Data Cuts Costs in Healthcare Facilities Management

The UK experienced unprecedented growth in healthcare spending over 2020 and 2021 following the coronavirus pandemic, with healthcare spending 26.8% higher in nominal terms (or 13.5% higher in real terms)

  • Portrait of Melanie Robinson

    Dr Melanie Robinson


  • November 23, 2023

Asian Indian Family, Doctor and Nurse in Hospital Corridor

The Office for National Statistics, earlier this year shared that spending on healthcare in the UK in 2022 reached approximately £283 billion.

Healthcare organisations are also dealing with an ageing estate and significant backlog maintenance. The most recent Estates Returns Information Collection (ERIC) data shows the NHS requires an estimated £10.2 billion investment to eradicate backlog, almost matching the total costs of running the entire estate.
However, to efficiently run our estates, we need good quality, searchable information about our built environment.

Yet, many owners of healthcare estates still wrangle with information stored in hard copies, with operation and maintenance manuals still being handed over in ring binders. Moreover, regardless of how data is handed over, as much as 90% of the data generated in the engineering and construction industry is unstructured and 96% is unused entirely.

Whilst the value of data in the wider healthcare setting has been reinvigorated through the government’s strategy “Data Saves Lives: Reshaping Health and Social Care with Data”, this does not provide any insight into how data can be better utilised for use within the built environment.

Within any single capital project, thousands of deliverables are produced, which need to be managed and, more critically, maintained throughout the hospital’s full lifecycle.

With this scale of unstructured information production, there is a significant amount of waste, particularly when we start attributing a carbon cost to the production, storage and exchange of information. For example, according to the Carbon Literacy Project, an email that takes 10 mins to read and three minutes to read accounts for as much as 17g CO2e!


One way to better utilise our asset information is by deploying an integrated solution that will improve decision making, in turn optimising both asset maintenance operations and patient care through the use of digital data to better understand our built environment. An integrated platform can link together different enterprise systems and provide a single view of the truth, making more efficient use of data.

This will unlock the value in soft and hard (FM) activities, helping operators gain a deeper understanding of their assets, how they are performing, and how this is impacting patients’ health and welfare. It is essential the healthcare industry invests in digital processes, which can for example produce significant savings surrounding work orders and reducing the time wasted searching for information.

About the authors

Portrait of Melanie Robinson

Melanie Robinson


Melanie specialises in digital information management and leads Okana’s strategic advisory service. Driven by the need for cultural change throughout the built environment, she works closely with clients to unlock operational efficiencies within their organisation and achieve transformative outcomes across their estate. Melanie is an award winning thought leader and regional lead for Women in Building Information Management (BIM).

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