Turning Your Waiting Room into a Playful Halloween Space

Halloween is almost here, so what better way to get your patients and staff – young and old – into the spirit than by adding some spooky-but-friendly character and activities to your waiting room? Below are 5 ways to create the ultimate Halloween space.

1. Have a Costume Contest

Ask your staff to dress up in spirit of Halloween and wear numbers, ask your patients/visitors to place a number in the bowl while they are in the waiting room, corresponding to their favorite costume. Give a prize to the team member with the most votes. Be sure to lay out ground rules for costumes, such as avoiding too-scary or otherwise inappropriate attire.

2. Have a Pumpkin Decorating Contest

Ask your staff to decorate a pumpkin in the waiting room and label with numbers, ask your patients/visitors to place a number in the bowl on their way out, corresponding to their favorite pumpkin. Give a prize to the team member with the most votes and give a winning patient/visitor a winning pumpkin.

Give a prize to the team member with the most votes. Again, avoid decorations that are too scary or inappropriate in nature.

3. Host a Trick-or-Treat

This is especially fun for after-hour social with your patients/family, community, and staff. If your waiting room is large enough, you can create a fun little game with prizes for trick-or-treaters. Be sure to include business cards or other marketing material with your treats. The kids get the candy, and the business/marketing-related material (magnets, key chains, pens) gets used for daily reminder of who to call when someone is need of medical services.

4. Sponsor a Trick-or-Treat Bag

Create a festive bag made up with your clinic information on them. Hand these out at the check-out desk.

5. Set up Festive Arts and Craft Activities

Turn your waiting room into a play room for kids as they wait for their appointment with family. Kids enjoy creative ways to express themselves and these activities are ideal for Halloween fun in the clinic.

  • Spider Web Plates. Kids can practice their fine motor skills by threading white yarn through holes punched into a black paper plate to create a simple spider web craft from Anne Lily Design. Finish with foam spider stickers.
  • Monster Mobile. Transform toilet paper rolls into this monster mobile from Happy Hooligans by painting or coloring the tubes and adding on googly eyes, squiggly pipe-cleaner arms, and toothy construction-paper mouths.
  • Spider Web Sacks. Create these spider web sacks from Modern Parents Messy Kids with balloons, white yarn, and craft glue. Stick on some plastic spiders for a little spooky flair.
  • Monster Hands. Have kids trace their arm and fingers on marbled green paper to create this monster hand from Happy Hooligans. Cut it out and have the kids glue on foam fingernails and dried bean “warts.”
  • Masking Tape Mummy. A basic gingerbread man becomes a mummy in this simple project from No Time for Flashcards. All you need is masking tape and googly eyes.
  • Paper Plate Frankenstein. Finger painting is always fun, and the perfect way to create these Frankenstein faces from Easy Preschool Craft. Cut the top off a paper plate to make the flat head and provide the kids with the paper hair, eyes, noses, and bolts to glue on.
  • Mini Mummy. This merry mummy will have kids wrapped up in laughter. To make this, secure a bouncy ball to the end of a craft stick with tape. Fold one end of a neon-yellow chenille stem back and forth in small increments to make fingers; wrap the other end around the stick. Repeat for the other arm. Wrap the entire ball and stick with 2-inch-wide first aid gauze that has been cut in half lengthwise; tuck the end into the back of the body. Complete the look by gluing googly eyes between the head layers.
  • Frankenstein Noisemaker. The funny face and rattling sound of this Frankenstein noisemaker are sure to scare away everything that goes bump on Halloween Adults can prep the plates by punching the holes around the edges and cutting a hole in the bottom for the dowel. Kids will have a blast putting noisemaker filler inside and decorating the outside with dimensional paint and cutout facial features.

From all of us at Boulevard Medical Properties, have a fun and safe Halloween. If you’re looking for a new property to start or move your medical practice to or need advice on the process, contact us today.

5 Musts for a Dental Practice

Starting a dental practice is an exciting new chapter of your career, but careful planning is required to set realistic expectations and future growth. Whether you are starting your practice from scratch or purchasing an existing one, our guide will help you get started.

5 Ways to a Successful Dental Practice

Do Your Research

Building a brand is no easy task; it is an investment. A huge factor when it comes to branding and managing your business is understanding who your demographic and audience is. One too few dentists think of research as the backbone to their business decision. For example, some choose to locate their practice near their homes. They fail to research each potential location and its invaluable properties.

  • Competition. Research and consider how many other physicians are in the area.
  • Economic Factors: Does it support industries, schools or government offices? What is the income bracket of the neighborhood (i.e. Medicare and Medicaid population)?
  • Demographic: Understand your community and market (i.e. population, age, sex, race and educational factors of the area).
  • Availability of Space: What is the real estate available for medical office space? Will you have to lease non-medical space?

Build an Online Presence

The internet is an invaluable resource for both your dental practice and your patients. It is the digital hub of information, knowledge, and communication. Consider an agency to create a website, manage social and content marketing services, optimize your site to ensure it ranks in the best possible positions. Make sure your site is informative, intuitive, easy to navigate, and also provides potential patients with a means of communication.

