Environmental Services Staffing Analysis - Inventory Plus Methodology Over Benchmarking

In the envi­ron­men­tal ser­vices indus­try, it is not uncom­mon for a staffing analy­sis bench­mark­ing report to come back with a poten­tial for sig­nif­i­cant sav­ings if it can be suc­cess­ful­ly imple­ment­ed. At the same time, it’s not uncom­mon for EVS depart­ments to strug­gle to imple­ment the rec­om­mend­ed changes while main­tain­ing qual­i­ty and ser­vice lev­els. What is dif­fer­ent between what the bench­mark report says is pos­si­ble and what EVS depart­ments are grap­pling with? The dif­fer­ence is using sta­tis­ti­cal cal­cu­la­tions derived from oth­er hos­pi­tals ver­sus actu­al data from the unique facil­i­ty in ques­tion.

The problem with using benchmarking to determine EVS staffing levels is there are multiple factors outside square footage affecting staffing levels.

Benchmarking vs. Inventory Plus

The Bench­mark­ing Method­ol­o­gy, the sta­tis­ti­cal method, com­pares data sets from mul­ti­ple facil­i­ties and uses aver­ages to pre­scribe the lev­el of EVS staff need­ed per square foot. By def­i­n­i­tion, aver­ages are just that – many facil­i­ties are high­er, and many are low­er. The prob­lem with bench­mark­ing num­bers is there are mul­ti­ples fac­tors out­side of square footage affect­ing staffing lev­els. Some of these activ­i­ties are con­trolled for in the bench­mark­ing num­bers, but they vary great­ly by facil­i­ty. Also, con­trol­ling for all of these fac­tors is dif­fi­cult.

The Inven­to­ry Plus Method­ol­o­gy, the actu­al data method, entails ana­lyz­ing the com­pre­hen­sive data of the unique facil­i­ty. It takes an actu­al inven­to­ry of the square footage of the facil­i­ty, but it also cap­tures the type of space by square footage, fix­tures in the space, and acu­ity. Plus, it accounts for the oth­er vari­ables and tasks per­formed by EVS that aren’t relat­ed to site inven­to­ry. such as lock-ins, waste removal, non-pro­duc­tive time, etc. (See the full list of fac­tors below).

3/5 stars - the average HCAHPS rating among US hospitals for cleanliness

Inven­to­ry­ing at the unique facil­i­ty lev­el, plus cal­cu­lat­ing time on non-inven­to­ry tasks, is always going to gen­er­ate a more detailed, accu­rate, and reli­able staffing analy­sis.

The Many Factors Affecting Staffing Requirement Calculations

Fac­tors affect­ing staffing require­ments:

  • Square footage
  • Type of space by square footage (what is the mix of office space, ERs, ORs, patient rooms, wait­ing rooms, etc.)
  • Vol­ume of patient room dis­charges and trans­fer cleans
  • Patient room cen­sus occu­pan­cy
  • Man­age­ment team to employ­ee ratios and respon­si­bil­i­ties of man­age­ment team
  • Pub­lic area polic­ing and porter duties (ser­vice request respons­es)
  • Paid break time per shift
  • Lock-In areas cleaned such as ER, L&D, NICU, Inva­sive Radi­ol­o­gy, Surg­eries, Cath Labs, etc. Basi­cal­ly, areas that need mul­ti-shift EVS atten­tion due to between case clean­ing or con­stant turnover.
  • Non-clean­ing tasks: such as meet­ing set ups or sup­ply room stock­ing.

ES Optimizer facilities have a comprehensive site inventory database and a tool to run EVS staffing analyses.

Con­sid­er two facil­i­ties with the same square footage, but one dif­fer­ence in use of space:

Facility A:

500,000 Square Feet

300 Patient Rooms

Facility B:

500,000 Square Feet

150 Patient Rooms


Facil­i­ty A will need more man hours than Facil­i­ty B to reach the same qual­i­ty, whether it’s defined by per­ceived clean, cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion, or ser­vice lev­el. The Inven­to­ry Plus Method­ol­o­gy does a bet­ter job at cap­tur­ing all the details like this that are unique to indi­vid­ual facil­i­ties, and includ­ing them in the staffing cal­cu­la­tions.

If bench­mark­ing data is con­trolled for con­sis­tent fac­tors between the facil­i­ties being com­pared, then result­ing rec­om­men­da­tions could be suc­cess­ful in actu­al oper­a­tion. But, giv­en the num­ber of vari­ables:

How many oth­er facil­i­ties are there in the bench­mark­ing pool that:

  1. Are sim­i­lar to your own facil­i­ty in all of these ways?
  2. Have the lev­el of clean you aspire to? (The aver­age HCAHPS rat­ing among US hos­pi­tals for clean­li­ness is 3 out of 5 stars.)
  3. Are not under­staffed? (Many hos­pi­tal envi­ron­men­tal ser­vices depart­ments com­pris­ing the bench­mark are under­staffed. The trend in most facil­i­ties over time has been a con­tin­u­al decrease staff in response to hos­pi­tal bud­get cuts. They tend to be oper­at­ing under­staffed, so bench­mark­ing against oth­er facil­i­ties could bring back arti­fi­cial­ly low expec­ta­tions for the man hours need­ed to main­tain qual­i­ty in your facil­i­ty.)

So, an Inven­to­ry Plus Method­ol­o­gy is what is real­ly required to staff your unique facil­i­ty prop­er­ly. There is a tool to run this method­ol­o­gy that many (over 950) depart­ments are using, called ES Opti­miz­er.

The Database Tool to Manage Inventory & Calculate Staffing: ES Optimizer

If you are an ES Opti­miz­er facil­i­ty, you already have an inven­to­ry data­base and a tool to run staffing analy­ses based on your actu­al inven­to­ry plus the addi­tion­al tasks and vari­ables. ES Opti­miz­er is an inven­to­ry­ing sys­tem that’s been imple­ment­ed at 950+ facil­i­ties over more than 25 years. This tool can explain exact­ly why the facil­i­ty can’t suc­cess­ful­ly imple­ment a stan­dard EVS bench­mark­ing report, and it can tell you the con­se­quences in terms of qual­i­ty and tasks not done you can antic­i­pate with any changes to staffing.

Here are some links to learn more about ES Opti­miz­er:
ES Opti­miz­er

ES Opti­miz­er Prod­uct Details

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