifies Your Staffing and Supports Your Decisions

By | EVS Learning Center | No Comments

Hospitals are information-based organizations and data is crucial for all departments. This is especially true for Environmental Services Departments—who employ the second largest workforce in the hospital—where data is essential to developing the right staffing model.

There are three key reasons you need to collect and use comprehensive EVS data to get the staff you need, while proving your employees’ value to hospital administration.

1. Get the administration to take your staffing needs seriously.

As a non-revenue generating department, EVS directors have to fight harder for resources. If your department can’t invoice or get reimbursed by insurance, you’re looked at as overhead that needs to be reduced.

Data is the only way to build a convincing case for every employee in your department.

You have to start from the ground up. You need to create an inventory of every type of space, variation in fixtures, and cleaning time and frequency. This information can be translated into a staffing analysis that equates workload with required work hours.

But even this data only tells you part of the number employees needed. Lock-In positions, management employees, duties besides cleaning (Linen PU/Delivery, Meeting Set-Up/Breakdown, etc.) and nonproductive time (breaks, sick days etc.) are all variables administration must understand.

Most importantly, hospital administration needs to understand the repercussions of insufficient staffing. If staffing needs aren’t met, a less sanitary hospital isn’t a possibility—it’s a reality—and one that will affect their bottom line.

2. Protect your resources before someone else jeopardizes them.

If you don’t have a handle on your data, someone else will be brought in by hospital administration to do it for you—and often, they will have different priorities and won’t be an ES expert. Gathering detailed, actionable data is the only way to protect your resources from common risks like these.

Oversimplification of cleaning requirements

It’s easy for consultants who don’t understand the ins-and-outs of EVS departments to make sweeping assumptions about ES staffing. We’ve seen countless industry outsiders come into a hospital and calculate the ES employees needed solely on the facility’s square feet. This methodology neglects critical information that greatly affects the time needed to keep the facility clean.

Before adding or cutting resources, you need comprehensive data that takes into account:

  • All cleanable areas, not just patient rooms. This means ORs, corridors, restrooms, lobbies and elevators—all of which aren’t accounted for in ADT systems—that need to be documented and logged to a database.
  • Different floor types and flooring finishes require different cleaning steps, which results in different amounts of time to clean them.
  • Types and number of fixtures in a space—all the way down to whether there is a shower or sink in the room.
  • Room types and level of use. An OR has different cleaning steps than a patient room or an office.

Faithfully recording these variations is what produces a staffing analysis based on reality, not generalizations.

Hospital budget cuts

The increasing costs of healthcare and running a hospital make EVS departments, with their large staff, a target for budget cuts. An EVS Director will inevitably be confronted by someone saying the department can be run with fewer people.

If you can’t provide hard-and-fast numbers to support your staffing levels, you’ll face staffing cuts. Comprehensive EVS data can help you run, analyze “What if?” scenarios, so you can even answer hypothetical questions definitively. With this knowledge, you can justify complete staffing scenarios according to your budget and quality criteria and set expectations—satisfying administration and protecting your resources.

Staffing cuts that impact quality

It’s easy for an outside consultant to tell you to cut employees. In fact, it’s a scenario a member of the Smart Facility Software team, Chris Lucier, experienced firsthand when he was an EVS Director. He was told to cut 20% of his employees, a number that wasn’t backed by reasoning or understanding what work would have to stop.

Chris asked himself: How was it possible their staffing levels were so far off? How could he possibly implement these changes?

Instead of blindly trusting the consultant, Chris dug into his data, which was housed and organized in ES Optimizer, to report on the impact the recommended cuts would have on the cleanliness of the hospital. He was able to show exactly what each of his employees was doing and the reduction in quality—in every area of the hospital—their termination would cause.

He not only saved his employees’ jobs, but his own. Not to mention the reputation of the hospital and health of its patients.

3. Turn massive amounts of data into strategic staffing decisions.

Over 20 years ago, it was common for hospitals to have a large staff and ample time to clean a hospital. But, today it’s the direct opposite—hospital administrations routinely scrutinize EVS budgets and want you to run leaner. This situation necessitates using your staff in the most strategic way you can.

