Hospital hallway

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