In healthcare today, providing better care for patients increasingly means integrating complex technologies. As a healthcare leader planning a new or expanded facility, how can you construct and navigate a planning and decision-making process with such significant long-term implications? Start by asking the right questions.
To determine the required physical plant space for these innovative facilities, first define your current needs.
- What would you like to gain or learn when using this type of equipment?
- Do you want to introduce more than two modalities within a space?
- How important will it be to plan for future upgrades?
Answers to these questions will have a significant impact on structural, mechanical, and electrical requirements.
Second, consider what opportunities the technology may offer for clinical integration. An operating room might be adjoined to an interventional lab that in the absence of the imaging capability might be located elsewhere in the hospital. Will the operating room house more than one technology? Remember to pay attention to present and future demands of the different technologies, which are evolving at different rates.
Study how technology may affect infrastructure. Remember that introducing new equipment in the future may mean modifications to the existing structure and may well impact mechanical and electrical loads. Consider using adjoining soft swing space to accommodate future large-equipment demands in the future without costly modifications to existing adjacent spaces.
Don’t get cold feet. What may seem like over-engineering for current needs is really an up-front investment in infrastructure that may have significant cost savings when the time comes for the next equipment upgrade.
- Srey Reun
Srey Reun is a member of the firm’s healthcare architecture staff, recently completing the integrated MR/OR at Smilow Cancer Hospital.