Operational Efficiency in a Time of Decreasing Resources
By Pjeter Vucinaj (02/02/2012)

Pjeter Vucinaj is Vice President and Director of Medical & Healthcare Services for Martek Global Services. Martek provides a full suite of services covering all areas of real estate, facilities, medical and health care, furniture, administration and procurement activities for commercial and government clients.

With the federal government facing tightening resources, it will constantly need to seek ways to increase efficiencies and decrease costs. With an eye on health care over the last few years, this is especially the case for government medical facilities.

As the Department of Defense and specifically the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expands, renews and/or builds its medical facilities across the country, it will be important for government health care professionals to seek strategic and tactical facilities and acquisition support solutions from a partner who has unique insight into best practices related to Initial Outfitting & Transitioning (IO&T) and facilities repair and renewal projects. Such a partner will be able to provide guidance as to how government medical facilities will best be able to manage the challenges associated with a relocation, renovation or expansion while continuing to provide uninterrupted services to their patients.

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The number one objective for managing IO&T and facilities repair and renewal projects should be minimizing disruptions to hospitals and clinics so they can continue to serve their patients, whose needs remain the same regardless of changes to the facility itself. And this priority needs to be kept while completing the project on time and within budget. The existing medical facility must continue to provide seamless care and service to its staff and its patients while the alterations are being implemented, so the challenge lies in being able to do both without any delays or changes in normal routines, while also minimizing the stress these changes can cause. This makes it critical to involve key individuals and teams throughout the project who are experts in their assigned areas.

The timing of placing these people in the appropriate roles is as important as aligning the best person with the right job. Due to the complexities of many IO&T projects, it is too common that all of the contract teams are not brought in together in the beginning of the project, but instead join the project in separate phases to perform their specific functions. This creates challenges because the parties being brought in after the project is underway are usually required to immediately implement their specific contribution without sufficient time for proper planning and coordination with the end users. The most beneficial approach is to bring all of the individuals and project components together at the inception of the project, to allow time for preparation and to also provide valuable input throughout the phases of the project. This will help minimize the need for any rework or modifications throughout the process.

Once the optimal parties are put into place for their project areas, it is important that the facilities’ management provide these experts with ownership of their assigned areas. This will drastically reduce the anxiety and stress to staff that can result from the changes that are being implemented. The project experts should then provide continuous progress updates and briefs to all facility personnel that are being impacted, which will also be beneficial in helping both staff and patients understand and prepare for the changes that will be implemented.

By working with a strong IO&T partner, government health care professionals will better be able to make necessary transitions to their facilities, whether it is a renovation, an expansion, or an entire relocation, with the peace of mind that the project will be carried out in the most efficient and effective way possible.

Pjeter can be contacted at pvucinaj@martekglobal.com.

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