The Risks of Technology in Healthcare Facilities Maintenance
By Rick Joslin, Senior Advisor, Healthcare Strategy, Accruent
Welcome to the 21st century where almost everything is connected. Today’s healthcare facilities maintenance environment is no exception – almost every critical system is riding the proverbial wave of technology.
Building automation, fire monitoring, emergency power, water management, and air management all rely on technology resources and are critically important to ensure a safe, controlled, and comfortable environment of care. With 60-75% of healthcare facilities expenses being labor costs, having a technology in place that increases operational productivity or efficiency is valuable.1
However, implementing these technologies brings along critical risk factors that can affect patients, staff and visitors greatly, so it’s important for healthcare facility managers and IT staff to be informed and understand what’s at stake.
Risk: Unexpected Regulatory Violations
Accidently switching off the power to a light source in the grand scheme of things is relatively small, with little impact. However, when you inadvertently turn off the network used by your fire suppression monitoring system, you’re exposing patients, visitors and staff to a higher risk of injury. Without a proper Interim Life Safety Measures assessment in place, your organization can face regulatory violations.
Although most network-connected facilities maintenance devices don’t contain sensitive information, they are still susceptible to cyberattacks, especially when they are accessible remotely. Remote access provides an avenue for network intrusions and equipment tampering. When a cyberattack happens against facilities maintenance devices, such as accessing video monitoring/surveillance equipment, or installing a network virus, sensitive data can be compromised that violates the privacy of patients.
Risk: Unplanned Downtime
Using technology in healthcare facility maintenance successfully can’t be a solo endeavor. If you don’t understand and work closely with IT to identify network resources, criticality, software, security and accessibility, you can count on unplanned downtime later.
Biomedical and facilities have moved into the connected world. If facilities managers don’t accept this reality and learn about the technology associated with healthcare facilities maintenance, then their facilities will always be at risk. If healthcare organizations have already embraced and implemented technology in healthcare facilities maintenance, but haven’t taken the precautions to ensure their devices are resistant to attack, they too are at risk.
When you collaborate with your IT department, get them involved with packages, equipment, or services where network resources are needed, you’re ensuring that you are implementing a safe and secure system. Taking this necessary step and understanding the risks associated with technology in healthcare facility maintenance is vital – your bottom line depends on it.