Digitize your services and communication portals. Innovative medical professionals value and understand that most patients use the internet to research services and medical concerns. They are also savvy about how their patients use smartphones and tablets, so stay updated and connected with your patients and community with a touch of a screen. Create a personalized portal to provide patients with sensitive information about lab results and prescriptions. Allow patients to book appointments straight from the app or website for more convenience.

There are numerous ways to expand your practice with the use of digital services. Before you decide which strategy to implement, assess your competitors and their strategies. Identify what features and services are lacking on their end and build upon that for your practice.

If time is of the essence, you could outsource the work to trained professionals. Consultants and third party professionals can focus on the technical side of the practice as you continue to work on it operations and patient services.

Hire Good Staff

A dental practice is a delicate ecosystem. Every person and environment impacts the efficiency, service, and quality of a patient’s experience. Your staff, for example, is the front line of your medical practice. Patients will choose you or lose you based on who you hire. A rude front-office receptionist can devastate and stump the growth of your practice.

It is also important to evaluate your resources and decide if your additional hires are necessary. While your staff is one of your greatest assets, they are also one of your biggest expenses. Take time to review and analyze your current IT capabilities and see if adding additional staff is necessary and/or if new software can improve your patient service and efficiency.

Build Authentic Relationships

Going to the dentist is scary enough without feeling like the person with their hands in your mouth is a complete stranger. To reduce patient anxiety, get involved at local events, sponsor a youth sports league or hold your own charity drive. Let your patients get to know you, your team, and your passions. The relationship you build with your patients can help relieve any barriers and negative concerns.

If time is limited outside of the practice, connect with your patients in-office. For example, you may decide to share a recent weekend outing with the family or chat about a favorite TV show. Discussing these seemingly insignificant topics builds a connection with your patient, thus breaking down — or at least, lowering — their feelings of anxiety or stress.

Incorporate

Incorporated business has tax benefits, such as deductions in medical insurance, travel expense and daily business expenses. You can also deduct your business losses, which is more difficult if you are a sole proprietor. Income earned as a corporation is not subject to Social Security taxes, only the portion you take home as salary. Lastly, corporations tend to be taxed at a lower rate than self-employed business owners.

Schedule a Consultation

Starting your own dental practice is an exciting new chapter in your life, but planning, research and execution is vital to your success. Whether you are starting from scratch or purchasing an existing one, Boulevard Medical Properties has the expertise and knowledge to help guide you. Contact us today.

Patient Comfort in LA: Ideas for Your Medical Practice

Health and medical professionals strive, every day, to cure ailments and relieve patient symptoms. But success in these areas often depend on factors beyond our control. On the other hand, improving patient comfort measures is always within your power — as a doctor or physician, nurse, and/or medical staff.

There are plenty of methods to ensure patient comfort without sacrificing time or resources. We have compiled some of the best steps to consider while assessing your medical practice and patient satisfaction.

What is the Value in Patient Comfort?

Patient-centered care is holistic. Everyone has a role in the patient journey: from the arrivals parking attendant to the clinical staff and physician, including environmental services and the receptionist. Successful medical offices and hospitals provide an exceptional patient experience. Organizations, which foster a culture that focuses on patients, are rewarded with higher clinical quality and efficiency, a greater employee engagement, a safer patient environment, and improved bottom line.

Patient care experience includes respect, partnership, shared decision making, well-coordinated transitions, and efficiency. For organizations seeking to make their care more patient-centered, our best practices offer concrete tools and a road map for integration of new practices into existing processes.

How to Adopt Patient Comfort into Your Daily Process

Adding steps to your organization’s day-to-day processes can be a transition. However, if your plan is properly implemented, it can quickly become a part of your institution’s culture. Here are a few ways to improve patient comfort into your daily processes.

Strive to Build Authentic Relationships

The relationship between healthcare professionals and their patients is psychological. While it is your job to ask patients personal questions about their life, habits and condition, it is imperative to establish common ground and build a social relationship. For example, you may decide to share a recent family outing or chat about a favorite past time. Discussing these seemingly insignificant topics builds a connection with your patient. By breaking down — or at least, lowering — these psychological barriers, you can help better relieve a patient’s concerns or anxieties.

Remember Patient Comfort Can Be a Time Saver

Patient anxiety and discomfort can lead to disrupted care and results. These challenging circumstances can quickly eat away at your schedule and reduce the amount of time available to dedicate to subsequent patients. However, securing patient comfort can save time.

For example, a relaxed environment will help reduce the chances of patient anxiety during procedures. Taking a moment to talk with your patient or ask about his or her comfort preferences can ensure a better experience for everyone involved.

Set the Tone and Environment in Color

A perfectly crafted color palette can set the tone for a healthcare facility, whether it’s the product of renovation, interior design, or a new-build project. But determining what shades of colors are best suited for your medical office should be done with consideration.

