Smart building management: good for healthcare

Author: Robert Pet

Placed on: 22 May 2015

Tags: monitoring, safety, health care, operation


Robert Pet

Strukton Worksphere

The healthcare sector can get more out of its buildings. Experience has taught me that you can make more money available at the corporate level by managing buildings cleverly.

Our flagship projects are the Ministry of Finance in The Hague and the DUO2 project in Groningen, where many systems in and around the building can be operated and monitored remotely. For example, the climate control systems, security systems and the energy monitoring system.

We know what is happening at any given moment, and we can regulate almost everything remotely. Have we detected abnormal CO2 levels? Then we can remotely take measures to improve the air climate. Particularly in the long term, a dashboard through which all the information arrives can be very beneficial. You can prevent complaints from users, because you detect abnormalities quickly and can take preventative action. In addition, it is possible to analyse where money is being spent and how much energy is being used. This can be monitored and directly adjusted. This can also lead the way to well-substantiated future investments.

Assurance of safety using technology

Allowing us as managers to directly look into a customer’s system is something of a leap of faith for the healthcare sector. Furthermore, buildings are often seen here as a side issue: just ‘bricks’ that are there for a certain number of years. In a variety of projects we are now trying to demonstrate that the healthcare sector can make smarter use of these ‘bricks’. We are able to make the risks and benefits clear and manageable for directors in the healthcare sector. Assurance of safety is an important motive here. This analysis also goes further than technology, management and maintenance. In healthcare, an increasing amount of attention is being paid to safety, for which procedures and techniques from other markets are serving as a model for improvement. In the Netherlands, Professor of Healthcare Management Jan Klein is the figurehead for this trend in assurance.

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What do healthcare consumers want?

A look into the near future will tell you that the perception of a building will play a role in the healthcare market. You can use your building to respond to the target groups that you serve: what new demands will healthcare consumers and employees put on their care and work environment in the coming 15 years? Processes also change or require different logistics. What adjustments can a healthcare institution make to its building, and what adjustments can it not make? Healthcare institutions that anticipate such things, like the Henry Ford Hospital in Michigan, distinguish themselves in the healthcare market now and in the future.

Thermal energy storage

Strukton Worksphere is prepared for ongoing digitization, automation, renewable energy use and convenient process design. At various hospitals in the Netherlands we are already working towards taking steps to help them get more out of their buildings and installations. For example, at Máxima Medisch Centrum in Veldhoven we are working on a thermal energy storage system. In the Rode Kruisziekenhuis in Beverwijk we have revealed possibilities for improved management of technology and the buildings, and which instruments can be deployed in order to control operational costs and investments in the long term.

Bringing people along

For us, proven technology forms the foundation required to excel at a high level. However, in the healthcare sector innovation is more focused on medical technology. Even in academic hospitals, management of the building is still left to a traditional technical department: employees carrying out work orders. Here we also advise considering what paths for development you can offer employees to ensure that they keep up with changes to a more efficient system of management and maintenance, whereby the safety of patients, visitors and employees is assured. We are coaching the technical team in a medium-sized regional hospital to use this vision and approach.

Earning money with your building

The real opportunities lie with long-term assurance, seeing users’ needs as a starting point and considering the building as a whole. You really have to deal with this at the management level, rather than always reverting to rushed, piecemeal solutions. It’s possible! And it works!

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