By Ameeta Soni, Chief Marketing Officer, VFA, Inc.

At the recent American Society for Healthcare Engineering (ASHE) Annual Conference, much of the talk focused on the changing role of facilities leaders, and how a more strategic approach to facilities management is gaining facility managers a seat at the executive table. According to an article in the July issue of Health Facilities Management, there are a number of reasons for the change:

  • Increasing size of capital programs and budgets
  • Evidence that physical environment has a significant impact on patient care
  • Recognition that facilities managers have an opportunity to contribute to patient safety and comfort
  • Awareness that facility condition plays a role in attracting medical staff, administrative staff, and patients

A key element in becoming a strategic player is focusing on how facilities support the healthcare mission and the organization’s goals.

How are you demonstrating the strategic importance of facilities in your organization?

Area Development

Date: Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Time: 7:30 am – 10:00 am Eastern
Location: DoubleTree Hotel – Toronto Airport

With limited resources, facilities professional are struggling to find the most effective way to manage and track data about their facility assets.  Many organizations lack the ability to get a holistic view into deferred maintenance requirements and costs, an objective process to prioritize projects, and a methodology to rapidly and accurately update existing data.

Join us for a complimentary facility networking event and executive briefing where you will be able to network with facility management professionals from across Ontario.
You’ll learn how organizations like yours are addressing these challenges, successfully reducing their deferred maintenance backlog, proactively planning for systems renewal, and winning funding for infrastructure improvements.

 Hear about approaches for addressing your pressing challenges, including:

  • Creating long-term capital plans that align with strategic goals
  • Prioritizing competing capital projects
  • Maintaining accurate facility data
  • Developing compelling requests for facility funding

 Panelists include:

Ken Owen
Director, Facilities
City of Mississauga

David Taggart
Manager of Facility Assets
City of Burlington

Gary Nower
Assistant Vice President of Physical Resources
Wilfrid Laurier University

By Ameeta Soni, Chief Marketing Officer, VFA, Inc.

Last weekend, I attended APPA’s Annual Conference and Exhibition in Atlanta. One of the major trends in higher education is in reaction to how today’s students are learning, working and living. This generation expects to significantly leverage technology while at college. This means viewing lectures via podcasts and the Web, taking exams online, and accessing resources from mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets. Students are also using classrooms in different ways, with the emphasis on open learning spaces for collaboration.

The implications on facility managers is significant. This new approach means that they have to provide twice the learning space per student. Existing classrooms need to be converted to meet these needs, space needs to be re-purposed, and labs need to be flexible in terms of utility feeds and equipment. The amount of space needed and the way it’s being used means that an increased emphasis on running these facilities in an energy efficient, sustainable manner is also presenting a challenge to facility managers.

If you’re working at a college or university, how are you meeting the needs of today’s students?

BOSTON – July 18, 2011—VFA, Inc., the leading provider of end-to-end solutions for facilities capital planning and spend management, announced today that Catholic Health Partners (CHP), one of the largest not-for-profit health systems in the United States, has selected VFA.spendManager® capital spend management software to optimize its capital spend management process. Catholic Health Partners has implemented VFA.spendManager at its home office and has rolled out the solution to  eight regional locations in support of more than 2,000 users across  31 hospitals. CHP has established VFA as the system of record for all capital reporting beginning with the 2011 fiscal year.

 Catholic Health Partners was challenged to monitor spending on a real-time basis. “By using VFA.spendManager, Catholic Health Partners is now able to standardize capital spending processes across the system,” stated Dave Nowiski, vice president of finance at CHP.  “Additionally, VFA.spendManager creates a collaborative environment for executives to strategically manage capital budgets, automate processes to save time and money, and improve overall performance to deliver greater return on capital investments.”

 “In today’s uncertain economy, there is enormous pressure to ensure that existing capital is allocated more effectively and efficiently,” said Jerry Kokos, president and CEO, VFA, Inc. “Catholic Health Partners joins a number of organizations that are successfully using VFA.spendManager to reduce unplanned spending, eliminate manual processes and improve decision-making.”

 Enterprises that focus on capital spend management have an opportunity to drive compelling savings through more rigorous management of their capital spend. VFA offers these organizations the ability to proactively manage capital spend issues, rather than simply react to them. VFA.spendManager is providing Catholic Health Partners with a quantifiable measurement for savings in resources, time, operations, and capital.

Area Development

By Keith O’Leary, Director of Product Marketing, VFA, Inc.

The answer is, you can’t do so without accurate facility condition data. In the June issue of “Today’s Facility Manager,” I discussed the challenges of maintaining property in good condition: a costly proposition, especially if you don’t know how best to spend on deferred maintenance. Priorities for spending are usually based on key organizational goals such as risk mitigation and business continuity. Therefore, having access to accurate condition data that can be used to identify areas of risk and to set objective priorities is critical.

The high profile assets of a portfolio often require a detailed periodic assessment by seasoned professionals. But what about the geographically isolated or low profile assets? Or what about assets that may have undetected yet significant issues? In practice, more times than not, these assets do not undergo detailed condition assessments. Lack of insight into condition is a dilemma for facility managers who need to justify the necessary funds to maintain facilities adequately. Without validated data, cost justification is an elusive target.

One method that can enable cost-effective data collection is guided self-assessment using Web-based surveys. Guided self-assessments enable facility teams to gather condition data for geographically dispersed assets, identify “hot spots” within the portfolio that need detailed facility condition assessments, and develop quick budgetary estimates for smarter capital planning decisions.

How are you gathering the data you need?

Construction Reporter

School Building

By Keith O’Leary, Director of Product Marketing, VFA, Inc.

The Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) held its annual Healthcare Finance Conference in Orlando last week. Our client, Catholic Health Partners, one of the largest nonprofit health systems in the U.S., spoke about the fact that in today’s economic climate, numerous trends and pressures exist that are driving organizations to rethink the way they budget, allocate and track their capital.

Chief among them are:

  • scarcity of capital
  • enhanced analysis and justification of expenditures
  • pressures to demonstrate greater returns on capital investments
  • and the need for greater visibility and control of spending across the organization.

It’s important to find ways to turn capital into a source of strength by streamlining requisition processes and reconciliation of expenditures, strengthening enforcement of business rules and fiscal policies, managing unapproved and unplanned expenditures, and reducing capital purchase costs.

How are you handling these capital spend management challenges?