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Exploring facilities management in healthcare

 

According to the Healthcare Services Global Market Report 2022, the global healthcare services market, exceed 9 trillion USD in 2026.

 

February 18, 2023
 
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 Exploring facilities management in healthcare
 

According to the Healthcare Services Global Market Report 2022, the global healthcare services market, exceed 9 trillion USD in 2026. Aligning with these predictions, a report by Precedence research indicates that the global healthcare facilities management market size is expected to exceed USD 624.8 billion USD by 2030. Within the healthcare environment, facilities management services play a critical role, directly impacting the patient experience and helping efficient clinical care. The concept behind healthcare facility management (HFM) is different from any other commercial space management. It focuses on making an environment conducive to comfort and hygiene for the patients and staff. In addition, HFM needs to be agile with capabilities to coordinate people, space, and resources with precision to avoid any delay which could be critical for a patient’s health. Facilities management in healthcare covers every aspect of maintenance, development and operations of spaces like clinics, surgical facilities, labs, and hospitals that provide healthcare services.. While providing a safe and efficient patient environment remains the facility managers' core objective. Dr. Karima Hamani, Assistant Professor and Facilities Management Programme Lead at Heriot-Watt University Dubai shares her views on the role of healthcare facilities management is evolving. 

Efficient facility management is crucial for ensuring a smooth and positive patient experience in healthcare facilities. It enables the facility to respond quickly and effectively to unexpected changes, while maintaining the safety and well-being of patients. Key elements that contribute to a positive patient experience include seamless coordination for appointments, smooth transition between healthcare facilities, conducive atmosphere and patient interaction. By proactively addressing these factors, facility managers can help to create a positive environment that promotes healing and recovery. 

Technology strengthening the HFM ecosystem

According to a recent study by Precedence research, the healthcare IT industry is expected to experience substantial growth in the coming years. The report projects that the sector will reach a value of 857.6 billion USD by 2030. Despite the growth opportunities, insufficient and outdated health system infrastructure (robust facilities management and latest technologies) can greatly hinder the achievement of health equity. Since HFM plays a crucial role in maintaining medical facilities, they are responsible for preventing equipment failures to avoid interruption during any surgical operations. To achieve precision and ensure seamless operations, HFM professionals seek new medical technologies to satisfy the demand and provide the desired impact on patient care. They also recognise the importance of utilising data and technology to determine the best course of action, track progress, and anticipate potential hazards. 

A report on the global healthcare outlook by Deloitte indicates a growing demand for accessible and secure care, remote monitoring, and advanced technologies. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has further emphasized the need for digital transformation in the healthcare industry. An example of this is the widespread use of cloud computing in the healthcare industry as an optimized IT infrastructure. Since healthcare is one of the top priorities of the UAE government, it has introduced several initiatives to improve the accuracy and availability of healthcare services throughout the region. One such initiative is the Abu Dhabi Healthcare Information Security Program (AAMEN) launched by the Department of Health Abu Dhabi. This programme allows the Department of Health to evaluate healthcare facilities for their compliance with the highest standards of information security and provides support for maintaining confidentiality.

Preparedness to tackle the challenges and harness work opportunities in HFM 

The ongoing pandemic has brought about a significant surge in the need for healthcare facilities management services, particularly in the areas of medical waste management, cleaning, and catering. As a result, there has been a noticeable uptick in the adoption of these services by healthcare institutions. While technology is at the core of the healthcare industry, professionals must upskill and stay abreast with the latest advancements. In their evolved roles, healthcare facilities managers work closely with technology teams to protect patient data and efficiently handle sensitive information to create a robust ecosystem that can deal with cybersecurity threats. They must collaborate with different departments such as utilities, electrical or compliance to ensure seamless coordination and uninterrupted operations.

Healthcare organizations are gradually focusing on improving advanced facilities and skilled professionals to drive industry growth. The growing demand for high-quality healthcare services creates new opportunities for employment and career advancement. With the rapid advancements, there is a pressing need for highly experienced, knowledgeable, and qualified healthcare facilities managers and administrators. The most efficient way to impart knowledge and training is to understand the skill gaps. To effectively train and prepare the future workforce, it is essential to identify skill gaps and collaborate with academics and industry leaders to bridge those gaps. In addition, regular interaction with the existing workforce, ongoing evaluation of growing operational demands and engaging workshops can significantly contribute to preparing the professionals. 

Facility management will continue to be a vital aspect of healthcare services in the modern age, as it plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety, comfort, and well-being of both healthcare staff and patients. It will be essential to ensure that facilities are equipped with the latest technology, are staffed with well-trained professionals, and are designed to promote patient safety and satisfaction. Ultimately, effective and integrated facility management will play a pivotal role in improving patient outcomes and enhancing the overall quality of care in the healthcare ecosystem.

About the author:
Dr. Karima Hamani is the Assistant Professor and Facilities Management Programme Lead at Heriot-Watt University Dubai.