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Facility Design

Do you have questions about the design and operation of your x-ray facility? We think we have heard most of them.

  • Who can help me with a layout of the room?
  • Do I have to get pre-approval for my facility from the State?
  • What are the regulatory requirements for radiation safety?
  • Do I need to find a radiation physicist?
  • At $15.00 a square foot or more, how much lead do I need?
  • Can I reduce the cost of radiation shielding by changing the location or design of the x-ray room?
  • Are there any special requirements for pollution control if I use film and chemicals?
  • Even though I am going to use film and processing at first, is there anything I need to do now to facilitate a switch to digital x-ray in the future?
  • By investing in digital technology now, can I save on some of the construction cost?
  • Do you know of a source for equipment financing?
  • Can an equipment lease be tailored to reduce payments at the beginning of a lease?
  • What are the tax implications of purchasing versus leasing?

We could go on for pages with the questions but we do not think it is necessary. Our advice is fairly simple...

  • The cost of constructing and equipping an x-ray facility is a major investment. The right decisions can result in a profit center not just another cost center. It is much better to start the right way from the beginning instead of trying to make corrections at a later date.
  • Keep in mind that you must comply with the laws and regulations of Food and Drug Administration and your state and/or local agencies that deal with radiation producing equipment. In addition, depending on the type of equipment you will be utilizing, you may need to comply with other regulations such as wastewater discharge. Among many other things, these laws and regulations include requirements for the design of your x-ray facility, Radiation protection for your patients and others in the vicinity of your x-ray equipment, radiation monitoring, record keeping, incident reporting (if any), maintenance and inspection of your equipment, and continuing education requirements. This may seem overwhelming but it can be a rather simple process if you select experienced and qualified people to assist you. Read on and you will see how to make it easier to deal with these requirements.
  • When it comes to x-ray facility recommendations, you should deal with an x-ray company that is highly experienced in all phases of your project and who can provide you with references that you can speak to or visit. These references should include previous customers and the manufacturers of the equipment you are purchasing.
  • Insist that the company you are dealing with be registered with your state or local governing body for radiation producing equipment. Do not hesitate to ask for the company’s registration number.
  • Deal with a company that can provide expertise in all areas involving your x-ray facility. With the exception of the work normally done by the building trades (e.g. carpentry, plumbing, etc.), you should insist on a turnkey x-ray facility. The right x-ray company can help you with all phases of your x-ray project. These phases include initial design, shielding calculations by a physicist, assistance with pre-construction and post-completion regulatory filings, equipment selection and purchase, applications training, and last but by no means least, after-sale support by trained personnel who are employees of the company you choose.
  • Avoid companies that use subcontractors for design, installation, training or service. These are referred to in the industry as “sales companies”. Selling is their only expertise and that is all that they do. Once they make a sale, you have to deal with their subcontractors. (We should know since we have been asked to take over x-ray projects that were started by others and then did not go well.)
  • Even though you may want to minimize initial construction costs or product choices, keep in mind your future plans for the practice. For example, if you expect to convert to digital x-ray in the future, it is much less expensive to install network cables at the time of initial construction versus having it installed after all drywall work is completed.
  • During the design phase, keep in mind your planned workflow for now and for the future. We believe this is one of the most important issues to be addressed. A poorly designed x-ray facility is something that will affect your practice for years. We are not simply referring to avoiding inefficiency; we are stressing maximum efficiency. The operation of your x-ray department should add to your effectiveness in treating patients. Unfortunately, we have seen departments that are bottlenecks or choke points for the rest of the practice. Some of these choke points do not become obvious until a practice becomes busy. You need to give thought to questions such as: Where will you review studies and how will the studies get to you? Will your x-ray tech have other responsibilities? If a tech is responsible for retrieving prior films, is the film library in the area of the x-ray room? An experienced x-ray company can help you ask the right questions.

Omni Imaging can be the answer to all of the above. Give us a call at 866-692-1033 and we can tell you about our experience in designing imaging facilities both in the United States and overseas. We have not kept a count of them but there are many hundreds of them.

 

 

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