Demand-Driven Services Help Healthcare Systems Overcome Numerous Challenges

New Service Delivery Model Reduces Cost, Improves Services and Creates Competitive Advantage

Skilled labor shortages, low patient satisfaction scores and rising operating costs are inhibiting growth and eroding profits for many healthcare systems. Traditional approaches to facilities management and environmental services are no longer sustainable. In these challenging times, flexibility can be the answer. But how can you make the concept of flexibility tangible for your healthcare system?

Demand-driven services are a new approach that delivers environmental services based on actual demand as defined by occupancy levels and building usage. It can reduce risk and generate efficiencies in multiple areas of operation.

According to recent studies:

of people feel less safe in a hospital since the virus1
increase in standardized infection ratios of central-line–associated bloodstream infections in fourth quarter of 20202
of respondents more willing to invest in smart building solutions3
of global FM operations say remote monitoring is important now4

Challenges Facing
Healthcare Systems Today


Nurse Retention

29% of healthcare workers have considered leaving the industry because of COVID-19.5


Patient Experience

Telehealth use continued to climb compared to pre-pandemic times, with the number surging from 7% before COVID-19 to 32% in 2021.6



MRSA bacteremia rose by 33.8% in the fourth quarter of 2020.7


High Cost of Care

Average healthcare prices have increased year over year, with rates that were 15.0% higher in 2018 compared to 2014.8


Labor Shortage

By 2026, the number of physicians of retirement age will grow from the current 12% to 21%.


Employee Burnout

93% of healthcare workers have experienced stress and anxiety.10

Demand-Driven Services Deliver Paradigm-Shifting Benefits

Adopting a demand-driven approach to facilities services represents a paradigm shift for healthcare, with multiple labor and cost-saving benefits, including:

  • Spaces are only cleaned when dirty to save staff time
  • Equipment is serviced proactively to prevent disruptive breakdowns
  • Heating and cooling are provided based on occupancy, reducing utility costs
  • Temperature-dependent material and perishables are closely monitored to avoid spoilage
  • Spaces are monitored remotely and in real-time for optimal service delivery
  • Room pressurization alerts are sent when air pressure measurements are above or below set parameters 

Read on to discover how to bring these transformative benefits to your hospital or system.


Clean Based on Occupancy to Maximize Labor Productivity

Clean spaces based on actual usage for optimal labor allocation.

Problem: Redundant cleaning of low-use spaces is inefficient

Other than patient rooms, spaces in hospitals are typically cleaned based on a pre-existing schedule, whether they need it or not. This wastes precious man-hours that could be spent on tasks, such as increased cleaning frequencies in high-use areas to address neglected project work.

Solution: Occupancy sensors increase environmental services productivity

Occupancy sensors also provide critical insight to drive efficiency by avoiding redundant cleaning of space that receives little or no use. Though the importance of safety and patient experience is pushing expeditious cleaning regimens, hospital leaders are finding they must alter their service delivery based on where occupancy occurs. Sensors that identify space that hasn’t been used allows for effective reallocation of resources to areas in high demand. During the early part of the COVID pandemic, occupancy sensors helped many organizations increase their cleaning frequencies without adding additional labor. Its application still applies today as labor remains in short supply.


Check Pressurization Remotely

Get real-time alerts when air pressure measurements are sensed above or below the set pressure parameters. 


Problem: Increased time to check room pressure

Controlling the spread of airborne infectious diseases in healthcare facilities are a huge concern to patients, caregivers, and visitors when they are entering the hospital. With COVID-19, pressure differentials in hospital rooms have been brought into the spotlight. Environmental monitoring, especially when it comes to controlling pressure differentials in rooms such as in isolation rooms, operating suites, pandemic preparedness areas, and hospital pharmacies, is vital to a patient’s health and safety. These rooms prevent the spread of infectious contaminants and maintain sterile or restricted spaces and are also referred to as "protective environments" (positive pressure rooms) and "airborne infection isolation rooms" (negative pressure rooms) (Shajahan et al 2019Sundell et al 2011). Because of the differentials in pressurized rooms, hospitals are seeing an increase in work orders for manual checks needed each month for proper room pressure. 

Solution: Remote monitoring of pressurization in rooms

Air pressure in a room is influenced by whether air can enter and leave a room through gaps around windows, above and under doors, around light fixtures and electrical outlets, as well as through open doors and windows. With IoT sensor monitoring, real-time alerts are sent when air pressure measurements are sensed above or below the set pressure parameters. Automated monitoring allows staff to take immediate action when conditions fall outside the safe pressure.  Additionally, recording and tracking data remotely increases staff efficiency and reduces maintenance work order volume.


Improve Patient

Delight patients with real-time data and faster response times.

Problem: Customers express poor satisfaction with restrooms

Restroom cleanliness and availability of paper supplies has long been the top complaint of environmental services. Because men’s and women’s restrooms are often near one another, they are usually serviced at the same time. However, a study of one facility found that restroom users consume paper supplies at different rates. Restrooms with depleted resources generated more complaints and greater customer dissatisfaction. On the other hand, 20% of restrooms in a given building experienced no occupancy or traffic. Usage is a stronger indicator of when restrooms should be cleaned rather than proximity.

