Sizing Imaging and Procedure Rooms

Imaging and procedure rooms fall into several size categories — small procedure rooms, typical imaging rooms, or larger specialty imaging rooms. Diagnostic equipment has generally become more compact over time. For example, equipment used for chest X-rays, mammography, ultrasound, and pulmonary and neurodiagnostic testing is compact and commonly mobile, requiring only a small procedure room. Most general radiographic and fluoroscopic equipment can be accommodated in a typical imaging room. Computed tomography (CT) units are also becoming more compact but require a contiguous control room. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and interventional procedure suites require a larger footprint that includes the procedure room, control room, and adjacent space for equipment (or system) components. Imaging equipment may also require lead shielding, enhanced floor loading capacity, and other unique design features. The FGI Guidelines also classify imaging rooms based on different levels of patient acuity and intervention.

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Estimating Diagnostic Imaging Space Based on the Number of Procedure Rooms

Sometimes a preliminary space estimate is needed to evaluate location alternatives, conduct a feasibility study, or develop a preliminary cost estimate for construction or renovation. Once the number of procedure rooms is determined, an estimate of the total footprint required for the diagnostic imaging suite can be made using the range of DGSF (DGSM) per procedure room shown in this post.

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What is DXA?

Bone density scanning, also called dual x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) or bone densitometry, is an enhanced form of x-ray technology that is used to measure bone mineral density (BMD) or bone loss. DXA is most often performed on the lower spine and hips although the whole body is sometimes scanned. DXA is commonly used to diagnose osteoporosis, a condition that involves loss of calcium along with structural changes that cause the bones to become brittle and more likely to break. The DXA machine sends a thin, invisible beam of low-dose x-rays with two distinct energy peaks through the bones being examined. One peak is absorbed mainly by soft tissue and the other by bone. The soft tissue amount can then be subtracted from the total so that the remainder is the patient’s bone density. Special software is used that can compute and display the bone density measurements on a computer monitor.

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Assessing the Capacity of Major Clinical Services

Healthcare organizations vary significantly in the number of expensive procedure rooms and equipment units that they use to accommodate similar numbers of annual procedures. This is why it is important to look at the current capacity prior to deciding to expand the number of procedure rooms and related support space, particularly those clinical services that use expensive equipment and uniquely-designed procedure rooms.

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Reconfiguring Hospital Diagnostic Services

Planning space for diagnostic services, and assessing the need for equipment, can be complicated from many perspectives. Some equipment is becoming miniaturized, portable (even handheld), and more affordable so that it can be easily used at the patient’s bedside, in the physician’s office, or even in the patient’s home. Other equipment continues to require a large footprint, unique design features, and a big investment, and is increasingly specialized. Imaging services no longer reside within the boundaries of the “radiology department” but instead are provided in many locations throughout the healthcare enterprise — often replacing other testing modalities that once occupied their own departments. The challenge is not only to determine what equipment to purchase but where to locate it.

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Enterprise Imaging and the Centralization of Data

The ability to record diagnostic images digitally and upload them to a picture archiving and communication system (PACS) has largely been a radiology-oriented system since the technology was formally introduced in the early 1980s. Enterprise imaging is the next evolutionary step in image storage and management. It will take the responsibility for imaging management away from radiology and place it in the hands of the enterprise-wide information technology function. The path to enterprise archiving of images is being paved by vendor-neutral archives (VNAs) that enable easier integration of data from disparate systems throughout the hospital — such as radiology, cardiology, pathology, orthopedics, and obstetrics — and make these data available in one place via the electronic health record. This evolution will have the capability to store and exchange clinical content in DICOM (digital imaging and communications in medicine) and non-DICOM formats. As a result, all clinical data will be available, easily accessible, and useable and not contained in departmental silos but on a monitor from an adjacent control room.

This article is an update of a previous post.