By Rick Joslin

By now, healthcare facilities should have a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) in place to help ensure a safe Environment of Care, as well as reduce equipment downtime and organize maintenance workflows. However, like most technology, maintenance software can become outdated, which will cost you in the long run.

Reasons to replace your maintenance solution:

CMMS solutions typically become outdated for one of two reasons: either the solution’s vendor is not keeping up with market trends or a workplace has made major changes that impact maintenance processes.

If you ask a vendor about their product’s evolution prior to implementation, you will hear how conscientious vendors are about market trends and changes. But frequently, when an organization undergoes a major change—like business growth, mass hiring or a facility upgrade, it outgrows the technology it is currently using. Some maintenance solutions are able to scale to meet the changing demands of the business. However, this is not always the case, which can force some businesses to choose a new solution altogether.

Although these reasons for replacement are usually straightforward, it is not always apparent that your maintenance solution is falling behind, and any loss of forward progress can set your maintenance ROI on an unexpected downturn.

Here are five signs that will let you know it is time to replace your maintenance solution:

1. Lack of real-time visibility.

Most modern business solutions offer real-time analytics to create status reports and make quick decisions. This is no different in the healthcare maintenance industry.

Today, many maintenance solutions allow managers and technicians to track and check various facility and equipment metrics such as failure codes, inventory, equipment status levels, completed work orders and more. Without this real-time visibility in your maintenance solution, it is difficult to make quick and accurate decisions to keep everything at peak efficiency. More importantly, you may be risking your equipment, the safety of your technicians, and the health of your customers. A lack of real-time visibility can also lead to higher maintenance costs due to increased labor expenditures or expedited shipping costs.

2. Compliance issues.

If you have a maintenance solution, you probably already track the warranties, inspections, routine maintenance and repair history of your equipment. However, if keeping up with compliance codes and industry regulations is more of a manual process, you may want to consider replacing your maintenance solution.

A CMMS can automate compliance tasks by setting notifications, scheduling routine maintenance, tracking a repair history log and organizing important documents (e.g., equipment manuals, spec sheets, ID tags) for each of your assets. This not only saves facility managers time and can boost compliance rates, it will also make inspections and audits a breeze since everything is documented and easily accessible.

Since Healthcare Facilities Maintenance (HFM) departments must comply with hundreds of regulations—including those involving equipment, grounds, structures, staff and spaces—it is critical to have a CMMS/EAM that can identify, document, record and report on these items to maintain efficient and compliant operations.

Watch our webinar series, “10 Steps to Make Your Healthcare Technology and Facility Departments a Strategic Asset” to learn more about driving value and recognition for your department.

3. Outdated paper processes.

Technicians using paper forms on the floor or in the field before coming back to the office to digitally input data is usually a sign that your maintenance solution needs an upgrade. Doubling up with paper processes not only causes redundant work for technicians, it can waste valuable time and resources if the rest of the team is working with outdated data.

Upgrading to a cloud-based maintenance solution allows users to access necessary information when they need it. Taking this one step further, having a mobile CMMS allows technicians to check and update data with smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices—anytime, anywhere.

No matter the solution, today’s HFM department should be as electronic as the rest of the healthcare organization, increasing accuracy, reducing effort and improving data access.

4. Lagging work orders.

How your organization manages work orders can make or break your whole maintenance operation. If you notice that your work orders are getting backed up, it is probably time to look into a new CMMS.

Every maintenance organization should have a “healthy” work backlog. When work orders are falling outside of this healthy backlog, it is often a sign that the current workflow is insufficient, or that necessary data is not accessible until it is too late.

A modern CMMS can serve as a central hub for asset management, inventory management, work order management and preventive maintenance management. It can also improve reaction time by automatically distributing work orders, notifying technicians of new assignments, and indicate likely parts, materials or services needed to complete the job.

By using a CMMS, both managers and technicians can make sure all the necessary parts and equipment are available to finish a work order quickly and accurately.

5. Inadequate integration capabilities.

Maintenance solutions can integrate with most other business systems you may use, such as property management or accounting software. These integrations allow you to make maintenance decisions that better serve the whole business.

If your CMMS does not have native integrations, check to see if there is a flexible application program interface (API) available. This will allow your organization to create custom integrations with your current business applications. However, if both avenues are extremely limited or nonexistent, you may consider looking at a different maintenance solution for your team.

Without integration capabilities, a CMMS can increase costs due to slow, effort-heavy manual processes and reduced cross-departmental collaboration. Similarly, without the ability to integrate into building and environmental monitoring systems, an HFM department can miss critical notifications of out-of-tolerance conditions which often lead to unsafe conditions. Minimal integrations may also lead to equipment or structural damage caused by improper processes, procedures or parts.

The bottom line:

A CMMS that was great to start with may not have the ability to hold up over time or through any major business changes. Keeping a diligent eye out for the signs of a limited system will make it apparent when you need to replace your maintenance solution.

If you think it might be time to consider a new maintenance solution, we can help. Accruent’s Healthcare CMMS/EAM solution is an industry leader. Schedule a demo today.

Schedule a time to meet with Rick Joslin at ASHE in Baltimore.