Construction and project management in a healthcare environment is incredibly complex. Outside of keeping patients safe which is priority number one, schedule is paramount. However, even with the urgency in meeting the demand for new and updated facilities, healthcare construction has not been immune to the burdens faced by the construction industry at large in 2022.
The labor shortage, supply chain issues, and near record high construction costs, combined with the healthcare industry’s persistent challenge in meeting a revolving door of regulations, have introduced risk to already aggressive project timelines. Yet, staying ahead of the curve is Carle Health. Despite experiencing these challenges firsthand, Carle Health’s Supervisor of Project Support Alisha Elliott shared in a recent webinar how Procore helps the organization gain efficiencies and scale, despite the uncertainty of an ever-evolving landscape.
No stranger to expansion, Carle Health has been growing across Illinois with projects including, new inpatient facilities, new beds, labs, medical offices, retail space, and even a roof garden. However, like many organizations, they found their efficiency waning as they scaled, due in large part to their inability to access the accumulated knowledge and project data from years’ worth of construction. Information from past projects would get lost in email chains or spreadsheets or, in one instance, remain with a project manager who was no longer with the organization. The only way to access that information “was with our memories or past people’s experiences,” recalled Elliott.
Of course, anyone in the healthcare industry, or in project management generally, can likely sympathize and relate. Losing construction project information is routine when there is no central platform. It also makes processes that should be straightforward, like invoicing, more difficult than they need to be.
Complete data ownerships helps Carle Health improve across projects
Ultimately, Carle Health chose Procore for its ability to standardize processes, integrate with their ERP, and get everyone working within the same intuitive, integrated system.
“With Procore, everything is tracked and is in there, and we own the data,” Elliott said. “Previously, even if a GC we hired used Procore, we didn’t have that information. Now as an owner, we have all of that at our fingertips: What did we do on that last lab project that we should do again for this new lab project? It’s right there. That’s been a huge time saver, and also helps us know how to standardize in the right way going forward.”
Integrating all these pieces within one platform means there’s no data import process, no reconciliation, and no haggling over custody of any given procedure or document. All the information produced during a job is instantly searchable, and access can quickly be managed as people come and go from the team.
Carle Health reduces risk and gains efficiencies
While preparing for inspections and audits can take up massive amounts of time, Carle Health was able to streamline the process by tagging all compliance-related correspondence and documents so that they are easily accessible at a moment’s notice, easing any alarm or delay associated with staying compliant.
Another layer of complexity for healthcare organizations is infection control. Regardless of what construction is happening within the facility, patient care comes first. This is why it’s so important from the start to ensure you’re choosing the right vendors. A prequalification process like that found in Procore’s platform can save an organization time and reduce risk by having the right team in place.
“We have to make sure that those lives are protected from our construction site,” said Elliott. “Having the ability to check the contractors in new cities that we might need to work with and ask ‘What past experiences have you had? Have you worked in healthcare? Do you know what an ICRA is?’ Prequalification has been a huge help in weeding out vendors that are not the right fit to work in an infection controlled environment.”
Streamlining painful processes
Processes that worked for a couple dozen people and a handful of projects per year quickly lose coherence as an organization grows. As a project stretches out over multiple months, teams, and tools, it can be difficult to be sure that all the information you need is there at any given time. When the invoice comes, who does it go to? In what format? Who do they forward it to? How is it tracked and verified, and when is it reflected in budgets and cash flow?
“Our previous invoice process was terrible,” Elliott admitted. “Vendors sent multiple copies of invoices to multiple people; multiple spreadsheets tracked intermittently updated cost codes; and, there was confusion over which department owned which part of what project. Now I can set up a workflow and have the invoice go to the exact person that needs to approve it. It’s just so seamless. Workflows for all of Procore’s financial tools have been outstanding.”
By setting up a workflow at the start of a given project and letting the platform ingest and track all activity accordingly, the confusion is avoided.
“Previously we had, I don’t know, eight different excel spreadsheets that had different cost codes on it. Now we all are required to use the same one. Our contractors know which line item is theirs in the budget, without needing access to the entire budget,” said Elliott.
How a collaborative platform pays for itself
The prospect of moving to a new platform can be daunting, in large part because of the inertia held by legacy systems. However, it’s important to consider the value and ROI, whether that’s through increased efficiencies and time savings or knowing your real-time financial position to stay on budget.
Time savings alone add up very fast, and the less tangible but very important concept of “ease of use” means teams can get up to speed and in the system quickly, which is a critical component of successful implementation. In fact, contractor familiarity with Procore was another reason Carle Health chose Procore in the first place. A shallow learning curve meant a quicker path toward a single source of truth for the whole organization and everyone involved.
“Contractors are already familiar with Procore, and so it’s intuitive, and that’s been extremely helpful as we grow and increase our bed count,” she said. “Each module has the same interface, so it’s pretty easy to pick up.”
Executing healthcare construction projects with ease
Healthcare organizations strive to deliver state-of-the art facilities as efficiently and safely as possible. With Procore, Carle Health is better equipped to execute on this vision. They can track and manage documentation, minimize costs and schedule delays, and communicate across teams in a single unified platform.
“We’ve done a complete 180 with Procore,” said Elliott. “The one source of truth has helped all of us immensely. Everyone can view the same data across the board – no matter if they’re the owner, sub, GC or vendor. It’s been transformative.”
To learn more about Elliott and Carle Health’s experience making the change, you can watch their webinar here.
If, like many organizations, you’re starting to think about digitizing, standardizing, and organizing every facet of your capital project delivery, you’ll likely find value in Construction Management for Public Agencies: A Buyer’s Guide, which lays out best practices for finding the right solution for your organization.