In April 2022, the Biomedical Engineering team inspected floorplans for each and every room in their new space as part of the hospital’s 70% Detailed Design Stage underway now to the end of the summer.

Last week, the Biomedical Engineering team were seriously considering their future at St. Paul’s Hospital.

Let’s set the stage for you. Today, Biomedical Engineering’s 14-person team is located in the hospital’s basement. Many of the work spaces have mixed uses, such as a combined lunch room and work room. And a laser testing lab is combined with a general workroom – which means when someone needs to activate a laser during a repair or regular preventative maintenance check, the rest of the team stops what they’re doing and vacates the room to stay safe. The department has only half-sized grated windows with a view onto gas tanks in an alley. There’s one double sink, with one half designated as a ‘dirty’ sink for washing biomedical equipment and the other half a ‘clean sink’. The retired equipment ‘boneyard’ for spare parts is five minutes away, down a corridor with such low ceilings it’s a challenge for anyone taller than 5’10”.

“We make do with what we have, although it’s like fitting a square peg in a round hole,” says Sundeep Bath, Manager, PHC/Coastal CoC Operations and Regional Initiatives.​

But last week, post-it notes and pens at hand, eleven members of the team spent three hours reviewing floorplans of their future space — giving input room by room, detail by detail. The session was part of the hospital’s 70% Detailed Design Stage, underway to late summer, which will finalize the details of almost every room in the hospital.

“Two years ago, we were giving input into a conceptual design, and now we’re seeing what our finished shop will look like. It’s exciting,” says supervisor Francis Keong. The leadership team for Biomedical Engineering has been engaging their team in design workshops since before the 30% Detailed Design Stage began in March 2021.

“For our team to be involved as stakeholders – including at the technologist level and not just the management level – is refreshing. I think valuing our input and the knowledge we have in our specific area is really making a lot of difference, and it’s going to result in a good shop for everyone,” says Ian Torrance, who received a supportive round of applause from his fellow technologists for making his comment.

Our Biomedical Engineering team in their current shop in the basement of the hospital. 

So how is the Bi​omed shop going to be better for everyone?

“I’m excited about all the windows. We’ll have five just in our main workroom,” says technologist Sophia Le. “Moving from the basement up to the 5th floor in the new hospital with 11 full-sized windows, and maybe even a view of the mountains, is going to feel like Nirvana.”

Biomedical Engineering has been strategically moved to the fifth floor to ensure they have fast access to the clinical areas they serve  – the Critical Care Complex and the Surgical and Interventional Suites on the 3rd floor, MDRD on the 4th, Scopes and Minor Procedures, Lab on the 5th and Inpatient Units on the 6th to 11th floors — all connected by a staff-only service elevator.

“I’m also looking forward to a way bigger shop!
We’ll have a lot more space, and that’s going to be a huge difference for us,” says technologist Lisette Donaldson.

“The bonus for us is we get to designate certain areas in our shop for speciality testing. Now we’ll have a specialized laser room, a specialized vent room, a decontamination room, dedicated admin spaces and even a staff lounge — things we’ve never had. We can really separate our spaces instead of being altogether in one spot,” says Sundeep. The ‘boneyard’ will now be integrated into the new space too.  And, there will be smaller satellite biomed shops in Renal and Diagnostic Imaging too.

In May last year, Biomedical Engineering engaged members of their team in whiteboard exercises during the 30% Detailed Design Stage.

“At today’s workshop we’ve been moving things around to make the new space even more efficient for our workflow,” shared technologist Peyman Ataee. “Things like making sure the gas outlets, safety goggles, and network drops are in the right spots, and adding whiteboards to help us keep track of things better. We also considered changing the types of desks – do​ we want them built-in, or should we buy free-standing desks?”

The team also considered where equipment is going to be tested, or packaged for repair shipments, and where PPE storage and task lighting will be located, how many tool carts they’ll need, and where to place air scavengers used to pull and exhaust soldering fumes.

“The Biomedical Team has been very mindful of infection prevention control, too. It’s been paramount to planning their future space. Now the department will have an incoming equipment decontamination zone, a clean administrative zone, a staff zone and a separate workshop zone. The work sinks won’t even be in the same zone as the clean sink,” says Janice Bittante, Project Manager, Clinical Lead for Biomedical Engineering from the New St. Paul’s Hospital and Health Campus Project Team.

“Our Biomedical Engineering team is looking forward to our future. We’ve designed our new department to improve our workflow and safety, and this will help us support the clinical areas even better with the services we provide,” remarks Sundeep Bath as she sums up the day’s session.

In the months ahead room details will be finalized for all areas of the new hospital, to ensure its design will better serve patients, staff, and medical staff. Then, together, we’ll turn our attention to IT devices, technology, equipment procurement, and how we’ll do our work and transform care in our new spaces.

If you have a question about the New St. Paul’s Hospital and Health Campus Project ask it here at (log in using the red button and your network login), email thenewstpauls@p​

Moving to the 5th floor and into a space with new specialized rooms for the work they do, with separate ‘clean’ and ‘dirty’ workflows will help the Biomedical Engineering team support the clinical areas even better with the services they provide.