Fault Detection and Diagnostics in Healthcare Facilities: Increasing Reliability for Optimal Patient Outcomes

Published on 23 May, 2023read time 8 mins
Two doctors talking in a Healthcare Facility

Healthcare facilities management and maintenance plays a vital role in supporting the delivery of patient treatment by medical staff and ensuring the overall success of a hospital. 

It includes a wide range of responsibilities such as equipment upkeep, building repairs and maintenance, air quality and temperature optimization, and much more. Healthcare facility managers also need to take charge of operations and maintenance costs, energy consumption, legal compliances - and most importantly - occupant comfort and well-being. 

Maintaining a variety of assets in the most efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable manner is quite challenging in a hospital’s fast-paced work environment. That is why techniques like Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD) exist to help hospital maintenance teams increase the reliability, availability, and performance of their assets. Fault Detection and Diagnostics is a powerful tool that identifies and diagnoses issues within assets or building systems before they lead to more significant problems.

If you’re a healthcare facilities manager, you know the importance of keeping the building’s HVAC, lighting, and other mission-critical systems functioning in top-notch condition round the clock. Any faulty equipment or infrastructure can lead to patient safety issues, unnecessary energy and maintenance costs, and reduced staff productivity. 

In this article, we'll explore the application of FDD in facilities, its benefits, and how to choose the right FDD solution for your needs. 

Understanding Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD)

Fault Detection & Diagnostics is a set of techniques used to identify and diagnose problems with building systems. It works by analyzing data from various building systems, such as HVAC, lighting, and security systems, to detect anomalies that may indicate a problem. It uses machine learning algorithms to learn from historical data, and then compares real-time data to this historical data to identify issues. Once an issue is detected, FDD notifies and provides diagnostic information to building managers to pinpoint the root cause of the problem. Some advanced FDD solutions go a step further and provide recommendations on how to solve the problem. 

Fault Detection and Diagnostics Helps Healthcare Facilities Address Unique Challenges

Healthcare facilities face a range of challenges related to facility management and the operations and maintenance of assets. FDD technology can assist facility managers in overcoming these challenges. These include:

Asset Maintenance

Healthcare facilities have complex systems and assets that require timely maintenance and optimization to function properly. It can be a challenge to keep up with these maintenance needs of the facility, especially when there are limited resources, competing priorities, and patient wellbeing at stake. The right FDD solution can help you move from a reactive to proactive maintenance regime and ensure the facility’s assets are working in optimal condition. 

Energy Management

Healthcare facilities consume a significant amount of energy, which can result in high energy bills. Managing energy consumption and finding ways to reduce energy usage can help facilities save money and reduce their carbon footprint.

Occupant Wellbeing

Healthcare facilities are responsible for the safety and security of patients, staff, and visitors. Ensuring that the facility is secure and that safety protocols are in place can be a challenging task.


Healthcare facilities need to comply with a range of regulations related to facility management, such as building codes, health standards, and environmental regulations. Staying up-to-date with these regulations can be a challenge. An FDD system can help teams maintain ideal requirements for healthcare facilities. 

How Fault Detection and Diagnostics Helps Increase Reliability and Efficiency of Healthcare Operations

Typically, around 5% to 30% of the energy consumed in a building gets wasted because of equipment failure or operational faults. Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD) provides proven solutions that help solve these issues and at the same time, increase comfort, reduce energy, and ultimately save time and money. 

Let’s look at some of the benefits of deploying a fault detection and diagnostics software in a healthcare facility. 

Improved Patient Safety

FDD can identify issues with building systems that may pose a risk to patient safety. For example, if an HVAC system is not providing sufficient ventilation, it can lead to the spread of airborne infections. By identifying such issues early, FDD can help healthcare facilities take corrective action before they become a risk to patients.

Reduced Energy & Maintenance Costs

FDD can identify energy wastage in building systems, such as HVAC and lighting. By identifying and correcting these issues, healthcare facilities can save on energy costs, while also reducing their carbon footprint. FDD can also notify maintenance teams to examine issues with an asset’s performance 

Improved Staff Productivity

FDD can help identify issues with building systems that may affect staff productivity. For example, if the lighting in a particular area is inadequate, it can lead to eye strain and fatigue among staff. By identifying such issues early, FDD can help healthcare facilities take corrective action to improve staff productivity.