Comprehensive EVS data can be used to optimize your day-to-day staffing, minimizing nonproductive time and maximizing work completed by:

  • Scheduling project work so it isn’t missed and doesn’t interrupt daily work assignments when it becomes an emergency. Plan project work, such as floor polishing, that isn’t done daily to avoid surprises and interruptions in daily routines.
  • Creating realistic, full and equitable work assignments. Increase employee satisfaction and productivity by assigning equal workloads and rotating schedules across your hospital.
  • Getting real-time data on completed work and service requests. Know when you need to shift staff as needs change to avoid downtime, and ensure when tasks are done, they’re done right.
  • Identifying issues and solutions. Know not only that you need to change something, but where, when and how much it needs to change.

These workflow optimizations will keep your EVS department running smoothly, while tracking and reporting on these efficiencies will prove the value of your full-time employees.

Using technology to manage your data, so you can manage your department.

The sheer volume of what an EVS department does every day requires a special tool to manage it. You need to account for the number of times your staff visits patient rooms, the number of policing assignments needed to ensure quality, and every stairwell, corridor, and elevator.

It adds up to hundreds of thousands of tasks and is too much for spreadsheets to handle.

If you can’t organize your data in an intuitive, easy-to-use way, you won’t be able to harness its power to make truly intentional management decisions. You need a comprehensive database with supporting tools and technologies to streamline your workflow and empower you to make better staffing decisions.

Callout: It adds up to hundreds of thousands of tasks and is too much for spreadsheets to handle

Technology made by EVS Directors for EVS Directors

For over 30 years, Smart Facility Software has helped hospital EVS departments gather, organize and use their data more effectively. Our grassroots model is developed through on-the-ground experience and provides extensive and detailed data that tells your department’s story.

But data is only as good as the way it’s organized. Creating a dynamic database where you can input and access data anywhere, any time, is what sets our technology apart. With ES Optimizer—our foundational technology—you have the data you need, when you need it and how you need it, to make informed, strategic decisions.

Callout: Stop guessing. Start knowing your department is staffed correctly.

Stop guessing. Start knowing your department is staffed correctly.

In the ever-evolving healthcare industry, there’s no substitute for data-backed decision making. The success of your EVS department relies on knowing exactly what needs to be done and how many full-time employees you need to do it and the real-world consequences of operating without them.

The alternative is a hospital that isn’t cleaned effectively, which can result in a loss of market share, or even worse, an increase of hospital acquired infections.

Read our Woman’s Hospital – Baton Rouge Case Study for real-world examples of how ES Optimizer refined staffing levels, increased productivity and resulted in cost-savings.

If you’re ready to see ES Optimizer in action, request a free demo of ES Optimizer or reach out to me directly at 800-260-8665 or swright@smartfacilitysoftware.com.

EVS Software Case Study: Woman’s Hospital – Baton Rouge

By | Hospital Case Studies | No Comments

ES Optimizer Takes Woman’s Hospital – Baton Rouge’s ES Department from Guessing to Knowing

The average hospital environmental services department is responsible for the cleaning and sterilization of hundreds of thousands of square feet daily. This space includes not only patient rooms and operating rooms, but stairways, waiting rooms, hallways, and elevators as well. Determining the number of ES techs needed to accomplish this, and knowing every square inch of the hospital is clean, are challenges facing most EVS departments. In the case of Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge, this balance was achieved with the implementation of ES Optimizer, a cloud-based environmental services software.

THE CHALLENGE: MAKING DECISIONS WITHOUT A CLEAR PICTURE

Johnathan Landor has been the Director of Environmental Services at Woman’s Hospital in Baton Rouge since 2014. With the largest NICU in the U.S. and more than 8,000 babies born each year, his greatest challenge was knowing the full scale of what needed to be done and how many FTEs were required to do it. Before the introduction of ES Optimizer, even with the use of sophisticated spreadsheets, calculating this number was left largely to guesswork.

The opening of a new three-floor breast and GYN cancer pavilion and the hiring of a new facility manager presented the perfect opportunity to introduce a new system for optimizing labor, streamlining scheduling, and improving employee engagement.

