Running a successful practice in today’s ever-competitive environment can be challenging for even the most qualified professionals in the medical field. From constant technological advances to complex changes in healthcare laws, it seems that healthcare professionals need to be more vigilant than even to become and remain profitable. In order to attract and retain patients while expanding your practice, here are 3 tips to get you started.
1. Focus on the Front Desk
A successful practice starts with patient satisfaction — both in terms of creating a positive first impression when a patient first checks in, and building a strong online reputation. The person at the front desk is the face of the practice. He or she can make a life-long patient or a one-time patient based upon how they meet and greet. Here are three ways to strengthen your focus on the front desk.
Evaluate Personnel. The front desk personnel should welcome patients in a family-friendly manner and have the skills to simultaneously handle insurance verification and accept co-payments in an organized way. Invest time in finding personnel who combine soft skills and deftness in multitasking.
Streamline Intake Before Patients Arrive. Customer satisfaction starts at registration and the waiting room. The less time patients spend in your waiting room, the happier they are likely to be with their visit. To make sure their appointment stays on schedule, ask them to download and compile intake forms or use a secure system where they can submit the information online to save time. Many practices risk hurting patient satisfaction because they don’t organize their schedules properly.
Strong Financial Controls in Place. Reconciling the co-payments with what gets deposited in the bank regularly helps you stay on track and identify discrepancies. This process instills a strong financial control in place and can identify monetary loss and theft early on.
2. Connect & Engage on Social Media
Even if you have no time to tweet your latest medical insights, it’s important to pay attention to what patients are saying about you on review sites such as Healthgrades, Yelp, and Yodle. With today’s advancements in medical technology and media, the relationship with the patient doesn’t end with the procedure or with checkout. Connecting and engaging with your patients on social media continues to foster patient satisfaction and understanding of their experience. It’s less about the doctor and more about the experience.
To help you get started, here are two ways to master social media:
Designate a point person. Medical practitioners need to build a “brand” that is known in the community. You can achieve this in a variety of ways, from blogging to interacting with your patients on social media, and doing radio and TV interviews. If you can’t do it yourself, find someone to assist you — be it one of your staff or an outside agency.
Ask for reviews. Asking your patients to post a review on a social site is not awkward. Framing the value proposition carefully can make it easier. To facilitate this process, many medical practices print cards to have their team hand out to patients. They might invite their patients to share an unbiased review of their experience. Their honest opinions may not be perfect, but perfection may raise questions. Encouraging your patients to share their experience will also help you identify areas of improvement.
3. Fine-Tune Operations
Narrowing your focus to just one or two key projects to improve the bottom line of your practice for the year ahead can mean the difference between thriving and teetering on the brink of joining a hospital staff. Maintaining your overhead within a reasonable level and sustaining revenue is the key to running an independent practice. Here are 3 ways to help fine-tune operations:
Re-negotiate contracts with insurance companies. Even the slightest improvement in reimbursement annually can make a difference in the long haul.
Re-connect with dormant patients. Mailings to remind patients you haven’t seen in a while to come in for a checkup helps to keep in touch and communicate with patients. That’s where future revenue lies.
Re-evaluate recurring costs. Billing, invoicing, and customer relationship management software fees can add up quickly, so make sure you are identifying the latest cloud-based technologies to reduce your overall costs.
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Considering space for your medical practice can be challenging with multiple factors influencing your day-to-day operations. Whether you are starting from scratch or in the early stages of planning your move, Boulevard Medical Properties has the expertise and knowledge to help guide you.
When deciding how many exam rooms your medical office needs, consider the types of visits you typically have and both the number and types of procedures your practice performs. An inadequate amount of space can result in inefficient patient flow and less-than-optimal productivity. Too many rooms will result in wasted overhead.
A rule of thumb for the size of a practice facility is 1200 to 1500 square feet for the first physician and 1000 to 1200 square feet for each additional physician, up to 4 or 5 in total. Some professional suites, such as those for psychiatrists, have less need for space while other practices may require additional space for equipment, such as imaging equipment.
The typical family physician requires three exam rooms and one procedure room, but this can vary in multi-physician or multispecialty practices. To help you get started, here are 4 factors to consider.
One of the key factors affecting doctors when deciding on medical office space is affordability. Depending on your financial situation, you may choose to be frugal when it comes to your practice space. As your practice grows, you can consider additional space as needed or relocate.
The space should include (but is not limited to):
Two treatment rooms
Consider space needed and location when considering affordability. A long term lease for 30,000 square feet in a new development project can sign at $17 per-square foot. All the same, another medical space closer to a major hospital can sign at $25 per-square foot. If affordability and cost efficiency is a factor for space, you can save leasing costs by choosing a location down the street at a lower rate.
2. Operational Needs
The size of your medical office should be determined based on the types of operations that will be performed, number of administrative and medical surgical staff, number of patient visits, and size of frequently used diagnostic and medical equipment.
Having the right sized medical office is one of the most fundamental requirements for any practice. They should be large enough for efficient traffic flow, equipment setup, and administrative and operational activities. It should also provide sufficient space for circulation so that staff doesn’t interfere with ongoing examinations.
Bigger, however, is not always better. Unused space in the room tends to attract unnecessary supply and storage items. Blueprints of medical office setups in different sizes help determine the suitability and efficiency. Below are a few floor plans to consider:
Productivity is enhanced with every step you save. An effective office layout is designed with a circular traffic flow that leads from the waiting room, through reception to exam rooms, and back out the reception. This promotes fluidity; less congestion; and a linear, logical flow. Be sure to design the office space considering foot traffic flow. Your patients are more likely to have a seamless end-to-end experience during their stay and not wander off to restricted areas.
