One hospitalized American dies every six minutes from nosocomial infections (including pneumonia) caused by airborne pathogens within hospital facilities. To lessen these deaths, the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO) enforces standards of care for air transfer and handling for patient rooms and controlled hospital areas such as operating rooms through its environment. In order to comply with JCAHO standards and remain accredited, hospitals and health care facilities must keep track of their preventive maintenance (PM) activities to show that appropriate steps are taken to maintain vital equipment. Saratoga Hospital (Saratoga Springs, NY) has relied on the Maintenance Manager (MM) line of programs from Eagle Technology, Inc. (Mequon, WI) to collect this information and to track and schedule preventive maintenance for more than five years.

Saratoga is a 143-bed regional care center providing general medical services to the residents of Saratoga Springs and the surrounding communities. Its services include obstetrics, emergency care, and a 72-bed nursing home facility. A new cardiac catheterization lab is currently being built. Original construction of Saratoga took place in 1960 with major additions in 1968 and later in 1980.The four-story facility is now approximately 250,000 sq ft with a staff of 1,200. Engineering specialist Jeff Casale’s 15-person engineering staff handles around 2,000 work orders per year.

Computer Scheduling

For four years, Casale’s staff handled its PM scheduling through Eagle Technology Inc.’s Maintenance Manager 2.0 CMMS program. MM 2.0 is a single-user, 16-bit application and was Saratoga’s first foray into CMMS software. As with many other facilities switching from manual tracking systems to CMMS programs, Saratoga saw a great improvement in record keeping after MM 2.0’s implementation. “It was a definite improvement over the old [manual] system,” said Casale. “Before we started using the program, I don’t think PMs were being done and tracked as effectively as they are now.”

Casale said the initial implementation of MM 2.0 was a long, but worthwhile process. “I could spend days listing things we track through Maintenance Manager,” Casale said. Everything from the hospital’s boilers, air-handling equipment, and fire alarm system to the nurse paging buttons in each room had to be inventoried. “It was a long process, but you have to realize you’re building a database for the future,” he added.

In addition to using MM 2.0 for his PM scheduling, Casale uses the Meditech program, an in-house ordering system, to handle demand maintenance orders (DMs). Meditech also handles hospital e-mail and other systems.

Y2K Test

In May of 1998, Eagle Technology, Inc. notified Saratoga that MM 2.0 was expected to have problems with the millennium change. Casale’s goals at this stage were to avoid millennium problems and do so with minimal need for retraining or implementing an entirely new computer system. He worked with Ted Pyle, Eagle’s national sales manager, and the hospital’s clinical engineering director to find a solution to accomplish these goals.

The Maintenance Manager line expanded in March of 1999 to include two next-generation programs: Maintenance Manager Expert and Maintenance Manager Enterprise. Both are 32-bit systems configurable for multiple users and with many improvements beyond the standard MM line. The new programs also featured Crystal Reports®, an integrated program from Seagate Software which allowed the creation of customized maintenance reports.

Report generation became a prominent attraction of the new MM programs. “We went with the [Maintenance Manager Expert] program largely because of the reports feature,” said Casale. Pyle recommended MM Expert because it was designed for Saratoga’s specific size environment. MM Expert was Y2K compatible and it met Casale’s other main goal. “We didn’t have to ‘reinvent the wheel’ with this program,” he said. “Between our experience with the first program and our computer knowledge in general we got through it very easily.” He added, “I think anyone with experience in any Windows-based environment could pretty much work through the program.”

Unfortunately, Saratoga did not enjoy a completely flawless transition between the two programs. There were data transfer issues between the old and new versions of Maintenance Manager, but Eagle’s technical support staff worked with Saratoga to solve the problem and the data was fully transferred before the millennium. The real test was on New Year’s Eve 1999, and MM Expert came through with no problems.

Improvements in Tracking Continue

Now that MM Expert is up and running, Casale reports the improvements he experienced with the MM 2.0 program have continued. “I’m the guy who gets called for DMs and they are definitely down,” he says, “I’ve seen a dramatic decrease in DMs in the past couple of years, and I directly attribute that to PMs being done through Eagle’s software.”

Casale continues to rely on the established, in-house Meditech system to handle DMs while using the MM Expert program to schedule PM tasks. He is also using the custom reports feature extensively to produce maintenance reports for internal use and to build his maintenance history.