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ECRI Institute Helps Hospitals Design Spaces

Wed, 08/15/2012 - 5:39am

New and emerging technologies drive patient flow, volume, and revenue in today's hospitals, but if they are not carefully planned for, they can create a tremendous financial and operational disruption. ECRI Institute, an independent nonprofit organization that researches the best approaches to improving patient care, has released a new white paper, The Future of Healthcare Design: Navigating the Challenges of Advancing Technology in Patient Care Settings , to help hospital facility managers and architects better understand the challenges of designing patient care spaces to accommodate current and future technologies. Among these challenges are budget and space constraints, unwieldy construction costs, and keeping up with rapidly evolving devices and equipment.

In the paper, available for free download, ECRI Institute's medical equipment planning experts offer recommendations for planning and designing patient care areas, specifically operating rooms, imaging areas, and clinical labs—settings that not only require the most advanced technology, but represent the bulk of a healthcare provider's capital budget requests.

"It is imperative that facilities make technology-related decisions early in the design process, because infrastructure requirements and associated operational activities may cause them to incur additional costs or delay a building project schedule," states ECRI Institute's Michael Linehan, director, medical equipment planning. "Providers need to ensure that the medical equipment planning service they choose is well-versed in current and future equipment technologies to accurately plan their impact on infrastructure."

"It is imperative that facilities make technology-related decisions early in the design process, because infrastructure requirements and associated operational activities may cause them to incur additional costs or delay a building project schedule," states ECRI Institute's Michael Linehan, director, medical equipment planning. "Providers need to ensure that the medical equipment planning service they choose is well-versed in current and future equipment technologies to accurately plan their impact on infrastructure."

ECRI Institute advises healthcare organizations to be flexible by planning for future space needs as equipment upgrades become available, and designing with an eye on technology trends, such as moving imaging systems into non-traditional areas of the hospital. For example, it is not uncommon to see computed tomography (CT) scanners and MRI scanners moving out of radiology and into emergency or radiation oncology departments.

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