No one likes a dirty, unkempt office but if you run a medical practice, less than optimal cleaning might be making people sick. When you operate a medical facility, you deal with both sick people who may transmit disease to others and people who are getting well, recovering and may be more susceptible to disease causing germs. It is for these reasons that very good health care cleaning is especially important to stem the spread of disease and insure your staff has the best possible start to provide the highest quality care to patients.
Keeping your health care offices or medical facility clean, orderly and running smoothly can be challenging given budget constraints. And there are so many choices when it comes to commercial cleaning companies. How do you as a Facilities Manager cut through the sales pitches, stay on budget and find a commercial cleaning company capable of delivering solid, consistent service to your facility? Armed with the right knowledge, you can find a great medical cleaning company at a price that you can live with.
Don’t Let Shoddy Medical Cleaning Be Your Dirty Little Secret
Don’t think the word will get out that your medical center is less than clean? Think again. People have high expectations of clean surroundings when getting medical care of any kind. We all know that a happy customer tells a few people and an unhappy customer tells everyone. In today’s healthcare climate, people are more cognizant and concerned about the spread of disease than ever. If your facilities look dirty or run down, this directly impacts the level of care patients perceive getting. Dusty corners, bathrooms with mystery spills, unstocked supplies and full trash cans can send the message that your facilities and its health care providers may not be fully committed to patient health and safety. More so than nearly any other business, a bad reputation or perception of uncleanliness can spell DOA for your medical facility.
The Right Healthcare Cleaning Stops the Spread of Disease
As important as your reputation is, the healthy and safety of your patients and staff is every bit as critical. Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs) are on the rise and if your medical cleaning company isn’t cleaning right, infection rates could go through the roof. Any commercial medical cleaning company must have a real understanding of the critical elements of health care cleaning. Does your existing or prospective cleaning company up to date on the latest HIPPA compliance? Do they have a full understanding of blood borne pathogens? Do they have the training to effectively use cleaning chemicals to not just make things look clean but also effectively sanitize your spaces? Do they understand the importance of thoroughly cleaning hot spots, touch points and all the oft-touched objects and surfaces that can quickly spread germs if unattended to? If your current commercial cleaning company does not have both the knowledge of the specific needs of medical office cleaning and the systems in place to thoroughly train all of the people that will service your facilities, you are not going to get the cleaning and maintenance you need.
The Many Benefits of a Clean Medical Center
A clean hospital, clinic, surgical center or offices sends patients, prospective patients and would be clinicians, doctors and health care providers the right message about your commitment to health and safety. Clean examination rooms, restrooms and lobbies inspire trust. Most patients when presented with less than clean facilities are going to be uneasy about that foot surgery, elective procedure or new pediatrician. Patients have choices and if your facilities are less than clean, they will likely opt to go somewhere else. On the other hand, when a patient has had a positive experience in a properly maintained and clean environment, their overall experience is positive and they are more likely to be satisfied.
Finding the Right Commercial Cleaning Company
It may not be easy but it is certainly worth it. As a facilities manager for a medical group, keeping your building clean and in good order is a priority. So how can you stack the deck in your favor and find a health care cleaning company willing and able to keep your medical offices in great shape?
To get the best outcome, a commercial cleaning company should:
- Be proactive not reactive- If your medical cleaning contractor is works proactively, it can take some of the weight off of your shoulders and allow you to focus on other things. If, on the other hand, your cleaning company is nearly always reactive, it can create more work and management time than might be worth the effort.
- Be big Enough to Handle a Big Job, Small Enough to Care- Optimally, you need a healthcare cleaning company large enough to offer all of the services you and your health care facilities require but small enough to be nimble and responsive to your needs as the change and shift.
- Passionate about the work they do- Imagine a doctor who abhorred the human body, a nurse that disliked most people or a pediatrician that disliked kids. Though cleaning may seem rote or routine to some of us, the people that do their jobs the best have a sense of ownership and passion about the work they do. The best cleaning services will embody this attitude from the top down.
- Have the systems in place to guarantee consistent, responsive service- Medical cleaning is simply too complex to wing it. No where is it easier to predict the failure of medical cleaning than to witness a lack of systems and procedures to insure the work is done well.
- Understand that their people will make or break their organization- Health care cleaning is a service delivery business and at its foundation are its people. The right cleaning company will invest a great deal of resources into attracting, recruiting, qualifying, vetting, training and managing the very best people.
- Have transparent pricing- Clear, upfront pricing allows you to both compare janitorial quotes and hold your cleaning company accountable to promised work. Without transparent pricing, it can be all too easy to slip into the game of upcharges, extras and unfinished work.
- Understand pertinent compliance and regulatory issues- Any solid janitorial service provider must be fully complaint and understand all the specific requirements and regulations that go hand in hand with cleaning a medical facility like OSHA, blood borne pathogens, HIPPA and more.
- Never hire illegally- Again, your reputation is too critical to partner with a cleaning company willing to take drastic and dangerous shortcuts. The bets cleaning companies never hire undocumented workers or illegally classify employees as sub contractors to bypass taxes and legal necessities of true employees.
So how do you as a medical Facilities Manager figure out how to check off all these must-haves? How do you now who is passionate and who isn’t? How can you make sure a prospective company understands the legal risks of illegal hiring and noncompliance? How do you know who attracts really good people? Most of these factors come down to industry best practices. There are good ways to do things and there are the best ways to do things. The companies that will deliver results to your facility are, much like the bet clinicians, following the well understood best practices to deliver top rate outcomes. You can certainly arm yourself with the information above to ask your questions and discern the best fit for your facility. You can also utilize professional certification to narrow your choices to the best of the best.
The ISSA is a cleaning industry association that offers a CIMS, or Certified Industry Management Standard, that medical cleaning companies can work toward. CIMS and CIMS-GB certification insures a prospective cleaning company is equipped to deliver quality, comprehensive, responsive service. Achieving the CIMS certification speaks volumes about a medical cleaning company’s commitment to their customers. Because of the challenges in securing CIMS, only companies that are truly committed to best practices achieve it. CIMS is more than just an A+ on a cleaning company’s report card, it’s a way for you to choose a cleaning service provider with an increased level of confidence.