Blue represents honesty, loyalty, wisdom, dependability, and security. It is considered calming, relaxing and serene, and it is often recommended for medical offices to help calm patients and encourage a healing environment. A light blue can balance well with warm hues for furnishings and fabrics. To encourage relaxation in waiting or exam areas, consider warmer blues. Softer blues are known to have a calming effect when used as the main color of a room. Darker blues, however, may evoke feelings of sadness.

Green is very pleasing to the senses. Combining the refreshing quality of blue and cheerfulness of yellow, green has a calming effect when used as a main color for decorating. It is believed to relieve stress and is often associated to peace, harmony, and support. It encourages unwinding but has enough warmth to promote comfort and relaxation.

Yellow is commonly associated with laughter, happiness, and joy. It has energizing properties, but be careful with it; when using an intense yellow, it can cause unease. Use yellow sparingly in just the right places to add contrast and visual interest, but refrain from using it as your main color. In large amounts, yellow has been reported to create feelings of frustration and anger.

Pink is the most calming of all colors. Think of pink as the color of compassion, kindness, empathy, and hope. A touch of pink in a room is intuitive and insightful, a positive color inspiring warm and comforting feelings. It is a positive color that reassures our emotional energies, and can help alleviate feelings of anger and aggression.

Schedule a Consultation

Whether you are planning to elicit a safer patient environment or increase clinical quality and efficiency in LA, Boulevard Medical Properties has the expertise and knowledge to help guide you. Contact us today.

Sudden Property Closure: 5 Things You Need to Do

Sudden deaths or incapacity raises immediate problems in the areas of clinical coverage, administrative responsibilities, and medical records. In the event of a sudden property closure due to such emergencies, an action plan should be developed in advance. This article provides relevant and practical information to assist with planning in the event of an emergency closure.

It should be noted that, though useful for medical practices that may be planning to close their office, this article does not cover planned closure, transfer or sale of a clinical practice. In addition, it should be advised that this is not intended to replace the advice of a lawyer with relevant expertise.

1. Clinical Environment

At the time of an emergency closing of a practice, a number of people and different parties will need to be notified. There are action steps that will need to be completed. Information concerning keys, passwords, security codes needed to access the practice’s records may need to be communicated to the designated administrator. This information should also be provided to the physician’s attorney. The attorney’s office, practice staff and the family of the physician should keep a record of the contact information for the administrator.

The agencies that will need to be notified from a clinical standpoint include staff, patients, hospitals/clinic affiliations, and third party vendors. Depending on the size and scope of the practice, and the individual physician’s roles and responsibilities in the practice, there could be numerous clinical associates and partners.

2. Physician Office Staff

It is imperative to notify the staff as soon as possible. They are the people who can assist the administrator immediately. At this time, practice staff will appreciate personal contact and condolences. Many will be concerned about their own employment and financial futures.

Be prepared to communicate and address the following questions that may arise: How long will the practice remain opened? What kind of benefit package/retirement benefit was agreed to at the time of hire? How will Sick Time and Vacation Time balances be paid out? Direct the questions about benefits and/or payment of benefits to payroll and/or legal counsel.

3. Patients and Patient Family

It is important to notify patients as soon as possible about the closing of the practice. First, at the time that the staff are notified, a new message on the practice answering machine should be recorded which states that the practice is currently closed and all sessions have been cancelled until further notice, and who the patient needs to contact for immediate assistance or prescription refills.

As soon as possible, ideally within 48 hours, the practice should send a letter to all the active patients. This letter should list physicians who have agreed to assist the physician’s patients in the interim. This letter should also explain to the patients how to obtain copies of their records. Send these letters by “Registered Mail” with a “Received Return Receipt.” This documentation can be placed in patient’s record.

Notify scheduled patients and cancel their appointments ASAP. Using the same method used to confirm sessions, the staff should contact the patients and let them know that all sessions have been cancelled until further notice. If the practice knows the time frame the letters are going to go out, the staff should let the patients know to expect the letter at that time.

It may also be a good idea to put a sign on the office door. It can state: “All patient visits have been cancelled until further notice; please call (office number) for further information.”

4. Third Party Vendors and Partners

It makes sense to have a list of Hospital/Agency Affiliations and their contact information readily available. This will make it easier to make the required notifications.

Third Party Payers need to be informed that the physician will no longer be practicing. It is important that the third party payers not accidentally refer new patients. The information will assist third party payers to track their availability of providers for the local area.

5. Regulatory Environment

You need to notify the state medical board(s) where your physicians are licensed. There are often penalties associated with not notifying these agencies in a timely manner. Locating the addresses and contact information in advance and maintaining the list with other material discussed will facilitate these steps at the time of the emergency.

For example, it is important to notify the state medical board(s) that the physician will no longer be treating patients. The information they will need includes: the date of licensure and the license number.

Schedule a Consultation

In the event of a sudden property closure due to sudden emergencies or deaths, this guide will get you started in planning ahead. Whether you are planning to close your practice or setting up an action plan, Boulevard Medical Properties can help you.