Whitepaper: 11.02.2012

Deciphering the Data

Deciphering the Data: Understanding the Role of Healthcare Metrics

In the architecture, engineering and construction industries, it’s no secret that we have been amassing data. So, what are you getting out of your data?

Data, data, data. Everywhere you look these days, it is all about data. In fact, a recent International Data Corporation study estimates that 2.7 zettabytes (or 2.7 billion gigabytes) of information will be created in 2012. By 2015 that number is expected to nearly triple to 7.9 zettabytes. So what are we doing with all of this data?

In the architecture, engineering and construction industries, it’s no secret that we have been amassing data – from BIM models and safety statistics to quality testing and financial performance. For many construction firms, one longtime focus has been gathering historical cost data from completed projects. Using this data, preconstruction teams can help owners better define the scope of their projects given their allotted budgets. While McCarthy has provided this service to clients for many years, we recently took it to the next level with the creation of McCarthy’s Healthcare Metrics (MHM).

Introduction to McCarthy’s Healthcare Metrics
Using historical cost information, along with schedule, square footage and healthcare-specific data, MHM assists owners and their teams in validating assumptions and identifies space/cost efficiency opportunities. Ultimately, effective use of this tool makes a project leaner, more efficient and more effective.

To construct this knowledge bank, our team sifted through our expansive healthcare experience to identify ideal projects, eventually focusing on significant facilities under construction in the last 10 years. Currently McCarthy’s Healthcare Metrics database houses nearly 40 projects of varying types, each with over 90 data points.

Extracting information from a variety of project-specific documents, MHM brings two additional levels of data – beyond the typical historical cost data – into focus as the owner, design team and builder navigate through a labyrinth of options. The first level of information looks at building design efficiencies including the use of steel, concrete, exterior surfaces, air handler capacity, and partition, elevator and electrical power densities. The second level dives into more healthcare-specific data points that can help shape a project during the programming phase. Examples include:

  • Square footage analysis (per bed, patient room and window area)
  • Bed count
  • Beds per nurse station module
  • Number of med/gas outlets per typical patient room
  • Number of electrical power outlets per typical patient room headwall
  • Number of data/com outlets per typical patient room headwall
  • % of patient rooms with double-handed services
  • Same-handed or opposite-handed rooms
  • % of bariatric rooms
  • Number of airborne infection isolation patient rooms
  • Number of protective environment patient rooms
  • Number of ICUs
  • Number of surgery/operating rooms
  • Number of emergency department trauma rooms
  • Number of general or DR radiology suites
  • Number of CT suites
  • Number of MRI suites

The Process
McCarthy’s Healthcare Metrics is most beneficial when used early to influence the design process. If engaged later, the system serves as a report card for the design team’s planning process – a tool to check quantities specified and begin value engineering.

Using this tool, the McCarthy team extracts the metrics needed on comparable projects, calculates averages for each metric, and compares it to the proposed project. For example, the chart above shows data pulled from three comparable projects for several metrics, mostly related to systems outlets. In this example, if the proposed project’s current design calls for six electrical power outlets in the patient room headwalls, then we have data that supports eliminating one or two of these outlets.

Healthcare Metrics at Joplin
The Mercy Joplin Replacement Hospital project is one of the most significant recent examples where McCarthy has successfully used MHM. Almost immediately after the May 2011 tornado struck the Joplin, Mo., community, Mercy engaged McCarthy to be the builder for the replacement hospital. Being on board early, McCarthy used MHM to help establish the schedule and budget by looking at comparable projects. Working with Mercy and the design team, MHM’s various schedule metrics were used to baseline the schedule created. Several efficiency metrics, such as structural steel, exterior wall and HVAC, were also analyzed to better define the budget. Nearly a year-and-a-half since McCarthy first became involved, the project still continues to trend toward the schedule, building size and costs initially established based on data from Healthcare Metrics.

“McCarthy’s Healthcare Metrics was instrumental in getting our replacement project off on the right foot,” mentioned Terry Bader, vice president of design & construction for Mercy. “Having access to this expansive collection of healthcare project data gave us confidence in the programmatic data we received from our design team and the direction we were heading.”

The Future of Data
As new projects get underway, McCarthy continues to add them to the MHM database, expanding its depth. We are evaluating other data points that can be tracked and applied, such as utility data (megawatts or gallons of water used by the new facility), equipment data, and lifecycle data. By incorporating these holistic project metrics, we can assist clients in understanding the complete implications of their proposed projects, giving them greater confidence to forge ahead.

Whether it’s cost per square foot, exterior wall efficiency, or number of protective environment rooms, the fact remains that the amount and types of data in our industry will only continue to grow. The question remains the same – what are you getting out of your data?

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