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Don’t let the Lower Mainland Facilities Management (LMFM) organization’s name mislead you. Despite its hefty label, the organization is a model of efficiency. LMFM is a shared service supporting four health organizations representing 60 health care facilities surrounding the Greater Vancouver Area of British Columbia.
In 2010 the consolidated service was formed to provide shared services for four different healthcare authorities and organizations. Now all of these facilities have access to consolidated departments including Facilities Maintenance and Operations (FMO), Real Estate, Facility Planning and Project Delivery, Energy & Environmental Sustainability, and Systems Support.
Naturally, when you bring together four large entities, all 60 healthcare facilities are likely to be categorized as ‘Critical Infrastructure’ and you face a myriad of risks to manage in order to operate and maintain effectively. You are also likely to get a range of attitudes and approaches to managing risk. There is a real connection between continual operations and risk visibility. Prioritization among risks and action plans are key when you are living with limited resource. For example, ensuring hospital operating rooms stay open is one of the critical mandates of FMO. “Many of our risks are directly tied to equipment and infrastructure” says Jay Trethewey, Director of LMFM. “People’s lives depend on these things being reliable”.
In 2012, the group made a decision to have one data depository for managing operational and maintenance risks for 60 facilities across the four healthcare networks. “Spreadsheets got us to a certain point when the focus was a handful of hospitals and assets” says Wakako Thomson, the Risk Management Program lead. “But when the focus shifted to 60 facilities and 13 critical assets, it was impossible to keep the information consistent and act on a prioritized basis by using spreadsheets”. It was at that time that the team decided to implement Resolver’s Enterprise Risk Management application.
The overall timeframe of getting Resolver up and running was three months. “We were fortunate in already having a well-developed approach to capturing and evaluating risk information in a complex setting. The Resolver team was great at understanding our needs and requests, and configured the software to match” stated Wakako. Once the system was up and running, Wakako and her team started visiting sites to facilitate risk management workshops, usually focusing on one critical asset at a time, at each site. The discussion and risk information is captured in Resolver and stored in the library. In each subsequent workshop, discussion starts with the library information to leverage the collective knowledge of all site managers and supervisors. The library feature enables very efficient collaboration across LMFM staff and stakeholders.
For LMFM, Resolver’s Enterprise Risk Management application is used for both capital renewal and operational risks, with 80% of the data being operational. There are 13 critical asset systems being tracked including HVAC systems, emergency power generation, electrical distribution, life safety systems and plumbing as examples. Even when labelled as operational, the risk information has implications for the overall asset management cycle, such as facility capital planning, technical guidelines for new projects, and project delivery. The 1,000+ Specific risks that are managed by LMFM using Resolver, are distilled into a handful of high level risks for the health authorities’ corporate enterprise risk registers.
With an aging infrastructure, and many competing priorities for limited capital, Resolver increasingly comes into play in decision support. “Do we need a $50 Million renovation, or a $5 Million refit?” asks Jay. “Resolver helps us make these decisions and create visibility with health authority management as to the risks associated with deferring capital projects.”
According to Jay, this is one area where Resolver has helped greatly. “The knowledge base we’re developing reflects the state of the infrastructure, and identifies where the risks are. This helps make business cases for capital projects, and ensures budget alignment while providing patients with the best possible environment for care delivery. Increasingly, Resolver is being applied as a strategic lens while developing capital initiatives, and to manage risks through design development and project delivery phases as well.”
After nearly 20 years of experience designing mechanical systems for hospitals and higher education facilities, Jay’s focus is primarily on developing a risk and value-based approach to maintenance, operations, and capital renewal.
Wakako Thomson has been involved in developing the Risk Management programs with Lower Mainland Facilities Management since 2010. She oversees 100+ risk workshops per year at Lower Mainland Health Care Facilities, in addition to managing multiple initiatives targeted at reducing identified risks and evaluating outcomes.