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CE Ideal Design


Guidelines for Design the Ideal Clinical Engineering Department

What does an ideal workspace for a clinical engineering department look like? Some questions to ask yourself and your colleagues include:
  • Where is the department today and where will it is in 10 years?
  • How do I design space to meet that future functional and expansion requirements?
  • Where is the department located in relation to other support services?

Consider the following:

  • Typical functions for a modern clinical engineering department probably include as and when required some or all of the following spaces:

    • Technician’s workspace
    • Manager office
    • Administrative / clerical space
    • File storage
    • Equipment decontamination area
    • Library
    • Parts storage
    • Receiving / packing area
    • Mechanical work area
    • Special hazards (radiation, lasers, etc.) work area
    • Conference / educational area
    • Secure FDA IT server area
    • Break area
    • Locker room

    • The average space per technician should be 120 SF(square feet) 11.15 SM(square meter).

    • Include electricity, medical gas (oxygen, high pressure nitrogen, suction, medical and lab air, nitrous oxide, and scavenging), network, etc... for each workbench or per space area as required.

    • Sufficient power receptacles—at bench top height.

    • Two telephone and two data outlets per bench location. Add more data, phone, and power than you think you need. Some receptacles should be on emergency power circuits.

    • Adequate lighting on a couple of switches so a technician can be adjusting a monitor, without the entire shop being in the dark. Some lighting should be on emergency power.

    • Specify basic safety features such as eye wash station and hand wash sink in the main shop.

    • Air conditioning and ventilation should be designed to reflect the number of equipment items that may be undergoing repair at one time in the shop. This is typically more than would be specified based on the number of staff and square footage.

    • Consider more space for future expansion and manpower increase.

    • It is also appropriate to add space for one or two spare bench/s to support outside vendors, interns, and trainees.

    • The manager’s office should be attached to the shop and separated via a door with 120 square feet.

    • Administrative area for a secretary or someplace to store documents, phones, photocopier, computers, mail boxes, etc.

    • Also consider space where to store paper files, file cabinets, service manuals, etc.

    • There should be a dedicated receiving area - requires significant space about 240 square feet- for receiving and unpacking new equipment. Consider oversize or double doors to provide access to this area.

    • The technical library area should be large enough to accommodate a conference table, projector, and screen (Operation manuals, service manuals, etc.) need to be on shelves in the clinical engineering department.

    • Storage area depending on your storage needs is about 200 square feet.

    • Mechanical bench area, you will need grinder, drill press, and bench vise with a good six-foot work surface—so the mechanical bench is another 100 or so square feet.

    • Consider space for lockers and lounge area for staff. This area should include a microwave, refrigerator, and place for staff to eat (away from their workbenches) to place lab coats, winter coats, boots, purses, etc. If you have a large staff, consider a dedicated changing area and locker room.

    • Consider space for maintaining anesthesia machines, respiratory ventilators, portable radiographic units, lasers, OR tables, or fluoroscopic C-Arms. Ensure you have added the space to work on these larger items. This may be additional space in the main technician area or a separate room.

    • Consider specialized room for the servers and other technical IT infrastructure the clinical engineering department is responsible for. If there is not currently secure server space specific to devices, this would be an appropriate time to consider creating such a space. This space should have adequate air conditioning, emergency power, and other features as any specific server space in the hospital.

    • It is recommended to not have permanent work benches installed. Purchase good work benches that are “mobile” so their configuration can be changed as the services the department provide change. This assures maximum future space efficiency.
    Source: Duane Mariotti, Mapping the Ideal Clinical Engineering Department, Biomedical Instrumentation & Technology,

    Clinical Engineering Workplace Layout

    Equipment & Other Resources:

    • Test & Repair Equipment

    • Oscilloscope
    • Digital Multimeter
    • Electronic Thermometer
    • Electronic Pressure/Vacuum Gauge
    • Spirometer
    • Flowmeters
    • ECG Analyzer
    • Defibrillator Analyzer
    • Electrosurgical Unit Analyzer
    • Gas Analyzer
    • Electrical Safety Analyzer
    • Pacemaker Analyzer
    • Hand Tools
    Probably more others . . . 

    • Office Equipment


    • Computers, 
    • Printers,
    • Photocopiers,
    • Facsimile

    • Technical Library

    Technical Library is a special library that is neither an academic nor school library, nor a public library. Technical library contain all user and service manuals for all medical equipment in the hospital that are not usually open to the public for use. It is for the clinical engineering and user medical/clinical department staff as a reference and guide for the medical equipment technical and operational concern. It would be arranged and categorized differently according to the equipment types, models and/or manufacturers. It is recommended to be staffed by a technical librarian with a knowledge of medical equipment.

    As most of the manufacturers are producing their manuals as pdf files nowadays; the library would be beneficial if it is digitally stored with technical library index for easy accessible to all staff through hospital network. The library should include but not limited to:


    • Reference Books
    • Standards 
    • Equipment Manuals,
    • Reference Guides,
    • Subscriptions to Journals, Services
    • Office Furnishings
    • Workbenches
    • Desks
    • Chairs
    • Stools
    • Tables
    • File Cabinets
    • Shelving Units
    • Storage Cabinets