by George Rohlfing
When you mention healthcare facilities, most people think of treating patients, yet a decent amount of the work done at healthcare facilities involves research. While your doctor may remain in the same office location or hospital for years, research labs can be a bit more fluid. Two recent moves of labs previously located at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center illustrate this point.
Dr. Patrick Fuller is the faculty training coordinator at Harvard Medical School, Division of Sleep Medicine, and the research division head, Department of Neurology, at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BID-MC). When Fuller accepted a position at the University of California-Davis, he contacted our firm to move his sleep study lab.
Moving a sleep study lab is a far cry from some of the larger lab moves we’ve done for pharmaceutical companies. There might not be any vaccines or specimens with storage and temperature sensitive specifications, yet every lab comes with its own specific needs and details. No two lab/medical moves are the same.
It all starts with the on-site survey. Based on that intake, the move consultant can anticipate and calculate the number of boxes, the type of boxes and materials, and the amount of manpower needed to get the job done right.
If chemicals are being moved, it requires an even more detailed review by the chemist to make sure each chemical is packed correctly and manifested according to Department of Transportation standards and regulations.
The plan for Fuller’s lab called for inventory and packing in the morning with the load out in the afternoon. The office held research binders, slides and personal items that needed to be packed and inventoried separately, as these items would be unpacked and placed in a different space at UC-Davis. This is the reason office inventory and packing are done separately from that of the lab operational space.
The rest of the move was fairly straightforward, getting the team out of the building by 4:30 p.m. The goods were transported to the BTI warehouse in Hanover, Mass. in preparation for interstate transportation aboard Mayflower’s special commodities fleet trailers to California. Thereafter, the goods were trucked to UC-Davis and delivered to the site by Chipman Mayflower in California.
Another recent move from BID-MC involved the relocation of Dr. Jonathan C. Ellis to Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, Calif. A specialist in urology oncology, Ellis’ move was a bit more involved than the sleep study move. Lab equipment and benches, as well as specimens, all had to be packed and then prepared for a coast-to-coast relocation.
A special truck was coordinated for the plug-in service to keep the frozen samples at temperature. The truck was equipped with a double generator system and also had the capabilities to plug into shore power if necessary. The freezer and refrigeration were monitored 24/7, with a complete report provided to the lab to ensure an unbroken chain of custody during transport.
Again, the process started with a lab survey and plan for packing, load out, and transportation. For a typical lab move, planning is recommended six months prior to the move date. That’s the level of detail required for most labs.
That’s not to say that lab moves cannot be successful if conducted in a shorter time span. Sometimes situations warrant that. However, when relocating a lab or medical office, the best results will typically occur when the mover is given more time to plan.
George Rohlfing is the owner of Brookline Transportation Company, Inc. (BTI), a lab relocation specialist based in Hanover, Mass.