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EDDY DE COSTER – HEAD OF THE TECHNICAL FACILITIES DEPARTMENT, UZ LEUVEN UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL, BELGIUM RISK MANAGEMENT


A risk management culture that works


Eddy De Coster provides an insight into managing risk to ensure a safe environment for hospital patients and staff, at all times. The UZ Leuven university hospital is the first in Belgium to achieve Joint Commission International accreditation, which recognises best practice in quality and patient safety.


UZ Leuven is the largest university hospital in Belgium with 1,500 hospital beds and a revenue of US$1200 million. The hospital is part of KULeuven, the Catholic university of Leuven, in the Dutch speaking part of Belgium in Western Europe. The technical facilities department is staffed with 250 employees and has an average turnover of $36 million for maintenance costs and more than $60 million for construction development and renovation, per year. In 2003, the department initiated a


plan to reduce the hospital campus from four sites to two, which included the main plant, the health science campus Gasthuisberg, and the rehabilitation plant in Pellenberg. The aim was to reduce the duration of


hospital stay, but also to deploy more ambulatory care. Having built a network of hospitals in Belgium, working together with UZ Leuven, high acuity patients with serious medical issues now come to Leuven, while patients with less severe care requirements remain in the local hospitals. This has increased the complexity of patient care and the technical requirements to support patients’ needs. The plan also demanded full integration of the research and development and educational sections of


An aerial view of UZ Leuven hospital.


the medical faculty on the Gasthuisberg campus. It took around four years to start the


construction of the first building and the plans included a distinct area for education, research and development, hospital and ambulatory care. We now have more than 300,000 m2


buildings and around 200,000 m2 education and research buildings.


of hospital of


Eddy De Coster


Since 2012, Eddy De Coster has been the president of Zorg.tech Belgium (former VTDV ) (The Association for Technical Services in Health Care Institutions) with almost 350 members employed in diverse areas of healthcare including hospitals, institutions for care of the elderly, nursing homes and mental health care. Eddy De Coster joined UZ Leuven in 1986, where he led new projects and new housing estate. He went on to become the head of technical services – responsible for the management, maintenance and renewal of the buildings, infrastructure and equipment for the


university hospitals, and overseeing a department of more than 200 employees – including more than 25 engineers. He initially


studied Electro-mechanical Engineering at the University of Ghent, in 1978, and went on to complete a post-graduate qualification in


Management of Business Administration at KUL (University Leuven) in 1982. 74


Patient safety At UZ Leuven, we are proud to be the first JCI (Joint Commission International) accredited hospital in Belgium (awarded since 2010 with the last survey undertaken in 2016.) The goal of the JCI accreditation scheme is to identify, measure and give recognition to best practice in quality and patient safety. For the technical services the most important issues are safety and security of energy, medical equipment, clean air, fire safety and infection prevention. So, what do we do at UZ Leuven to


reduce the safety risks of technical installations and technical activities? Firstly, the people working in and for the technical department are the most important link in the chain when ensuring a safe environment. Therefore, we have trained our technical personnel using a ten-point programme, comprising the following:


IFHE DIGEST 2020


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