ARCHIBUS Success Story

Hope Flourishes in This Place...Thanks, in Part, to ARCHIBUS

It's difficult to render compassionate, first-rate care to people in crisis when you are in a crisis yourself. The staff of Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba have had plenty of experience with this unpalatable fact. The Centre has been laboring under some pretty tough conditions lately-an outmoded, ungovernable city hospital system, several years of deficit budgets, a deteriorating physical plant (especially in critical care areas), and the blizzard and the floods taking their toll. Nonetheless, the Centre's 1996/7 annual report stresses hope as its main theme. As the Centre's President and Chairman of the Board put it, “Hope is the one common denominator we all share...It is the essence of our purpose as a hospital.”

Health Sciences Centre

The Centre was being taxed to its limits. As one of the largest acute-care facilities in North America, its doctors perform extremely complex surgery. In 2003, about 30,000 patients were admitted; 4,295 newborns started their lives in the neonatal unit.

HSC's paper-driven facilities management was also stressed to its ceiling. Computation of chargeback was a nightmare. For example, a single lab could contain several cost centres. Databases were not integrated, there was no determined way to name a room, and there were no room measurement standards. Lack of standardization manifested itself in duplicate room numbers and unidentified spaces.

Disorganization Writ Large
The chaotic situation of the hospital both mirrored and was to a great extent caused by large-scale fragmentation of the health care system in the province. Winnipeg's health system consisted of a hodgepodge of institutional entities. The bottom line was that if the hospitals in the region didn't learn how to hang together, to paraphrase Ben Franklin, they were surely going to hang separately.

Fortunately, and much to the relief of the Centre's Board of Directors, sweeping systemic reform has begun in earnest. The Centre's annual report explains the reason for the new air of optimism: “The formation of the Winnipeg Hospital Authority gives us hope of some order and rationalization in the system.” Health Sciences Centre's decision to switch to automated facilities management will smooth the transition to the regionalization of health care.

From Muddle to Model
Health Sciences Centre turned to ARCHIBUS to solve its information needs. Craig Doerksen, Director of Operations Support, elaborates: “The ARCHIBUS database design for Space Management is solid, yet it provides flexibility for setting corporate conventions and organization. ARCHIBUS also has a strong CAD to data tie-essential for a large organization like HSC.” With the first phase of the installation completed in September 1997, the situation has improved. More and more, the hospital's space and assets are being consciously controlled by Health Sciences Centre's managers as they utilize the tools of the ARCHIBUS system.

Doerksen reports that he can now generate reports to indicate how space is allocated by department, section, or division. Or, he can present space usage data based on type, category, use, or activity. These reports have virtually eliminated questions such as, “Why does obstetrics have more space than pediatrics?” Now the questions are more like, “Can you tell us how we can better utilize our space?” There is a new awareness that there is a system which is tracking who has what. Everyone knows that the onus of responsibility for wisely allocating space rests on the users themselves. He sums it all up by saying, “We see ARCHIBUS as the cornerstone component within our overall IFM system.” Data is shared by facilities management, design consultants, building landlords, and telecommunications.

So successful has Health Sciences Centre been in sorting out the muddle, that its data model has been endorsed by the ten urban hospitals in Manitoba. HSC has emerged as a model of CAFM effectiveness. The Urban Hospital Project has adopted the Centre's data model-naming conventions and definitions-developed by Doerksen and his staff. The Urban Hospitals, once they have implemented the ARCHIBUS system, will represent an additional 6.8 million square feet (20,000 rooms).

As Canadian health care becomes more centralized and streamlined (hence, accountable to the public), its health care institutions must be ready to provide accurate records. Health Sciences Centre doesn't have to hope to be ready. It already is.

Vital Statistics

Health Sciences Centre
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Facilities Facts:
27 buildings (all ARCHIBUS-managed by 1998); 3.2 million square feet, 10,000+ rooms; approximately 5,200 full- and part-time staff
ARCHIBUS Applications:
Space Management
Overlay for AutoCAD
Telecom & Cable Management
Impetus for Implementation:
Required accurate inventory; needed to standardize data; needed to generate graphical data queries; lacked adequate reporting tools
Benefits Gained:
Ready, accurate data presentation in graphical or tabular format; accurate identification of space usage (to compute service costing, service agreements, etc.); integration of operational, physical, financial criteria with organizational and occupant information
Future Plans:
Generation of security badges (electronic photo ID linked to system)
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