The healthcare industry is vital to our society, but since many facilities are open 24/7, they consume a significant amount of energy. Hospitals not only provide essential medical and health functions, they also power cafeterias, laundry services, lab and research facilities, HVAC systems, and more. Continue reading to learn more about the wasted time and energy in the healthcare industry and solutions on how buildings can be more energy efficient.
With so much energy being consumed on a daily basis, it’s crucial for healthcare facilities to be as energy efficient as possible. If not, the energy will completely deplete operating budgets. Inefficient energy management can exhaust hospital resources, such as the wasted energy in unoccupied rooms. Hospitals are massive buildings, but every room uses temperature and lighting control even when they are not being used. Facility managers realize comprehend the massive waste of energy, but they lack the staff to manually reduce temperatures and turn off the lights of each empty room.
In addition to energy resources, human resources are also a high consumption item in hospitals. Hospitals are always filled with clinical, maintenance, and housekeeping staff at every hour of the day. Many businesses can solve the issue of a tight operating budget with staff and service reductions, but the healthcare industry is different. Reduced staffing will create a decline in patient care, so they must find an alternative solution.
Also, hospitals tend to have inefficient staff management, as nurses spend more time answering patient questions about their rooms rather than helping with critical care. Nurses spend years training in patient care, but a majority of their shift is spent answering questions regarding lighting and temperature control or TV volume. If patients have self-service options over these controls, nurses will have the opportunity to be much more efficient and satisfied with their job.
Thankfully, the solution to these problems is to use the data that is already available. There are two powerful systems inside most hospital facilities: the building management system (BMS) and the admission, discharge, and transfer (ADT) system. The BMS monitors and controls the building systems, while the ADT system tracks the changing patient population within a hospital. However, most healthcare facilities are inefficient because these two systems don’t communicate.
The answer involves sharing information between the BMS and ADT through a Health Level-7 interface, and Schneider Electric’s Clinical Environment Optimization solution is the middleware needed. The solution is delivered as an application for Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Building Operation software and integrates hospitals’ ADT system with its BMS. The integration works because of Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure for Healthcare IoT platform, which is built to enable open, flexible integration with third-party systems and devices.
With simple information sharing, hospitals can reduce energy by setting rooms to predetermined HVAC and lighting settings depending on occupancy, alerting staff of a room’s occupancy, and allowing patients to manage their room temperature and lighting with a mobile app. This will not only improve patient satisfaction and allow staff to deliver better patient care, but will also reduce operating costs and enable facility managers to make informed decisions to improve energy use.
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