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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

Five Software Updates: Do More in ES Optimizer Mobile

By | New Features, Software Features | No Comments

We are always working to make the software easier and faster for you to use. Here is the latest round of additions bringing us closer to our goal of making the software effortless.

1
New Menu on the Mobile App Home Screen

For: ES Optimizer Users
Location: ES Mobile Manager App / ES Optimizer Module

Several great features have been added to ES Optimizer Mobile. So, the menu on the home screen has changed to reflect the application’s broader capabilities which are defined below.

You will now see “ES Optimizer” where the “Quality Management” button was. You will still click this button to conduct Quality Inspections, but there are also new, exciting features under this module. Read on to learn more.

 

 

 

 

2
Schedule Tasks & Projects in the ES Optimizer Module of the Mobile App

For: ES Optimizer Users
Location: ES Mobile Manager App / ES Optimizer Module

Managers or supervisors can now schedule tasks on their Apple devices for technicians in the ES Optimizer Module of the mobile app. You will see a new item, “Task and Projects”, in the ES Optimizer menu.

If you use Service Optimizer, rooms that are completed in that app will appear in ES Optimizer as recently cleaned rooms that are ready to be inspected.

You’ll be able to perform the following operations under Task and Project:

  • Add/Edit/Delete/Complete Task
  • Schedule Project
  • Complete Project
  • Add Project Score


 

 

3
Create New Inspections in the ES Optimizer Module on the Mobile App

For: ES Optimizer Users
Location: ES Mobile Manager App / ES Optimizer Module / Inspect

In the past users could only create inspections in the web application. Now they can be created in the mobile app as well.

When you choose “Inspect” in the ES Optimizer module of the mobile app, you will now see the “Add New Inspection” feature. Click this button to add an inspection right on your mobile device.

 

4
More Ways to Search for a Room in the Mobile App when adding a Room to a Quality Inspection

For: ES Optimizer Users
Location: ES Optimizer Mobile App / ES Optimizer Module / Inspect

When you pull up an inspection in the ES Optimizer module of the mobile app, there are already rooms assigned to the inspection.  However, if you’d like to add a room, you can do so by clicking on the “+Room” button:

Previously, users could only find a room by searching on the Subsection of the building where the room is located. Now, users have more ways to filter rooms –

  • By Subsection
  • By Assignment
  • By Room Type
  • By Recently Cleaned Rooms

— This feature is available when

used with Service Optimizer! —

When user taps on “+Room”, the screen to the right will be shown to user.

 

5
Syncing has been streamlined

For: All Users (ES Optimizer, Survey Optimizer & Service Optimizer)
Location: ES Optimizer & Survey Optimizer Web Apps

Syncing data from the web app to the mobile app and vice versa has been streamlined!

When you make changes on the web application, they have to be synced to the mobile app and vice versa. Before, this process required a two-step process: 1) tapping “Sync” on your mobile device and clicking “Sync” on the web app.

Now it’s just a one-step process. You only have to tap “Sync” on your mobile device. Changes you make in the web app, will automatically be stored in your database.

 

____________________________________________

 

Every Detail Counts

When you’re working to increase productivity, every detail counts. We hope you find these small additions as big of a game changer as we do.

 

As always, if you have questions, contact Tech Support at 800-260-8665, extension 2.
Or
Contact Consulting Services at extension 11 to speak to your account representative.

Why an Admission, Discharge & Transfer System CANNOT Replace Environmental Services Software

By | EVS Learning Center | No Comments
ES Optimizer Room Types List

ES Optimizer houses a complete list of Room & Space Types found in Hospitals.

The Admission, Discharge, and Transfer (ADT) software is the backbone IT system in the hospital. It manages the most important activity: admitting and discharging patients and getting paid for the services. A hospital does much more than selling bed space, but at its core, admitting new patients is what keeps the hospital financially viable.

Making sure the empty, discharged beds turnover quickly to clean, infection-free rooms available for admission is also very important. This is a key function of an Environmental Services Department, so of course, the ES department needs to be intimately involved with the ADT system.

However, it is a costly mistake to think that an ADT software has all the tools necessary to manage Environmental Services. Here are the key areas where only an Environmental Services Software can optimize the hospital’s second largest workforce.

Overall Staffing Numbers

Discharges, Transfers, and Isolation cleans, which can be tracked in the ADT system, are only part of the the ES department’s cleaning responsibilities and budget.

Smart Facility Software has performed thousands of staffing analyses for hospital ES departments. We continually find that patient room discharge cleans account for only 10 – 20% of the total FTE (full-time employee) budget. (Departments where this is less than 10% tend to be overstaffed — and departments where this is more than 20% tend to be understaffed.)