Solution: Sensors that capture occupancy and user feedback

The same sensors that influence space utilization and labor productivity can also improve customer satisfaction. Real-time data identify peak occupancy and usage times of restrooms. With this data, hospital leaders can adjust staff scheduling to assure restrooms are cleaned and fully stocked before peak usage. Post-peak cleaning and restocking assures space is ready for the next rush. Additionally, user feedback sensors allow tracking of user sentiment in real-time. When service needs do arise, requests can be shared immediately with service staff via test. The result is improved response times and higher patient satisfaction.


Monitor Assets Remotely to Optimize Limited Labor

Take proactive maintenance actions and overcome skilled labor supply shortage.

Problem: Reactively troubleshooting equipment is expensive

With fewer available skilled laborers and shrinking healthcare resources, the likelihood of deferring maintenance on equipment and systems, as well as neglecting preventive maintenance tasks, increase. Reacting to an unexpected equipment failure expends considerable labor hours and disrupts other important care in hospitals. Likewise, ignoring preventive maintenance potentially creates future exposure.

Solution: Remotely monitor equipment to optimize maintenance

Remote sensors allow maintenance teams to proactively monitor the status and operation of hospital equipment and facilities. Sensors create a "digital twin" of the hospital, allowing for virtual identification of equipment issues and providing a digital understanding of equipment conditions. For example, vibration analysis sensors inform building owners of equipment conditions, thereby avoiding unexpected failure and even enabling a predictive maintenance strategy. Remote monitoring allows better allocation of limited labor and minimizes risk of capital costs and program disruption.


Heat and Cool Based on Occupancy to Reduce Energy

Linking energy delivery to actual occupancy and space utilization can reduce utility spend.

Problem: Overspending on heating and cooling

Typically, heating and cooling are provided based on predefined schedules. But as many healthcare systems adopt new operating models, occupancy levels are likely to fluctuate greatly. As a result, this approach can waste considerable resources, utility spend and carbon footprint. Furthermore, indoor air quality, a key factor in controlling airborne transmission of pathogens, is often not a consideration in room temperature management.

Solution: Reduce energy and improve indoor air quality

Linking energy services to hospital occupancy can avoid the heating and cooling of unoccupied space. A demand-based energy delivery approach helps prevent this waste. In fact, a building that is only used 60% of that same time block could potentially reduce energy by 40%. Occupancy sensors can be partnered with operating schedules to reduce energy consumption while still maintaining comfort levels.

Additionally, sensors can allow for large-scale monitoring of indoor air quality, a key factor in combating airborne transmission of pathogens. When coupled with real-time operating data, systems can adjust the amount of outside air, ventilation, and/or filtration strategies to support a healthy environment.


Protect Temperature-Sensitive Materials

Cost-effectively maintain the life of valuable, temperature-sensitive specimens and cold foods.

Problem: The high cost of refrigeration

Most healthcare systems have a significant investment in perishables that require refrigeration. Hospitals require refrigeration for medications, vaccines, and lab specimens worth thousands of dollars. Furthermore, the average walk-in freezer in hospital cafeterias contain $5,000 to $7,000 in perishables. The risk of loss from a drop in refrigeration temperatures can be substantial.

Solution: Monitor temperatures for fluctuations

Remote sensors can monitor the temperature of cold rooms and freezers, in addition to providing real-time notification of temperature variations. Alerts can be sent to staff so that immediate corrective action can be taken before valuable content is lost.

How Remote IoT Sensors Enable Demand-Driven Services

The many applications of remote IoT sensors are transforming the facilities industry and enabling demand-driven service delivery. Almost every facet of facilities management can now be monitored remotely — from room occupancy to temperature levels. The advantages include:

  • Lowered operating costs
  • Improved labor productivity and efficiency
  • Improved service response times
  • Improved equipment lifecycles
  • Optimized air quality
  • Enhanced occupant experience and satisfaction
  • Increased operating flexibility

Demand-Driven Services and the Cost of Entry

Sensor technology and the IoT provide hospital leaders with information and insights in their hospital operations that were previously unavailable. Real-time information is fundamentally changing the way services are provided to both hospitals and occupants. Migrating to a demand-driven service model is easy and cost-effective. Sensor deployment is easily scaled based on desired need. Additionally, the information infrastructure doesn’t conflict with existing wired or Wi-Fi IT networks. Platforms are disruptively inexpensive yet provide valuable operating and performance intelligence for improved operation. As healthcare systems seek to evolve broader operating models, demand-driven services represent the future of environmental services.

AIWX™ Connect

The Aramark Intelligent Workplace Experience (AIWX™ Connect) is a data-driven intelligence program that improves facility management efficiencies as we reimagine the occupant experience within a new operating reality. AIWX™ Connect is powered by an IoT sensor network that runs independently of existing IT infrastructures, allowing for easy scalability. While relieving facilities operations of many of today’s challenges, it is extremely cost-effective — making it an ideal option for today’s evolving healthcare systems.

Learn more here: AIWX™ Connect.

Partner with Aramark

When thinking differently about facilities management or environmental services success and savings, partnering is an ideal option for many hospitals. The changes in both the facilities and healthcare industries support a new delivery model. As your partner in environmental services, Aramark can deliver operational success through its innovative demand-driven services program.

Learn more about gaining greater flexibility, agility and cost savings that hospitals need to survive in today's more challenging healthcare environment.


1. Sage Growth/Black Book Market Research
2. Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy
3. Honeywell
4. Honeywell
5. Washington Post
6. McKinsey
7. Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy
8. Health Cost Institute
9. Fierce Healthcare
10. Mental Health America