workers preparing real bags of hospital laundry

The Affordable Care Act’s policy of tying a portion of Medicare reimbursement has made the role of the facilities team more important, according to a Healthcare Facilities Today article. While it’s true that patient satisfaction surveys like the HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) have many questions that tie directly to the clinical staff, a hospital’s physical environment, and the facilities team who maintains it, also play a critical and often under-appreciated role, wrote Martyn Buffler and McKinley Thompson of Dude Solutions.

It’s the environmental, non-clinical aspects that can determine a positive or negative experience. Cleanliness of rooms and restrooms, noise level, lighting and many other aspects of the physical environment are what often form a first impression and set the tone for a visit.

The article explains that, "beyond first impressions, elements of the physical environment continue to play a critical role in patient satisfaction for the duration of their stay. Is important equipment like call buttons, the TV, restroom fixtures and lights working properly in their room? Are they able to rest and recover, or is there excessive noise? Is the temperature regulated, allowing them to be comfortable, or is it too hot or too cold in the room?”

So the argument can be made that the facilities team has an indirect, yet significant impact on every question, including those about nurses and doctors.

The facilities team handles the majority of requests from the clinical staff. By maintaining and servicing their equipment, limiting obstructions, and having an efficient layout of the building and supplies in place, the facilities team enables the clinical staff to provide quality care and spend time focusing on patients.

At the end of the day, if nurses and doctors are happy, patients are more likely to be satisfied – and the facilities team contributes by setting them up for success.

Read the full article here.