The other 80-90% of the budgeted FTEs that cannot be managed in the ADT system are:
• Occupied patient room cleans
• Daily cleans, policing, and project work for every room, corridor, elevator, entrance, and stairwell in the hospital.
• Lock-ins for between-case cleanings and multiple shift coverage.
• Trash removal, meeting set-ups, supply stocking, linen distribution, etc.
• Breaks and non-productive time of FTEs (e.g. vacation and sick time).
• Management FTEs

So, the ADT system cannot provide the number of FTEs needed to clean the full hospital.

HAIs do not limit themselves to only patient rooms during discharges. Our environmental services software, ES Optimizer, has 91 room types, only 4 of which are patient rooms.

Daily Work Assignments

In addition to missing cleanable space, an ADT system does not house project work, tasks and frequencies required to build daily assignments.

ADT systems track all the patient beds in a hospital and assign them to zones which are associated with daily cleaning assignments for ES Technicians. An ADT system usually does not, however, list any of the other rooms, corridors, entrances, stairwells, and elevators that need to be cleaned daily, policed, and between-case cleaned. It also doesn’t address the frequency of cleaning (e.g. 5 or 7 days/week). Finally, an ADT software does not manage the project work (e.g. floor finishing, buffing, shampooing, wall washing, etc.) for all these rooms.

All of these cleanable spaces along with frequencies need to be in the software to build equitable daily work assignments for ES Technicians that make sense from a geographic standpoint. ES needs to have the right number of people in the right place at the right time, not only to do discharges, but also perform the other 80%-90% of the work that needs to be done 24/7/365.

ADT systems cannot provide these work assignments since they do not house the data elements to do so.

Quality Assurance

Some ADT systems provide a measure of Quality Assurance (QA) capability. But once again, typically only for patient rooms. ES Optimizer has a QA system for all cleanable space in the hospital, including discharge cleans.  The inspections that are being run for the ES department needs to be incorporated into the discharge and patient room daily cleans. You only want to run one QA system for ES functions so that the data is comparable and coherent.

Apps running on smart devices synchronizing with a cloud-based database is how an ES management tool should handle QA.

 

Census-Based Scheduling

Flexing the daily work assignments for the day’s census.

Census-Based Scheduling is not as big of a component for ES departments as it used to be. Rarely do you find hospitals these days with a 10% or more level of clean and empty patient rooms ready to be occupied every morning. However, if your hospital is running less than 90% census, then the ES department needs a system to flex daily work assignment coverage up or down.

The only true variable in a Hospital ES department workload is census, discharges, and transfers. The rest of the cleaning is typically fixed; it was cleaned, or it was not cleaned. If census does fluctuate, then the ES department needs to be able to flex the variable cleaning (daily, discharge, transfer, and isolation cleans) with fixed cleaning such as nurse’s stations, waiting areas, restrooms, etc. An ADT system does not incorporate the rooms for fixed cleaning and, therefore, cannot be used as a census-based scheduling tool.

Days-On/Days-Off Scheduling

ADTs lack full EVS scheduling capabilities.

Without ES software, scheduling personnel with work assignments typically tends to be done in Excel spreadsheets that are saved as a new file every couple of weeks. This leaves behind a trail of confusing historic files.

A cloud-based database application built specifically for ES departments organizes all the employees and the work assignments. The uncovered assignments can be easily be searched and paired with open employees. Open employees that match the assignment can be found through a filtered search as well. Assignments can be applied to calendar dates and easily changed by supervisors, who have the ability to print out sign-in sheets and rosters. This is much more efficient and error-free.

ADTs have none of these capabilities other than showing what employee was assigned to each zone and which beds they cleaned.

Scheduling and Tracking Project Work

A typical hospital has thousands of projects aside from daily cleaning that need to be scheduled and tracked. Since an ADT system tracks patient rooms, perhaps the floor finishing, buffing, etc. could be run through an ADT. However, ADT systems can’t schedule the main lobby waiting area to be shampooed. EVS software includes data for these spaces and the ability to add to work assignments, schedule staff, and record its completion. See ES Optimizer’s Project Assignment screen to the right.

Employee Training and Records

An ADT system can’t keep track of all the in-services needed for a successful ES department, or record employee commendations and consultations. A cloud-based database designed for and used by ES Departments will.  With ES Optimizer’s training management module, reports on training history can be run instantly for the Joint Commission.

ES Software is needed in addition to an ADT System

While Admissions, Discharges and Transfers systems are an essential tool in hospitals, they are not built to handle all functions of Environmental Services. Bed tracking information is key to managing environmental services and ES managers should be very involved with the ADT system.  But, ES managers also need a software tool, like ES Optimizer, built specifically for their departments in order to reach their full productivity and efficiency at keeping the entire hospital clean and infection free.

