A shelf full of outdated facility master plans used to be a common sight in the facility manager’s office of a large medical center. These are often very thick documents with beautiful graphics that explain in great detail the phased stages of a multi-year building project. There are many reasons why these plans may not have been implemented but the planning process itself is a major factor.
Frequent misunderstandings arise when hospital leaders, department staff, planners, and architects confuse net square feet with gross square feet (or net square meters and gross square meters). It is particularly disturbing when facility planners and architects simply specify “square feet” in their documents.
Planning a surgery suite used to be fairly simple. General operating rooms (ORs) were used for a wide range of procedures and dedicated operating rooms were limited to cardiac surgery and orthopedics. At the same time, interventional radiologists and cardiologists created their own workplaces. Today, planning surgical and endovascular suites is complicated by the convergence of diagnostic imaging and surgical procedures, rapidly changing technology, increasing specialization, and strict distinctions between operating rooms and procedure rooms. From a facility planning perspective, the number, size, and specialization of ORs and endovascular procedure rooms is the single most significant factor contributing to the overall footprint of the suite (and project cost). Moreover, the numbers and sizes of related patient care and support spaces are driven by the number and types of operating/procedure rooms. More importantly, the number of operating/procedure rooms drives ongoing staffing and related operational costs.
Physician offices and outpatient clinics typically consists of a patient intake area with space for reception, check-in/check-out, and waiting; exam/treatment space with a number of identical exam rooms, several office/consultation rooms, and one or more special procedure rooms; and associated clinical and administrative support space. Physician office space may be located in a medical office building (either freestanding or connected to a hospital), co-located with diagnostic and treatment services in a comprehensive ambulatory care center, or part of an institute or center organized along a specific service line — such as a Sports Medicine Center, Heart Center, or Cancer Center. Planning space for physician offices (also referred to as physician practice space) and outpatient clinics begins with determining how many exam rooms are needed and two different approaches are commonly used.
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.
Research studies over the past several decades have indicated the possible harmful effects on healthcare workers from low-level work-related exposure to any of more than 200 medications that are considered hazardous drugs. As a result, the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) — a nonprofit compendium of drug information — published the nation’s first standards on the handling of hazardous drugs from receipt to disposal. Chapter 800, titled “Hazardous Drugs — Handling in Healthcare Settings,” applies to all healthcare personnel who handle hazardous drug preparations and all entities that store, prepare, transport, or administer hazardous drugs, such as pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, and physician offices. Hazardous drugs include those used for cancer chemotherapy, antiviral drugs, hormones, and some bioengineered drugs. Effective December 1, 2019, most pharmacies need to comply with USP 800.