Housekeeping for Hospital Systems: The Benefits of Standardizing Environmental Services
Pushes for standardization in healthcare systems are becoming more popular as one way to reduce cost and variability. Standardization champions view this strategy as a path to increase quality and safety through repeatable processes that reinforce personalized healthcare delivery without increasing cost or waste. Leaders who adopt this approach know standardization doesn't create a cookie-cutter approach or depersonalize care. Instead, patients are more satisfied because standardization minimizes the risk of errors and improves patient safety and overall experience.
Standardization in general, particularly when it comes to specialties like housekeeping for hospital systems, presents hospitals' massive opportunity to reduce costs. This follows an overall trend toward market consolidation.
When healthcare systems outsource specialties such as foodservice, human resources, or environmental services (EVS), they can look forward to lower overhead costs. That, in turn, frees up hospital dollars for reinvestment in other critical functions like clinicians and technology. By standardizing and bundling contracts for specialties like EVS or clinical engineering with one partner, healthcare systems save on costs.
Increasing Patient Satisfaction
Having different vendors and protocols for various support systems can create problems for care networks beyond wasting money. The variability that comes with too many vendors and protocols can also undermine the quality of services, negatively impacting patient satisfaction.
Hospitals and health systems that standardize EVS, sometimes called housekeeping, through a single partner that aligns culturally and operationally with the organization create streamlined processes that ensure the highest quality service. A single partner helps establish a strong governance model for EVS in healthcare organizations and makes administrative tasks more manageable. Combined, these improvements boost overall patient satisfaction and enhance the overall healthcare experience.
Reducing the Risk of HAIs
Standardizing housekeeping for hospital systems creates rigorous, repeatable processes, ensuring both the perception and reality of clean. The perception of cleanliness is key to keeping patients satisfied throughout their time in a hospital. The reality of clean, however, is essential to keeping patients safe.
Approximately 1 in every 31 patients has at least one healthcare-associated infection, or HAI, on any given day in the United States. Cost reduction and high-quality EVS are not mutually exclusive. Hospital systems that standardize environmental services can reduce the risk of HAIs thanks to standardized processes that empower associates to continually follow the procedures that lead to enhanced safety. Decreased variation minimizes the risk of making mistakes.
Despite a common belief that equates standardization with depersonalization, standardization in healthcare settings positively impacts the patient experience. Standardizing housekeeping for hospital systems reduces variability, which leads to minimized risk for mistakes — and more time to spend on personalized interactions with patients and their families. Standardization also reduces costs for hospital systems, which frees up dollars for other staff and services that can enhance the patient experience. All in all, standardizing environmental services leads to a range of benefits for both hospital systems and the patients they serve.