THE SOLUTION: ES OPTIMIZER, A SOFTWARE THAT CAPTURES THE FULL SCALE

After an online demonstration of ES Optimizer’s capabilities, Landor quickly decided it was time to adapt the ES management software. Experienced ES Consultants from Smart Facility Software (SFS) arrived to survey the hospital on site and build a database of every cleanable space in the facility. Building this database was accomplished in only two weeks by the SFS team, a task that Landor said would normally take up to four months using spreadsheets.

As well as mapping out the hospital’s cleaning areas in precise detail, ES Optimizer allowed Landor to:

  • Determine optimal staffing levels and schedule personnel.
  • Support employee morale through balanced work assignments.
  • Keep track of employee training requirements and compliance.
  • Document tasks and create reports quickly and easily.
  • Conduct regular quality inspections on mobile devices.
  • The depth of information compiled by ES Optimizer allowed Landor to paint a full picture of the department’s needs and fill in the gaps.

THE RESULTS: EFFICIENCY, ENGAGEMENT AND INFLUENCE

ES Optimizer uncovered three extra full-time employees.

They actually found they had three extra FTEs, which were used to staff a new building.

Cost Savings and Efficiency

Right from the beginning, Landor’s department experienced cost savings. Before, determining the number of Full-Time Employees (FTEs) needed was mostly left up to past experience and guesswork. The clear picture provided by ES Optimizer’s staffing models demonstrated exactly how many employees were needed to maintain cleaning quality. They actually found they had three extra FTEs. This allowed him to fully staff the new cancer pavilion without increasing technicians’ workloads or adding any new FTEs.

Employees are More Engaged

As with any systematic change, there was a short period of adjustment and employee pushback, but Landor noted that his employees quickly grew to like their new schedules and find more meaning in their work. The previously overworked NICU team appreciated their more manageable workload, which was accomplished by reallocating staff from less productive assignments to more productive areas using ES Optimizer’s fair, balanced work assignments.

“Everybody knows what they are supposed to do.” – Johnathan Landor

Work schedules became more structured and began to “tell a story” of a day at the Woman’s Hospital, with minimal surprises or uncertainty. The hospital, as a result, is noticeably cleaner, with even lower priority area cleans receiving more attention. “Everybody knows what they are supposed to be doing,” says Landor. He has also noticed improved satisfaction and engagement in supervisors and managers.

The recently hired Operations Manager, who was new to environmental services, immediately adapted to ES Optimizer. He said it helped him learn his job due to the structure it provided and made it easy for him to schedule project work.

“Before we were just using past experience. Now we know.” – Johnathan Landor

Director Saves Time and is Better Equipped to Influence Administration

Replacing spreadsheets with ES Optimizer’s reporting tools has significantly reduced the amount of time spent preparing for meetings by putting project schedules at his fingertips. The data generated by ES Optimizer makes it easy for him to highlight the contributions of the ES department and communicate, in hard numbers, the department’s specific needs. “It brings so much structure when we’re under pressure from a labor standpoint,” says Landor, “or when we’re asked to do new things.” ES Optimizer’s training module records have significantly cut the amount of time required to assemble reporting for the Joint Commission.

“My hospital is cleaner. My employees are happier.”

Landor believes that this increased satisfaction and productivity was instrumental to the Woman’s Hospital ES department receiving an Honorable Mention for the AHE 2018 Environmental Services Department of the Year Award. He considers implementing ES Optimizer to be one of his crowning achievements in his four years at the hospital.

After only a six-month period of using ES Optimizer, Woman’s Hospital has dramatically improved the efficiency and job satisfaction of its ES department and made the facility cleaner. Landor plans to add to this success by adding ES Service Optimizer and improving the ability of managers to communicate with ES techs in real time over mobile devices.

LEARN MORE ABOUT SMART FACILITY SOFTWARE

Founded in 1986, SFS is considered the industry expert for in Environmental Services Management and Technology. Our cloud-based software products include:

The Industry’s Premier Cloud Tool used by over 750 Hospital ES Departments Every Day. The Mobile Add-on that connects ES Technicians to ES Optimizer’s Task Management Cloud. The Software to Easily Build and Conduct Any Survey, Anytime, Anywhere.

 

Download and print a PDF of this case study: Woman's Hospital Baton Rouge Case Study PDF