How Construction Teams Can Keep on Top of Healthcare Innovation
Whether you’re in the construction industry or not, chances you have noticed the expansion of healthcare facilities across the U.S. in recent years. From new builds and renovations from major healthcare networks to the buildings of specialized labs and treatment centers at major universities, medical facilities across the nation are furiously adding square footage to enable higher levels of treatment and better patient outcomes.
Of course, this all comes with significant monetary investment: “The top 10 leading U.S. health systems account for more than $19.8 billion in current and upcoming medical construction,” reports BuildCentral. While these figures are “down approximately 8% from 2017,” there is currently a “26% increase in the number of newly planned and active renovation projects industry-wide, with new construction and expansions up 8.5% in the same time frame.”
It is, moreover, an exciting time to be in healthcare construction. The numerous groundbreaking projects currently underway foreshadow increased innovation in the field in the years to come. Construction professionals working in healthcare, have an amazing opportunity to help future breakthroughs reach patients and communities faster. However, this starts with a commitment to improving the efficiency of construction and building quality facilities meant to last.
Before we get more into our specific recommendations for healthcare construction teams, let’s take a look at a few coming facilities that have been building buzz in the medical field. We invite you to take a look at our SlideShare (or view here) to learn about 10 of the most exciting healthcare facilities projects coming to cities around the US.
Keeping on Top of Healthcare Innovation
While these 10 examples of upcoming healthcare facilities projects feature high points in the sector, healthcare still remains one of the, if not the, most complex construction segments on the market today. To continue moving forward, it’s critical builders keep on top of changes in healthcare in addition to advancements and technology within the construction industry.
The good news is, there are increasing tools at builders disposal to keep up with the pace of progress. With clearer access to more data, construction and facilities teams can better address the challenges of healthcare construction. To keep building amazing healthcare facilities, on time and on budget, as well as keep hospitals at a functional level for a long period of time, the following construction methods need to be considered.
4 Ways to Increase Data Visibility in Healthcare Construction
The healthcare construction sector is unique in the sheer amount of data available. While sectors like commercial and even heavy civil, might struggle due to the lack of full plans and information, quite the opposite occurs in healthcare. The problem is that teams often don’t yet have effective ways of wading through the abundance of data, communicating it to others and using it for intelligent decision-making in the office and in the field.
Here are four ways we can change that and better healthcare facilities construction on the whole.
1. Leverage Cloud Collaboration
The figures governing today’s healthcare field are a little hard to wrap the head around. “With 5,627 registered hospitals in the United States and a total of more than 900,000 beds and a combined budget of nearly $900 billion, this vast system provides a fabric of buildings, engineered systems and technologies serving the nation’s well-being and economic strength,” says the American Society for Health Care Engineering, noting that these numbers do not include the 2,800 additional retail health clinics projected for 2017.
Imagine how many systems are housed within each of those structures, requiring contractors for healthcare facilities to be able to collaborate at an extremely high level. For instance, in healthcare construction, mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) systems are some of the most intensive and complicated aspects of construction to manage. Also, considering regulations and health codes, particular care and attention needs to be met to pass the rigorous inspections.
Cloud collaboration software can help ensure teams are updated on the latest design changes, schedules and other aspects that would impact the work they are doing. Plus, it’s available wherever teams are, from any device, increasing the efficiency to manage change.
Need to see for yourself? Watch our recent video:
2. Integrate BIM in the Field and for O&M
A large portion of healthcare facilities are already using BIM and data visualization for design. It’s common knowledge just how powerful BIM can be to detect clashes, especially in complicated systems, even before construction begins.
However, BIM it underutilized in the field during constructions as well as operations and maintenance (O&M), both of which can have a tremendous impact on time and budget.
When BIM is successfully brought to the field, the increased coordination and visibility improves schedules and assures better quality control.
In the operations and maintenance stage, BIM can help build intelligence into the facilities, allowing teams to address repairs and fully understand what they’re getting into before renovating a healthcare facilities space:
“The Stanford University Neuroscience Health Center is a case study of how BIM in operations can improve quality and reduce costs,” Healthcare Business Today says. “By applying BIM in operations to the 92,000-square-foot facility, which centralizes comprehensive care of neuroscience patients, the center realized many benefits including quick response times and a 4.5% reduction in maintenance costs.”
Plus, “With BIM’s 3D visualization, there was a 60-70% reduction in time spent on fix and repair because staff could see the asset’s location and proximity to patient rooms and procedural rooms.”
The dramatic cost and time savings reported from BIM in healthcare facilities,
3. Incorporate the Internet of Things (IoT)
When incorporated in construction, IoT can be a game changer for proactive maintenance of healthcare facilities.
IoT, which relies on sensors placed on equipment and materials to produce data that gets recorded on a central server, can provide a view from above that just wasn’t possible before its invention. With this data in hand, construction companies can streamline processes and increase efficiency considerably.
Perhaps that’s why “60% of professionals predicted that IoT will impact their building and maintenance policies within the next year, and 65% of respondents are planning to increase investment in building capital expenses, including advanced building technologies that manage and glean insights from new data sets,” says Oracle.
4. Pursue a Better Networks of Integrations
Considering the sheer amount of data and trades on an average healthcare facilities project, a great deal of information could be lost due to failed interoperability of the systems.
Trades frequently choose their own solutions for communication and data management, and even contractors might have multiple best-in-breed software and data systems for different purposes–which is fine. Problems arise, however, when these systems and stakeholders can’t talk to one another because of it.
That’s why it’s essential that healthcare construction teams prioritize technology that integrates seamlessly with other solutions, helping them get the most out of the data being captured.
Take Productivity to the Next Level in Healthcare Facilities Construction
Wondering about your role? No matter your area of expertise, niche, position in the chain of command or any other defining characteristic, there is something you can do to see that healthcare construction fares well in the decades to come.
First and foremost, we need to protect investments and prop up productivity. To learn more about how to improve efficiency and quality on construction in the healthcare sector, download our recent ebook, “5 Strategies to Skyrocket Productivity in Healthcare Construction.” Time to get healthier, one brick at a time.