I read with interest the outsourcing/purchasing survey feature in the Sept. 2 issue ("An inside job?"). While the topic and general focus certainly are timely in the current environment, I believe the story could be enhanced with discussion on real estate and facilities management. These service areas ranked high among survey respondents in terms of current programs and future plans. This is for good reason: Real estate typically represents 40% of a hospital's/system's balance sheet and represents its third-largest expense. Given this magnitude, real estate and facilities management initiatives have the ability to create considerable impact in reducing costs while enhancing and safeguarding the overall environment of care. As the article aptly noted, hospitals/systems are keenly focused on reducing spending. Now more than ever it is imperative that healthcare systems look beyond old standards to new programs and initiatives as a means to reduce expenses and drive profitability. Increasingly, sophisticated systems are turning to their real estate and related functions as a source of opportunity to engage outside service providers, allowing them to focus on patient care. Focused attention on real estate holdings can lead to several performance advantages, including: centralizing real estate and related facilities operations; applying widely accepted best practices from the corporate sector; and creating greater efficiencies and cost savings from portfolios of owned and leased space. Real estate should be part of a comprehensive strategy to keep systems competitive while transforming the healthcare experience.
Peter BulgarelliExecutive managing directorJones Lang LaSalle, Healthcare SolutionsChicago