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Special report: In the OR, the ceiling's getting crowded

by Kathy Mahdoubi, Senior Correspondent | April 22, 2011
From the April 2011 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

IMRIS vice president and chief scientist John Saunders and director of business development Brad Woods say the design of IMRIS products have always been patient-centric.

“We decided very early on that we were going to bring the magnet to the patient,” says Saunders. “That was always our objective.”

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Hospitals can choose one-, two- or three-room configurations depending on the function of the room. The scanner is brought out from an equipment bay to the patient when needed.

“Those overhead rails are attached to the pillars of the building where the suite is located in order to be able to carry the load of the magnet, which ranges from 5 to 6 tons,” says Woods.

Ceiling mounting for infection control
IMRIS’ design specifically addresses the necessity to maintain the sterile field.

“From a safety point of view, you can’t have rails in the floor,” says Saunders. “We had ideas of having rails under the floor, but when you have any indentation in the floor, it has the potential to lead to infection problems. There is a sterility issue, which is very important.”

IMRIS keeps an in-house customer engineering group who works with the architect and hospital engineers. On average, it takes about 12 to 18 months from design configuration to installation to create a comprehensive suite.

From planning to install
With so many equipment choices and interactivity to account for, how do health care design teams design and plan what goes where in a hybrid OR? The use of 3-D and CAD drawings helps a great deal.

“These tools enable the architects and equipment planners to view the equipment positions, rotation capabilities and predict the interactions of all of the equipment in today's health care environments,” says MAVIG’s Sherman.

All of these heavy loads being pendant from the ceiling require very specific structural engineering. Here’s where the American Society of Healthcare Engineers’ Mike Viviano steps in. Viviano, a senior project manager for St. Louis-based Northstar Management Company, is an expert in fitting all the pieces together in these very tight spaces.

“One thing that needs to be considered in the design phase is the amount of power and utilities required and the heat that each of these pieces generates, and the requirements for the actual surgery or operation from the surgeon’s perspective and the care team’s perspective.”

Many times, engineering teams receive very generic information from vendors when the equipment has not yet been selected. Engineers have to design with a lot of questions and what-ifs in mind in terms of ceiling space and utilities required.

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