Increased Efficiency

A malfunctioning piece of equipment can lead to inefficiencies and wasted resources. FDD technology helps identify and resolve issues quickly, minimizing downtime and reducing waste.

How Fault Detection and Diagnostics Works in Healthcare Facilities

One example of FDD in action is the use of temperature sensors in HVAC systems. By monitoring the temperature in different parts of the building, FDD can identify areas where the temperature is outside the normal range. This may indicate a problem with the HVAC system, such as a malfunctioning sensor or a clogged air filter. By identifying such issues early, FDD can help healthcare facilities take corrective action before they become more significant problems.

Here are the steps involved in an FDD system:

Data Collection

Sensors are installed in the systems and equipment being monitored. These sensors collect data on the performance of the systems and equipment.

Data Analysis

The data collected by the sensors is analyzed using algorithms and models to detect faults and diagnose issues.

Fault Detection

Once a fault is detected, the FDD system alerts the appropriate personnel, such as maintenance staff or facility managers.


The FDD system provides a diagnosis of the fault, including the root cause and recommended solutions.

Repair and Maintenance

Based on the diagnosis provided by the FDD system, repairs and maintenance can be carried out to correct the fault.

Challenges in Implementing FDD for Healthcare Facilities

Implementing Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD) in healthcare facilities can be challenging. One of the main challenges is the large amount of data generated by building systems, which can be difficult to manage and analyze. Another challenge is the need for specialized expertise in data analysis and machine learning.

To overcome these challenges, healthcare facilities can work with FDD software providers and experts to implement and manage FDD systems. Additionally, they can invest in training staff on the use of FDD systems, to ensure they are used effectively.

Choosing the Right FDD Solution for Your Facility

We’ve established that Fault Detection and Disgnostics technology can help you reduce maintenance costs, and improve the performance, reliability, and availability of your assets. 

Now it boils down to choosing the right one for your needs - one that matches your workflows, assets, and maintenance objectives. 

Xempla brings a holistic approach to asset maintenance and management and with all the tools and features built into the software, it makes FDD is faster, scalable, and much more effective. While most FDD solutions take an AI-based or logic-based approach, with Xempla, you get the best of both worlds plus the human aspect of it, where technology is put to work for O&M teams - and not the other way around.

Below are some must-have characteristics you should look for in an FDD solution for your healthcare facility management and maintenance needs: 

Simple, hassle-free set up

Set up time and requirements are one of the most important considerations for maintenance teams looking for a potent FDD solution.

Xempla enables hassle-free set up and help you kickstart your asset performance and sustainability initiatives simply by selecting workflows from an in-built library covering the most popular use cases.

You can also customize workflows to suit your unique facility and equipment using Xempla’s no-code workflow builder.

Fast-tracks problem solving

Another important consideration, especially for a healthcare facility, is the software’s ability to pinpoint anomalies in asset performance with extreme precision, generate an alert instantly, and provide actionable diagnosis to O&M teams. 

Xempla’s advanced FDD engine prompts solutions along with the root cause, like checking the strainers on a site where they usually get choked. You can easily automate what gets converted into a work order based on the priority level and first tend to issues that require immediate attention.

Maximizes value from your existing building systems

Next, the FDD solution should be capable of easy integration with your existing CMMS, CAFM, or building management system, saving users configuration time and ensuring there is no disruption for technicians.

With Xempla’s FDD capabilities help your team move from a ‘break-fix’ cycle to a proactive operations and maintenance regime with speedy work order generation to fast track fault resolution and maximize the value from your building systems.

Scalable across assets, facilities, and portfolio

This is perhaps the most important factor for enterprise FDD software. Prioritizing it from the start leads to lower maintenance costs, better user experience, and higher agility.

Right from receiving an alert to the part where your engineers and technicians collaborate to figure out the problem and fix the asset, Xempla bakes that knowledge into algorithms to create a learning loop. So next time something similar happens, you know exactly what went wrong and how to deal with it.

What’s even better is that you can replicate this learning loop and share custom workflows for other assets and facilities across your portfolio, so you can add new sites as you go, without ever having to start from scratch.

Looking for a reliable FDD solution for your healthcare facility? 

See how Xempla helped this leading healthcare facility in the UK achieved 20+ proactive interventions to deliver uninterrupted patient treatment

Ready to get started? Book a free tour of Xempla today!