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IWMS & ICM: Differences & Commonalities

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IWMS and ICM are acronyms floating around in the healthcare facility management industry. But what are they and what aren’t they? Since the pandemic, healthcare facilities have been tasked with more to do, more regulations, less staff, and fewer resources overall. The necessity for streamlining operations through software is quickly becoming the standard. With hospitals answering to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for a large percentage of their funding, maintaining regulatory compliance in an efficient, sustainable manner is paramount. A hospital not being up to code for its annual accreditation survey could mean a loss of funding or at least a loss of safety, time, and staff efficiency to correct the deficiencies. Stakeholders need to be aware of the differences between these two systems and what that could mean for their bottom line. 

Both IWMS and ICM are relatively new terms on the facility management scene with distinct differences. So which type of system (IWMS or ICM) is right for your healthcare facility? How are IWMS and ICM defined? And who are these systems/platforms intended to serve?

Definitions & Audience

IWMS (Integrated Workplace Management System) is defined as a software platform that supports organizations in managing the use of workplace resources, including the management of a company's real estate portfolio, infrastructure and facilities assets. Its audience is corporate occupiers, real estate services firms, facilities services providers, landlords, and managing agents. 1

ICM (Integrated Compliance Management) is defined as an operations platform designed specifically for regulatory facility compliance. Generally comprised of multiple solutions designed to work seamlessly within one platform. Its audience is any healthcare business or organization needing to manage multiple facets of regulatory compliance under one umbrella. More specifically, Healthcare Engineers, Healthcare Facility Directors, Director of Quality, EH&S, Director of Safety, Infection Control, Security Managers, and Technicians. 2

Core Functions

What makes up these systems or platforms? What are the core functions of a typical IWMS or ICM system? 

IWMS Core Functions:

  1. Real Estate Management - Purchasing, leasing, financial management, and collecting property assets. Examples: Strategic planning, transaction management, request for proposal (RFP) analysis, lease analysis, portfolio management, tax management, lease management, and lease accounting.
  2. Capital Project Management - Designing and developing new facilities and remodeling or enhancing existing facilities, including reconfiguration and expansion. Examples: Capital planning, design, funding, bidding, procurement, cost and resource management, project documentation and drawing management, scheduling, and critical path analysis.
  3. Facilities Management - Operation and optimized use of facilities. Examples: Strategic facilities planning, CAD and BIM integration, space management, site, and employee service management, resource scheduling, and move management.
  4. Maintenance Management - Corrective and preventive maintenance and operation of facilities and assets. Examples: Asset management, work requests, preventative maintenance, work order administration, warranty tracking, inventory management, vendor management, and facility condition assessment.
  5. Sustainability and Energy Management - Measurement and reduction of resource consumption and waste production within facilities. 1

ICM Core Functions 

An ICM comprehensively includes each regulatory requirement area needed for reports and survey readiness in order to ensure compliance. 

  1. Work Orders & Asset Management - Corrective, preventative, and planned work orders for facilities, including asset management. May also include schedule planning, inventory management, contract management, satisfaction surveys, life safety drawings, and lock-out/tag-out programs. 
  2. Rounding Management - Scheduling & process improvement of environment of care/physical environment tours. Scheduling and management of hospital-wide tracers, as well as scheduling and management of lab inspections, chemical inventory, and anti-ligature assessments. 
  3. Project Management - Automates and manages processes for interim life safety assessments, infection control risk assessments, and pre-construction risk assessments.  Manages budget details and expenses. Documents submittals, RFIs, and proposal details. Captures and automates change order approvals. 
  4. Permit Management - Management of permit requests and approval processes. 
  5. Vendor Management - Management of communication with vendors and contractors, including credential management. 
  6. Security Risk Management - Risk assessment and risk mitigation execution. Management of surveys, incident tracking, and questionnaires, as well as recommended security improvements.

Broadly speaking, IWMS is general property management focused, while ICM is regulatory compliance centric.  ICM is specific to healthcare facility regulatory compliance management. IWMS is for general property management outside the realm of the healthcare facility accreditation codes and standards. Although IWMS does touch on a couple of healthcare facility management areas, it does not keep up with the intricacies of accreditation standards to the degree a healthcare engineering team needs. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regulations are very differentiated & highly specialized outside the realm of OSHA and other non-healthcare-specific facility entities. IWMS is made for general large properties, i.e., universities, hotel chains, or large corporate offices. ICM is built for hospitals.  For example, Soleran Healthcare (an ICM platform) is built & designed by healthcare facility directors, surveyors & industry experts. It creates survey readiness and a safer physical environment that IWMS can not fully provide. You can learn more about Soleran Healthcare ICM HERE

What are IWMS & ICM commonalities?
  • Cloud-based
  • Integrated solutions
  • Real-time data & reporting
  • Similar implementation processes
  • Lower facility operating costs
  • Greater facility efficiencies & transparency
  • Automate processes
  • Proactive, not reactive
What about the implementation of an IWMS or ICM system/platform? 

Both IWMS & ICM can be implemented in any order—or all together as a single, comprehensive implementation. A phased approach for implementing IWMS or ICM sequentially is generally advised. 

If you are looking for a corporate-wide reboot for your general property management, IWMS is a great solution. However, if you are looking for a single hospital or a healthcare system-wide regulatory compliance management system, then an ICM is your best bet. Integrated Compliance Management (ICM) is the only one specialized for healthcare and ensures your compliance funding needs are met. 

Footnotes

  1. Integrated workplace management system. (2022, August 8). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated_workplace_management_system
  1. Integrated Compliance Management. (2022, September 13). Soleran. https://www.soleran.com/solutions/integrated-compliance-management

Both IWMS and ICM are relatively new terms on the facility management scene with distinct differences. So which type of system (IWMS or ICM) is right for your healthcare facility?

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