Four IT recommendations to consider when moving to or opening a new facility
Nearly 67% of hospital and health system executives are either currently repurposing existing facilities or assessing new spaces to meet operational needs, according to the Health Facilities Management 2015 Hospital Construction Survey.1 Regardless of renovating an existing site or constructing a new facility, the need for additional space continues to increase as healthcare providers experience the consequences of the U.S. populous average age rapidly increasing.
In addition to the aging Baby Boomer population, many providers need a new space to accommodate up-to-date technology needs. However, many private practices and healthcare administrators leave information technology as an afterthought when breaking ground on a new facility. Opening a location or moving operations is a complicated process, but it can be even more difficult with the IT component is not incorporated during the planning stages.
Consider the following four tips as a starting point for moving to or opening a new facility.
Remember Everything is Connected
The need for all devices synced through Wi-Fi or a data network is increasing. From the individual workstations and physician mobile devices to medical equipment and patient monitors, today everything in a healthcare facility is connected. With this increase comes the danger of unauthorized individuals gaining access to the network and stealing patient data. Consider installing a separate Wi-Fi connection for non-employee personnel to use in the facility to reduce vulnerability. Also, the new facility should support an advanced security software to monitor the networks for potential breaches or malicious activity.
Conduct a Virtual Walk-Through
Regularly conduct virtual walk-throughs with the architects, contractors and designers to ensure the plans will meet internal needs. Beyond looking at the size of physician offices and wait rooms, analyze the location from a technical perspective. Does the facility have enough space for multiple IT storage areas for back-end servers, security equipment and extra medical devices?
Also, look at the small details such as the number of outlets in each room to power and connect medical equipment, and make sure patients have a place to charge their devices. By reviewing the plans in the beginning from all angles, changes can be incorporated early on instead of waiting to the end when it could be too late or expensive to make alterations.
Ask Employees, Vendors and Patients
When in the planning phase, ask key stakeholders, both internal employees and external groups, what their needs are for the new facility. It is important to get an opinion from those who will be working every day in the new space and ensure, within reason, they will be satisfied with the new layout, workstation placements and connectivity provisions in order to work successfully.
Bring in a Project Manager
There are companies that specialize in not only assisting in transitioning and implementing the technology in a move, but can also help plan all parts of the move from beginning to end to ensure a smooth transition. Partner with a company that can help plan the transition and utilize them fully to their expertise, such as physical building security, IT infrastructure and connectivity issues. Additionally, utilize them to coordinate between the various stakeholder groups, such as the architectures, designers, construction workers and the organization administration.
With any construction or renovation plans, there must be a constant flow of communication between the project managers, contractors, designers and internal executives during the construction process and physical transition. This allows all teams to be on the same page, resolve any issues that may arise quickly and stay on track with the projected timeline.
Moving to a new facility can be costly for a healthcare organization, especially if it is not well-planned in advance. If considering opening a new facility, think through what it takes to operate successfully every day, but do not minimize the need to properly incorporate IT needs. By paying attention to IT needs, providers are more likely to stay on track and within budget, ensuring a smooth transition for employees, vendors and patients.