Advances in technology have continued to elevate medical care and improve patient diagnoses over the past several decades. The MRI, short for magnetic resonance imaging, is one such diagnostic tool that has become essential in medical facilities.
But what happens when it’s time to update your MRI suite or replace your machine? There are numerous considerations to evaluate when it comes to upgrading both your space and your machine so that you can continue to offer safe and quality care for your patients.
Below are a few important things to discuss with stakeholders and your general contractor before undergoing construction:
- Continuity of care – Unless it is a new build, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to shut down the MRI suite while you undergo renovations. In fact, federal regulations require that hospitals maintain radiologic services to meet the needs of their patients. Discussing how you will continue to serve patients while redesigning an MRI suite will take coordinated effort, and you may need to build a temporary suite to service patients while renovating the permanent one.
- Select your machine(s) – When replacing MRI machines, important factors to consider are the magnetic field strengths of the machine, which are measured in a unit called teslas (T), and the machine format – whether you want a wide-bore, closed-bore or open MRI machine.
- Safety zones – Implementing MRI safe practices is imperative to reducing risk. The American College of Radiology has documented guidance on things like site access restrictions and static magnetic field-related issues. Safety zones will need to be carefully discussed when designing and implementing construction documents for the suite.
- MRI rigging – Getting the machine in and out is easier said than done. An MRI machine weighs nearly 7 tons and can generate significant structural damage if not carefully tended to. When removing an old magnet, it is important to understand what is located below the current floor – slab on grade? In the basement? On an occupied floor? These and other factors are important to determining the best ways to rig the machine.
- Suite design and renovation – Upgrading your MRI suite is an opportunity to make significant changes to the suite, provided they comply with safety regulations and can accommodate the new machines you’ve selected. With your team of architects, engineers, and contractors, discuss your goals and how changes to the space will enable you to better serve your patients.
If you have questions about medical builds or renovating AHCA facilities in Florida, contact our team at Seacoast Construction.
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