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8 questions to ask
when moving to a
new or renovated
healthcare facility

Time to move? Effectively manage location and equipment change in healthcare

Even before COVID-19 struck, healthcare leaders were hard-pressed to do more with less. Now, the urgency has only become more intense.

When we entered 2020, health systems had numerous capital projects underway to accommodate surging patient numbers and better serve patient populations with new and renovated facilities. While some of those projects went on hold as organizations quickly switched gears to manage the COVID-19 patient surge, many essential construction projects are still underway.

But these organizations face a careful balancing act in delivering new spaces: Provide sophisticated, modern facilities and equipment, with complete efficiency and accuracy at every step of the process. From optimizing the value of each piece of equipment to minimizing disruption during a patient relocation, major equipment and facility changes require a deft hand to maintain maximum value and minimal disruption.

To help organizations like yours navigate these major transitions, we’ve outlined top questions to consider for major equipment planning and move management.

Key considerations for medical equipment planning

Whether your clinical teams are moving into a brand-new hospital, or simply a renovated set of rooms, they need to know the new space is outfitted with the necessary medical equipment and that it will work from day one.

Equipment purchasing is nothing new for most health systems’ procurement teams, but outfitting entirely new facilities or renovated spaces requires extra legwork. On top of ordinary procurement needs, major equipment planning requires a regimented approach to budget development, scheduling, requesting bids and quotes, analyzing and negotiating pricing, and writing purchase order requisitions.

A thoughtful approach to planning can provide financial and practical value now and into the long term. Following are key questions to ask when considering major new equipment needs:

1.   Do we have the right data to inform equipment purchases? Well before construction or renovation begins, existing equipment inventories should help inform a data-driven foundation for reuse, redeployment or replacement decisions. Then, equipment experts can perform deep-dive analyses on replacement plans based on a range of factors such as useful life, FDA recalls and maintenance costs.

2.   Who should be involved in equipment decisions? Equipment planning teams will need to work closely with end users, designers and project managers to balance operational goals and patient care priorities alongside technology, design and construction needs.

3.   What tools will help ensure accurate planning? Visualizations can help ensure all stakeholders and partners – from nurses to architects – are on the same page and understand what to expect. Building information modeling (BIM) tools can be used to produce equipment placement drawings that support more realistic design processes and visualization, in turn helping generate more accurate cost schedules.

4.   How will we ensure smooth installation? Once the planning stage is complete, installation must be tightly managed, from confirming design documents and reviewing vendor-specific drawings, to managing delivery schedules and coordinating receiving. On the day of delivery, on-site support will be needed to oversee installation and provide training.

A medical equipment planning provider with deep clinical and engineering experience can augment your team to support all of the above goals. What’s more, a provider with preferred relationships with industry-leading vendors can often bring costs down. Once your equipment planning is well underway, it’s time to invest in a smooth transition plan.

A smooth transition unlocks value. Supporting a large health system’s modernization project, JLL helped them smoothly transition into a 160,000 square-foot facility with inpatient rooms, an imaging center and operating room (OR) suites. With effective planning, the team delivered transition cost savings of $50,000 and reduced downtime by 50%, allowing clinical teams to quickly resume normal patient care.

Key questions in planning your healthcare move  

No matter how excited teams may be to move into a more modern and inviting facility, transitioning into a new or renovated space can have a significant impact on day-to-day operations. From inter-departmental patient flow and care model integration to communication and training, it’s important to manage operational challenges without diverting attention from serving patients.

Whether you’re renovating or moving to an all-new facility, your employees need to be able to confidently and seamlessly continue their work before, during and after a move to ensure patient care always come first.

Consider these questions as early as possible in the process:

1.   How do you get from blueprint to opening day? Masterful coordination is key to successfully activating a facility. You’ll need to consider how medical equipment, furniture and plant operations transitions will coincide with security, IT, environmental services and materials management issues. With so many balls in the air, it can be easy to miss some of the many details needed to ensure both facility and operational readiness.

That’s why it is critical to have the right team to identify, define and organize the tasks and resources it will take to successfully open your new facility. With an experienced partner, your organization can benefit from a detailed activation plan and process that opens minimizes downtime and risks to patient care.

2.   Does your moving plan account for every detail and scenario? As go-live day approaches, it’s time to compile detailed move plans and schedules. Moving plans must account for a wide array of moving parts, including IT disconnects, mechanical and plumbing issues, clinical engineering needs and dietary and/or pharmacy supplies. Having a hands-on partner available for onsite management and coordination can help ensure you don’t miss a beat.

3.   If patients need to be moved, what will you do to assure safety and minimize stress? Relocating patients can be stressful for patients and their families, as well as for care teams. Working with a patient relocation expert can help alleviate potential disruption by considering all potential issues, including travel paths, pharmaceutical needs and critical care equipment. And, because practice makes perfect, the ideal partner will also coordinate clinical teams and EMS providers to conduct practice runs to affirm plan feasibility and safety.

4.   The facility is open… now what? Unforeseen questions and issues inevitably arise once the doors are open. A transition command center can provide continuing onsite support, with a single point of contact to help triage action items to responsible parties and manage the status of all questions and concerns.

Positive change requires proactive planning

In healthcare, seamless change isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s critical to meeting patient care goals and to ensuring efficient use of capital. Effective planning can make or break a facility relocation or renovation, and the equipment used within it.

The right partner provides the safe hands for operational change and smooth transition, so your teams can continue to do what they do best: care for your patients.

Preparing facilities for the COVID-19 patient surge. When a major health system needed to expand its intensive care unit (ICU) in anticipation of the COVID-19 surge, they health system tapped JLL to manage the logistics of adding beds and monitors as well as cleaning out dining rooms and common areas to be used for patient care. That way, this health system's teams could focus on what they do best: serving patients.