 

Author: Shawn Wright
Shawn Wright is one of the owners of  Smart Facility Software. He has over 25 years of experience in ES consulting and implementing software in environmental services departments nationwide.

Customers Send Instant Service Requests – Now via Text!

By | New Features, Software Features | No Comments

In 2017, Smart Facility Software introduced Service Optimizer, an add-on to ES Optimizer that makes the entire ES Staff mobile – Technicians as well as Managers. Technicians receive their daily assignments on a mobile device and log their completed work as they go.

One of the exciting developments that came with this functionality is the ability for any customer to digitally send service requests to Environmental Services when a high traffic area is in need of attention. The patient, visitor or staff member simply scans the QR code posted in the area and submits the issue.

Now via Text!

Starting now, mobile service requests are also possible with a simple text message. A 5-digit phone number (a short code) is posted in the high traffic area. Any customer or staff member texts their message along with the room code to the posted short code number.

Whether submitted via QR code or text, service requests are sent immediately to Managers on their mobile devices, where they can task them out to Technicians. The software creates the QR codes, text numbers and signs to post in your facility.

To see how it works and request more information, scan the QR code below call us at 800-260-8665.

Post a sign like this in high traffic areas to receive service requests in real-time.

 

EVS Software Case Study: Ohio Health

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Ohio Health System Creates Environmental Services Efficiencies with ES Optimizer

Ohio Health's Environmental Services Metrics

Ohio Health’s daunting facility metrics required an Environmental Services Software solution.

ES MANAGERS HAVE MORE TIME FOR QUALITY AND TRAINING

Long considered the cleanest facilities in our society, hospitals rely on their second largest work force, the Environmental Services (ES) Department, to maintain this essential hospital function. Second in size only to the nursing staff, the ES staff ensures patients and their loved ones are confident they’re in a clean and healthy environment. Hospital acquired infections (HAI’s), customer satisfaction, cleanliness perception, and discharge acuity all must be balanced with the front-line labor and management systems needed to excel in the modern hospital Environmental Services Department.

THE CHALLENGE FACING OHIO HEALTH

The ES Departments share the Ohio Health Mission: To improve the health of those they serve. Their goal is to consistently present a non-infectious facility cleaned by well-trained professionals.

The challenge is the sheer size of the Ohio Health System. It is a family of 29,000 associates, physicians and volunteers; a network of 11 hospitals, 200+ ambulatory sites; and providers of hospice, home health, medical equipment and more, spanning 47 Ohio counties. Their hospitals are busy places. ES Managers were using spreadsheets and paper surveys to manage a staff of 650 charged with cleaning and inspecting 5.4 million square feet. The tools ES management teams were using to accomplish their mission had become outdated and time consuming with effectiveness being hit or miss.

The administrative burden of creating work assignments and staffing schedules kept managers from improving quality. It also hindered their ability to keep current assessments of the actual number of employees needed to maintain consistent levels of cleanliness. Standard industry benchmarks for number of employees, based solely on square footage, were telling management one story. But, actual quality inspections were telling another, resulting in customer satisfaction scores needing refinement.

THE SOLUTION

Ohio Health decided to work with Smart Facility Software, using the cloud-based software, ES Optimizer, to meet this challenge.
ES Optimizer is a system that streamlines every step in analyzing staffing needs, building work assignments and creating employee schedules. One Ohio Health hospital was chosen initially to pilot the software in January 2016: Grant Medical Center, in Columbus, OH — Ohio’s busiest Level I Trauma Center. Once the pilot was complete the project management team would bring back findings to determine whether ES Optimizer should be implemented system-wide.

How Frequency is Determined

Step 1:

Find out the true number of Full-Time Employees (FTEs) needed.

Ohio Health decided to go grassroots to find out how many people were needed for the level of cleaning quality desired.

Knowing the amount of space, tasks and frequency is the key to answering the FTE question. An inventory of the hospital’s rooms, corridors, elevators, stairwells, and entrances, with the cleaning tasks would be needed for each type of space. Then frequency would be determined: How many times per day/week/month/year are we going to perform each cleaning task?

Ohio Health used Smart Facility Software’s team of professionals to conduct the on-site inventories and enter the data into ES Optimizer. The
times needed for each cleaning step, already in ES Optimizer, are based on Smart Facility Software’s 30+ years of ES experience. Ohio Health, however, adjusted the cleaning steps and times to complete them to suit the unique needs of their facility. From there, the software calculated the number of FTEs actually needed. ES Managers were able to run what-if scenarios using the software to alter the number of FTEs required. For instance, they could change levels of cleaning and frequencies to see how the final numbers were affected.

Step 2:

After the appropriate staffing level had been determined, Ohio Health moved to implement. This meant building daily work assignments. ES Optimizer made it easy to turn the room inventories already in the database into working sets of assignments.

