-Reynold Peters, Construction and Energy Savings Manager
As one of five Regional Health Authorities in the province, Southern Health delivers healthcare services to a number of communities located in Manitoba, Canada. The organization oversees a full range of programs, services and community health initiatives in a variety of facility types such as hospitals, clinics and personal care homes. Many of the facilities are centrally controlled by the organization while others, including several assisted living centers, are run independently. Covering an area of over 27,000 km with 29 rural municipalities, 4 cities, 12 towns and 5 villages, the health authority provides premium health services to over 187,000 residents. Southern Health is one of the fastest growing health authorities in the province. The increased strain placed on current systems identified the need for the authority to implement an automated system that could respond to growing healthcare demand and increase their service capacity.
In 2009, Southern Health, formerly known as South Eastman Health Authority, put together an implementation team charged with finding CMMS alternatives. One member of the team was Reynold Peters, the Construction and Energy Savings Manager. He reflected this process, “We had a paper driven system beforehand. There was a maintenance form that you fill out with a carbon copy on top. The top copy went to the maintenance department and the bottom was kept to document the request.” With limited resources to compile the numerous copies and requests received each day, they had difficulty in monitoring exactly how many work orders went out and what their corresponding statuses were.
Another challenge Southern Health faced was their decentralized management model. It was difficult for them to ensure quality control of maintenance activities over all facilities. “There is a Regional Maintenance Director but only three facilities report to that department. Every (other) facility was on their own,” described Reynold. As a health authority containing numerous facilities, the organization was looking to become more accountable and transparent to its upper management team.
For Southern Health, Hippo was an obvious choice when combing through various software vendors and their available features. “There are a number of different reasons (that we chose Hippo), but cost comes into a big part of it,” explained Reynold. Hippo’s multi-featured system always puts the client first with respect to both its capabilities and affordable price. With a flexible pricing structure, multiple pricing packages and unlimited user licenses, Hippo has successfully carved out a reputation as one of the most affordable CMMS solutions on the market today.
In 2009, Hippo looked and functioned differently than it does now, providing basic activities while still developing more advanced features. Hippo and Southern Health found themselves in similar growth stages and decided to use this similarity to each other’s advantage. “Being there at the same time as development helped because there is a continuity in working together,” explained Reynold, “because they are constantly developing, there was an absolute willingness to make something work.” By working with Southern Health, Hippo was able to better understand the unique demands of the healthcare industry and the client. Relying on this feedback loop and transparent communication, Hippo created software that was responsive to healthcare needs and flexible enough to cater to all industry clients.
Implementation was a balanced approach, using Hippo’s data integration service for the initial setup and then receiving additional training to learn how to import some equipment, parts and user permissions. “(Implementation) was great! You people had the whole thing up and running with all data application. I thought it would take weeks and it took two days max,” Reynold described. “For me when I see that, there is no way we could have had someone from another company come in and do it that quickly.” The developers even went as far as making onsite calls after work hours to troubleshoot any initial hurdles in person. “The accessibility to technical staff was beneficial and access to tech staff for questions and concerns was excellent.” Reynold exclaimed.
Five years later, Southern Health has realized efficiencies in a multitude of forms. Assigning work orders and setting unique user permissions were key efficiency drivers for the organization. “We now have full accountability of who issued the work order and know who to go to if there are any issues with documentation. It’s been a tremendous help for us.” Reynold explained.
Southern Health’s prior CMMS posed quality control challenges for the organization. By implementing Hippo, these challenges became less apparent as upper management was able to track work order statuses from each facility. Running reports allowed them to compare each facility, providing a benchmark to work towards and adding workflow transparency. Management is able to retain more control while still giving autonomy to those facilities who do not report directly to the Regional Maintenance Director.
Hippo’s preventive maintenance management took care of the new authority guidelines and aids in transparent and scheduled workflow. Reynold elaborates on this benefit by saying, “Because of the accountability, the efficiency comes naturally. We have noticed efficiencies in labor, like how many hours (maintenance techs) have spent on a task. No one was documenting that before. On the material side you now have a true document to mark costs.”
A key barrier to implementation of any software can come from internal staff members and their resistance to technological change. “One person fought me tooth and nail. He had an old school way of thinking in the beginning.” By noting employee benefits, Reynold was able to get buy-in from all staff members. “It is important to prove you’re productive in the hours you’re paid so I can go back (to upper management) and fight for increased salary, additional hours and better working conditions.” Reynold went on to say, “By the time (the staff member) retired he was getting double the salary and had better working conditions.” Not only was upper management satisfied, employees on all levels were able to enjoy its benefits.
Reynold is adamant that Hippo is a hospital facilities management system designed with the user in mind, working with each client to provide the best results possible. With Hippo, Southern Health’s maintenance team is represented as an integral part of the overall hospital operations and a key player in delivering superior patient care. “Because they (the maintenance team) are in the background, people don’t know what they do. (Hippo) helps to enforce the fact that they are a key part in what happens in the facility. It helps to be able to represent the maintenance department as part of a whole healthcare team in a facility.”
The pricing is extremely reasonable for the value it has brought to us and we highly recommend it.Diana, Sabine County Hospital
Utilizing the program has saved our facility time and money, not to mention how it has given us the ability to reorganize our entire maintenance program and change the way we do business.Lafe, Elm Crest Retirement Community
This is the second facility that I have managed that has used Hippo and I can only say that we would never live without it!Lisa, Menno Home
You will not find a better team to have on your side. Any questions I have ever had have been addressed within 12 hours or less.John, Cambridge Village of Apex
High-quality product. I have not experienced any downtime ever, and information for setting up the software is easily available.Sergio, Community Partnership of Southern AZ
This is a great web-based program for managing your facility. We have been through (3) different programs trying to find the perfect match for our organization and we finally hit it right with Hippo.Tim, Verdugo Hills Hospital
Hippo is a very user friendly system. Its simple to navigate through, provides the appropriate fields to store facility info, running reports is simple.Brad, Interlake Eastern Regional Health Authority
The ease of use is the best thing about Hippo. Requests are easily done and sent. Being able to prioritize and receive feedback is appreciated.Shirl, Community Nurse Health Association
As a maintenance manager with average computer skills I find this software great! I have experience using 2 others-Hippo makes sense.Chelsea, Diversicare