Each treatment area, public space and physician practice area is a part of the patient experience. In approaching these projects, it is important to assemble best of breed examples, not only from experience in Medical Office Building (MOB) design, but from many diverse sectors to provide tangible, technology based solutions. It is with this approach that new efficiencies are realized that add to the reliability of the facility, improve ROI, and enhance patient comfort. The following is a compilation of Acoustical, Audiovisual, IT and Security trends that are vital to MOB facilities.
Acoustical trends with multi-tenant medical offices have come to the forefront, both to provide a comforting environment for patients, and because addressing privacy concerns is an absolute must. There are many ways this can be accomplished throughout the design process, from partition design to the addition of sound masking systems. Each of the design elements in the building (partitions, slabs, HVAC, etc) plays a role in determining the acoustical privacy of the space and all must be addressed to achieve a satisfactory result.
The ever developing sensitivity of diagnostic tools such as MRI and other imaging devices also poses a challenge. While the increasing tendency for office buildings is to move to lightweight, lightly damped designs, this can be disastrous in a MOB, as vibration sensitive spaces are vital parts of the facility.
AV trends for MOBs include the implementation of Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) building-wide paging systems, with which we are able to provide doctor and staff (specific & select) public address, thereby eliminating the broad overuse and excess noise created by traditional analog all-call systems. The provision for Digital HD signage as a means to enhance way finding, visual messaging and patient/staff information has become prominent in new design. A flexible and robust video infrastructure can provide select and addressable video, graphics and information to physicians’ offices and bedside treatment areas, as well as for brand messaging to lobbies and waiting areas.
AV trends extend to administrative conference space to incorporate secure videoconferencing and presentation capabilities as well. High resolution imaging that provides for improved color fidelity and clarity in clinical spaces can now be presented in shared real-time with pathology practices within or adjacent to an MOB. All of these examples are part of an improved structure of communications.
IT & Security trends have evolved to systems designed with distributed processing and virtualization, and Server/CPU Resources are used in a more efficient manner. This new technology architecture mitigates electrical consumption and the overall cost to operate the IT equipment. Cold aisle containment design within the Data Center/ Server Room spaces minimizes the mixing of hot and cold air (return/supply) and provides for a more efficient environment, which then extends the life of the mechanical equipment serving these spaces. Top-of-Rack switch architecture design can also minimize overall Copper Cabling in the data center/server room that can allow for valuable real estate to be used for other services. Improved communications within the IT/Mission Critical sector has also seen wide adoption of convergence of technology specific to Nurse Call Equipment & Wireless Nurse Communications, such as Vocera and Physical Security (Access Control/CCTV).
IT and Security design are intrinsically tied together and include new Security Emergency Voice Notification systems for situations in which lock-down procedures may need to be implemented. RFID tagging within a MOB is not simply a trend, but a standard application that enables the tracking of all institutional assets, patient requirements, and inventory. New platforms have improved Smart Card technology for Access Control and have enabled Medical Records Accessibility/Authorization on the secure network, as well as Cashless Vending Access.