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Strategic Perspective Guides Healthcare Facility Investment Decisions

August 1, 2013 - Facilities Management

Today's tip from Building Operating Management: A strategic perspective guides healthcare facility investment decisions at Crozer-Keystone Health System.

Crozer-Keystone is the dominant health care provider in Delaware County, just to the west of Philadelphia. Anchored by five main hospital complexes in a roughly 30-mile circuit, the system also has an ever-growing number of satellite facilities throughout the county, including more than 600,000 square feet of physician office space.

The push for innovation and efficiency in health care delivery models at Crozer-Keystone is systemic, from the medical staff's efforts at infection control to the way patient medical records are handled. And, with Brian Crimmins, vice president, facilities planning and development, at the helm, the system's facilities have played a big role.

One key is developing a strategy to deal with increasing square footage despite limited budgets. Crimmins has a seat on the hospital's capital allocations committee, where he tries to be impartial and has to make decisions that might not always be popular with his team.

Though he's the one to have to make the tough calls, Crimmins' approach is not top-down, viewing his role less as director and more as collaborator with his team.

"I try to get them to understand the priorities of the health system," Crimmins says. "They have to take ownership in their own hospital or building, but at the end of the day they have to understand that we're going to move in the direction that is in the best interest of the health system and not of the individual facility."

For example, the main data room for the health system has been maxed out in terms of the amount of power and emergency power its facility can deliver to it. So a secondary data room is being built out to relieve the pressure and create some redundancy. "Spending the money to build that data room I'm sure raised some eyebrows with some people," says Crimmins. There's always the need for capital in a hundred different directions: new patient care equipment, new roofs, etc. The new data room will be in a more remote location, isolated from where most of the hospital would see it. But it's Crimmins' job to understand the need where others don't. "With everything becoming more and more computerized, should (the data center) have a problem, it really cripples the whole system," he says.


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