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.