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  Health Care Institute News and Insights
  IFMA-HCI Leader Keynotes Germany Conference, Brings Back Observations and Divergent Views
  by Site Administrator | Jul 12, 2012
  Reported by Ron Kalich
IFMA HCI VP of Research

Recently I was honored to be the keynote speaker in front of 250 professionals at an international conference on “Next Generation Health Care Facilities” in Frankfurt, Germany. The conference was opened by local dignitaries then segued directly into my presentation on Healthcare Facility Operations Benchmarking. As with North America, in Germany and throughout Europe there is great interest in containing and reducing medical operating costs and a developing understanding on how facility operating costs contribute to those escalating costs.

The conference also included a panel discussion with government and business leaders on the direction of health care operations. An exciting observation for me was that the speakers in the main panel discussion were very passionate with divergent views expressed. This was quite valuable as many of the panel discussions I have observed at conferences in the U.S. have panels that are too mutually agreeable to stimulate and produce creative results. It also highlights the fact to me that we can be stronger as an industry working cooperatively despite differences in perspective—differences that certainly are perceived across country and continental boundaries.

I had the opportunity to present IFMA Health Care Institute’s benchmarking efforts that allows for online comparative data entry, flexibility and convertibility among units of measure. Much of the world operates using kilowatts and square meters instead of BTUs and square feet, but we have much to learn and compare with one another. While regulatory schemes and delivery methods in health care vary widely throughout the world, the basics of providing physical support services may be surprisingly similar. Benchmarks 2.0 is a foundational effort that will allow us to leverage a much wider international base of operating performance measures for comparison thus offering a greater span of opportunities for operational improvements.

Ron Kalich, National Facilities Director for Kaiser Permanente, is a co-chair of the Operations & Maintenance Benchmarks for Healthcare II project and serves on IFMA-HCI’s leadership team.