Step 3:

Staff were then appointed to the work assignments they would cover. Again, using ES Optimizer, the ES Manager could easily view work assignments that needed coverage and search the database for technicians with available time to cover it. If a technician had available time, the ES Manager could search the database for available work assignments. This made sure all work assignments are covered despite unexpected as well as expected time off.

On-site training sessions gave the ES management team the skill set to fully utilize all ES Optimizer capabilities: Staffing Analysis, Work Assignments, Quality Inspections, Employee Training, Project Work, Census Based Scheduling, and other vital components. The management teams could now get rid of all the paper, word documents, and spreadsheets.

THE RESULTS

The effect of implementing ES Optimizer in Grant Memorial Hospital impacted staff, management, and customers decisively.

ES Managers at Grant eliminated the equivalent of 12 hours per pay period of administrative work. This represents an 83% decrease in managerial labor cost spent on administrative work. The labor expense for management to generate a new work assignment was reduced by an astounding 98%. The newly freed up hours were reallocated to customer service rounding of the hospital.

There was a 75% reduction in the ES manager’s hours spent on interim management duties. This allowed the majority of their time to be directed to customer service rounding and associate coaching.

“Surprise” service requests for areas not being covered that take the schedule off-track are a thing of the past.

The project management team concluded that if ES Optimizer were implemented system-wide, new leaders will benefit from fast onboarding due to the automated administrative processes. This would result in significant improvement in new leader workflow design.

APPROVAL TO ROLL OUT SYSTEM-WIDE

With these results, the project team received approval to implement ES Optimizer system-wide to include all their Central,
Ohio and regional campuses.

As ES Optimizer was rolled out across the system, Managers and Service Techs saw immediate feedback and improvement via quality inspections (which could be easily performed on ES Optimizer’s mobile app). New work assignments made discharge cleaning the priority. Trends for Quality improvement became easy to report on. Staff observed a rapid improvement in day-to-day cleaning as well as project cycle cleaning.

ES Optimizer has made Ohio Health Hospitals cleaner in not only perception but in reality, instilling confidence the Environmental Services Departments are making the most efficient use of the labor resources available.

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 the Ohio Health System case study here.

HCAHPS: Just the Facts

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What is the HCAHPS survey?Patient Satisfaction Survey

The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS, pronounced h-caps) survey is a national, standardized, and publicly reported survey completed by a random sample of adult patients between 48 hours and 6 weeks after discharge from a hospital.

The HCAHPS survey is issued to discharged patients via mail, telephone, and email. It contains 32 total questions, including 21 core questions that address critical aspects of the hospital experience. Those aspects include:

  • Hospital environment cleanliness
  • Hospital environment quietness
  • Responsiveness of hospital staff
  • Ease of communication with doctors and nurses
  • Communication about pain
  • Discharge information
  • Overall impression of the hospital

Why was the HCAHPS survey created?

Before the creation of the survey, there was no standardized way to convert patients’ perceptions of their hospital stays into measurable data. HCAHPS has created a national standard of collecting and reporting data about the patient experience. This allows objective comparisons to be made between hospitals locally, regionally, and nationally.
The HCAHPS survey was designed for these purposes:

  • To generate data about the patient experience that allows meaningful comparisons between hospitals for consumers.
  • To publicly report survey results, holding hospitals accountable for their quality of care and giving them incentives and hard objectives for improvement.

How does the HCAHPS survey affect hospitals?

The results of HCAHPs surveys are used to determine a hospital’s patient satisfaction score. This score is not only publicly reported and visible to consumers, but is weighted in the decision to award or withhold 1% of reimbursement by Medicare to hospitals. Adherence to clinical performance guidelines is weighted by 70% in the decision to award or withhold funds, while HCAHPS scores are weighted by 30%.

How can hospitals improve their HCAHPS score?

Communication between providers, hospital staff, and patients is a major component of overall patient satisfaction. So is the cleanliness of the hospital environment. Tools like ES Optimizer, ES Service Optimizer, and Survey Optimizer are proven to improve environmental services performance, staff communication and patient satisfaction. Over 950 hospitals, medical centers, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities rely on Smart Facility Software to manage environmental services operations, service requests and survey data faster, more efficiently, and more effectively.

ES Optimizer can eliminate up to 12 hours per pay period of administrative time spent creating assignments, freeing up time and money that can be re-purposed towards ensuring excellent customer service. Using ES Optimizer is proven to make a difference in the cleanliness and efficiency of your facility. Using ES Optimizer can mark the difference between whether or not your facility receives full funding.

Learn more about HCAHPS.

Get started with Smart Facility Software Today! Click here and complete the form to get your free online demo and personalized tour of ES Optimizer.