Technology and communications systems are an essential “life critical” utility for hospitals and include telecommunications service entrance rooms, technology equipment center (also referred to as the hospital data center), and technology distribution rooms.
Three types of spaces are typically required for technology and communications equipment in today’s hospital as follows:
Telecommunications service entrance rooms (TSER) house the point at which outside carrier data and voice circuits and services enter the facility and where outdoor cabling interfaces with the building’s internal cabling infrastructure. TSERs require a minimum of 168 NSF (15.6 NSM) and at least one TSER should be planned with minimum dimensions of 12 feet by 14 feet. The TSER may be combined with the technology equipment center.
Technology equipment center (TEC) — also referred to as the hospital data center — houses the main networking equipment and the application servers and data storage devices that serve the hospital. It is a critical component in delivering quality patient care, ensuring regulatory compliance, and enabling collaboration among caregivers. Hospital data/communications networks support everything from traditional accounting to highly advanced remote surgery and diagnostic procedures using telemedicine. The space required for the TEC depends on the specific data storage, processing, and networking equipment to be housed as specified by the information technology strategic plan or contract vendor. A range of 2,000 to 3,000 NSF (185.8 to 278.7 NSM) is a typical.
Technology distribution rooms (TDRs) — which should be located on each floor level — provide a secure, flexible, and easily-accessible location for the components, equipment, and cabling that support many of the technology and communications systems used throughout the hospital. Typical systems include data and voice communication, patient monitoring and alarm, nurse call, security/closed circuit television (CCTV), building automation, fire and life safety, telemedicine/teleconferencing, picture archiving and communications systems (PACS), and support for personal mobile (wireless) devices. TDRs should be planned with a minimum three-foot of clearance on all sides of equipment racks. For preliminary planning purposes, a placeholder of 168-192 NSF (15.6-17.8 NSM) with minimum dimensions of 12 feet by 14 or 16 feet can be used.
All of these spaces need to be located in a dry area not subject to flooding, require controlled access, and must be backed up by the hospital’s emergency power system.
Note: Net square feet/meters (NSF/NSM) represents the inside wall-to-wall dimensions of individual rooms.