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HomemifeatureDesigning a Private Ophthalmology Day Surgery

Designing a Private Ophthalmology Day Surgery

Australia’s private healthcare sector is witnessing significant growth, with a particular focus on specialised care facilities. For many healthcare professionals, establishing a practice is a career defining moment – a chance to create an environment conducive to their particular working style and build a legacy to their skills and talent. Building a healthcare practice is a significant undertaking that requires specialist knowledge and experience. This article delves into the intricacies of constructing a private ophthalmology hospital or day surgery, with a spotlight on regulatory compliance.

The foundation of any private healthcare facility in Australia lies in comprehending the licensing and accreditation guidelines applicable for each state. In Western Australia, the Licensing and Accreditation Regulatory Unit (LARU) is responsible for licensing private health facilities and ensuring compliance with legislative standards. Patient safety, quality care, and adherence to appropriate standards are essential aspects overseen by LARU.

Building a private ophthalmology hospital or day surgery… entails designing a space that facilitates optimal patient care, efficiency, and safety

Each Australian state or territory has its own version of LARU, with varying regulations. For instance, New South Wales follows the Private Health Facilities Act 2007 and the Private Health Facilities Regulation 2017, while Victoria adheres to the Health Services Act 1988 and Health Services (Private Hospitals and Day Procedure Centres) Regulations 2013. Regardless of the state, the goal remains the same – ensuring patient safety and maintaining quality care.

To obtain an operating licence, a prospective private healthcare facility must meet specific requirements stipulated by their respective licensing and accreditation body. These requirements may include planning approval, building compliance, suitable equipment, competent staff, and effective governance arrangements. Compliance with the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards is a universal requirement across Australia.

Designing Spaces

Building a private ophthalmology hospital or day surgery goes beyond creating a location for eye treatment; it entails designing a space that facilitates optimal patient care, efficiency, and safety. Tailoring spaces for specific procedures, ensuring smooth patient flow, and implementing strict infection control measures are critical aspects in this regard.

Every ophthalmology procedure, from routine eye examinations to complex surgeries, requires different equipment and space utilisation. Therefore, designing spaces for each specific procedure is crucial. For instance, a laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis (LASIK) procedure room necessitates sufficient space for the laser machine, an operating table, and associated surgical paraphernalia. Similarly, an eye examination room should have ample space for diagnostic tools, along with comfortable seating for the patient.

Efficient patient flow is equally important, as it minimises the risk of cross-contamination. The patient journey, from arrival and admission to consultation, surgery, recovery, and discharge, should be streamlined to ensure smooth operational efficiency.

Infection control is paramount, especially in surgical spaces. The facility’s design should incorporate areas for preoperative preparation and postoperative recovery that minimise the risk of hospital-acquired infections. Strategies like segregating ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ pathways, using appropriate materials for surfaces, providing adequate hand-washing stations, and implementing high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters and positive pressure airflow in surgical areas contribute to infection control.

Determining the procedures to be undertaken in the facility is essential as it informs the necessary equipment, space utilisation, and layout design. Healthcare providers need to articulate the services they will offer from the outset to ensure compliance with regulatory bodies.

The flow of a practice such as this is paramount; the testing occurs in a pattern, so clients generally move clockwise around the practice corridor and out

Construction

The construction of an ophthalmology hospital or day surgery involves creating specialised spaces, facilities, and equipment to cater to a wide range of eye conditions and surgical procedures. Facilities should ideally include consultation rooms, diagnostic areas, surgical theatres, and post-operative care spaces.

A successful example is the Melbourne Comprehensive Eye Surgeons (MCES) facility, a state-of-the-art ophthalmology clinic providing comprehensive eye care services. Built with patient-centric design principles, MCES boasts a modern, relaxing ambience and employs the latest technologies, reflecting the quality of service expected from a top-notch ophthalmology facility.

Dr Heathcote Wright and Dr Nima Pakrou approached Medifit in 2015, looking for a company to help them create a purpose-built centre for excellence in eye surgery in Bellfield, a burgeoning suburb just 9km from Melbourne’s central business district. The area has a growing and changing demographic and the doctors had identified a need for ophthalmological and eye surgery requirements.

Upon securing a site with great exposure leading into the city, the architectural design process began in earnest. Designed from the ground up, the resulting two storey building provides a distinct visual statement and gives the doctors the operating spaces they need to grow and prosper. The building contains a dual reception for the two co-joined practices within, and comfortable waiting space for dozens of patients spread around at strategic points to allow for efficient flow.

With many procedures of a very specific and technical nature provided, the building required a range of a testing, consulting, and treatment rooms. The flow of a practice such as this is paramount; the testing occurs in a pattern, so clients generally move clockwise around the practice corridor and out to sort finances and exit.

The interior balances modern design in a safe and professional facility. Light tones balance with a variety of textures, including a signature ‘green wall’ bringing natural beauty and light and creating a comforting space. The green wall also provides acoustic and air quality benefits.

Opened to universal acclaim in 2017, MCES won the Interior Fitout Association’s Medical Fitout of the Year in 2017–18, a testament to the quality services provided by Medifit Design and Construct.

The construction phase must be meticulously managed to ensure compliance with all building codes and health regulations

Conclusion

Building a private ophthalmology hospital or day surgery in Australia requires a meticulous approach, combining medical construction expertise, fundamental design principles, and a deep understanding of regulatory guidelines. Specialist knowledge is required to ensure your practice’s design and construction is both operationally compliant and positions you for practice success.

Sam Koranis is the Managing Director of Medifit Design and Construct, a specialist healthcare practice design and construction company. Mr Koranis has been at the helm of Medifit since its inception in 2002 and has been personally responsible for the successful delivery of more than 700 healthcare construction projects Australia-wide.

He holds a double major in Accounting and Commercial Law and has held senior executive roles for some of Australia’s leading public-listed and private companies. Mr Koranis has held the status of chartered professional accountant since 1983.

 

Steps to Building

Pre-planning: Establish the service model, determine the facility’s size and suitability of the site, and understand the specific legislative requirements set by the relevant licensing body.
Design: The design phase requires a deep understanding of ophthalmology practices, patient, and practitioner needs, and regulatory requirements. Employing a design and construction firm with experience in healthcare facilities, will be advantageous.
Approval: After completing the design, seek approval from the relevant LARU, local council, and other statutory bodies. Compliance with NSQHS standards, Australian Standards (AS/NZS 4187), and other specific regulations is crucial.
Construction: The construction phase must be meticulously managed to ensure compliance with all building codes and health regulations.
Inspection and Licensing: Upon completion, the facility must undergo rigorous inspections by the LARU to ensure compliance with all required standards.
After approval, the facility will receive its licence.
Operation: With the licence in hand, the facility can commence operations, subject to ongoing Eeviews and audits by the relevant state accreditation body to ensure sustained compliance.