(Part 2 of 4) Continuing from my last post “Trumpets Please…my new book has just been released!“, my new healthcare design book discusses big changes in exam rooms both in size and layout. Many more options, some without an exam table called “talking rooms.” Along with these changes comes the concept of team-based primary care and large multi-disciplinary team stations in the center of a group of 8 or 10 exam rooms. The healthcare design book presents new space plans incorporating these concepts.
Medical equipment has gotten much smaller and even miniaturized as it becomes digital which changes how space is used and what might typically be found in the exam and treatment rooms of practitioners of various medical and dental specialties. Hundreds of equipment photos (and unusual utility requirements as appropriate) acquaint the reader with the latest products.
Nowhere has the change had more impact as in dental offices. Examples are a hand-held X-ray device that can be carried from treatment room to treatment room or a portable CAD/CAM machine that creates electronic impressions (no more gooey mess in the mouth) and sends images to a milling machine in the dentist’s office to create crowns, inlays and overlays, often resulting in delivery of the permanent crown the same day. A number of hand-held intraoral cameras can “see” decay inside the tooth, between teeth, or around leaking restorations, reducing reliance on X-rays for diagnosing decay. These images can be projected on a monitor in front of the patient to facilitate discussion of treatment options.
Small diode lasers, some now cordless and hand-held like a pen, are being used for soft tissues procedures and will likely be found in every treatment room before long. Digital radiography is in use in many dental offices with overwhelming advantages but 3D cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) is new and increasingly can be found in periodontic, orthodontic, endodontic and oral surgery offices. It records soft tissue, muscle, bone, and blood vessels, making it an important tool in treatment planning and diagnosis.