Medical records and consultations need to be kept confidential at all times. To respect the privacy of your patients, office and storage space should be out of all patients’ views. Administrative staff needs to store all private patient information, diagnoses, billing, treatments or medications in filing cabinets/storage that can be secured under lock and key or via a combination lock.
Doctors and technicians must have separate, additional rooms for testing so patients have privacy when services, especially sensitive examinations, are administered. Medications, mobile equipment, bandages, medical supplies, and cleaning agents should be kept in storage closets and out of sight. Ensure that everything has its place, sensitive information is kept secure and away from prying eyes, and that all necessary items can be accessed when absolutely required by permitted individuals.
Nobody likes to go to the dentist, but there’s always the inspiration of interior design. By giving the dental office design features a space that feels cozy, welcoming and calming, patients feel more at ease. Here are inspiring dental office designs from around the world that are changing the dentistry world.
1. Our Family Dental Clinic
Korea’s spark of inspiration brings comfort and chic to Our Family Dental Clinic. Designed with brick walls, comfy seats and a stunning ceiling, this dental clinic adds character with an inviting and harmonious look. Combined with round tables and cozy seating nooks, this dental office brings a charming touch to its waiting room.
2. The Dental Quarters
The Dental Quarters in Perth, Western Australia has an interior decorated with dashing one-of-a-kind antique furniture and furnishings. For instance, those armchairs are exquisite accents to an otherwise modern chic apartment setting — bringing a sense of home to your neighborhood dental clinic.
3. Horacek Dental
Horacek Dental features accents found in residential kitchens. As seen here, a simple coffee corner and comfy seating area drastically transforms what would otherwise be a cold and scary space. The chalkboard wall also adds a nice and playful touch, making the ambiance more casual and enjoyable.
4. Dental INN
Dental INN, located in Viernheim, Germany, has an interior design that invites a private dental-to-home office. Imagine organically-designed glass walls with forest overprint separating the areas in an open floor plan.
5. Dental Office, Lisbon
It’s rare to enclose a space with a dark color palette. Some designers try to stay away from black while others turn theirs heads from white. In this case of this dental office, Pedra Silva Architects brought in distinct dark tones to separate between the environments. The actual treatment areas are designed to feel bright, serene and hygienic. An interesting way to differentiate the functions of a large space.
6. Dental Bliss
Dental Bliss, located in Bangkok, Thailand, blends basic color palettes with a warm and relaxing feel that is often found in private homes. The waiting area features cubes in two different shades of white and enveloped in leather — giving it a super practical and modern design. This brilliant design was executed by Integrated Field.
7. Children’s Dentist
Going to the dentist is undesired even as an adult, but can you imagine how terrifying it is for a kid? This dental office is designed to bring a theme-park environment for a kid-friendly space. You have The Adventurer room featuring a combination of safari, exploration, and jungle-themed elements paired with colorful murals and fun accents from a treasure chest down to a genie lamp.
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Redesigning your medical office space is an exciting new chapter in your practice, but planning and designing ahead is vital to your success. Whether you are starting from scratch or purchasing an existing space, Boulevard Medical Properties has the expertise and knowledge to help guide you.
The blueprint of medical office spaces has long-term effects — for better or worse. An effectively constructed medical office can significantly increase the satisfaction of patients, physicians, and staff. If can also have dramatic effects on practice efficiency, productivity and profitability. To help you get started, we have outlined short- and long-term benefits of a well-designed medical office blueprint.
6 Benefits of a Medical Office Blueprint and Planning
Convenience. An effective office layout factors in the functions of each department and their inter-dependability. For instance, it might make sense to group employees who process patient information to patient services so that these employees can consult with each other as needed. Grouping employees who do the same or related work helps to ensure that documents and papers will be shared and processed in a timely and efficient manner.
If you plan to redesign your medical office space, make a list of key tasks all personnel perform, such as speaking to customers on the telephone, examining the patients, or producing invoices. The list will serve as a reference when you begin mapping out the new blueprint.
Efficient Workplace. An effective layout provides employees with the space and resources they need to complete assigned tasks. Work surfaces should be large enough to accommodate files, equipment, and/or tools. The use of comfortable chairs and adequate lighting may reduce anxiety and muscle aches and pains, which can hurt productivity.
Cost Efficiency. In contemplating a major expense, it is important to compare initial costs to long-term benefits. For example, exam rooms. Should adjacent exam rooms be mirror images or identical? Mirror images reduce construction costs by having the plumbing for both rooms in a single wall. Identical exam rooms allow physicians and their staff to develop and take advantage of reflexive knowledge of the location of supplies and equipment.
0.5 minutes/physician x 20 patients/day = 10 minutes saved/day/physician
That is 50 minutes/week/physician, or
Three hours and 20 minutes/physician/month
At this rate, the productivity gains will quickly cover the extra plumbing costs.
Traffic Flow. Productivity is enhanced with every step you save. An effective office layout is designed with a circular traffic flow in mind that leads from the waiting room through reception to exam rooms and back out the reception. This promotes fluidity, less congestion, and a linear flow. Nothing is worse than showing up for an appointment and having no idea where to go. Be sure to design the office considering foot traffic flow. Your patients are more likely to have a seamless end-to-end experience during their stay and not wander off to restricted areas.
On and Off Set Behavior. Nothing is worse than a waiting patient seeing his or her physician arrive later than scheduled. It is even worse when patients do not understand why the physician or staff may not be available to immediately begin seeing patients.
Creating a separate entrance for physicians and staff separates “off set” and “on set” behavior and allows a physician to enter and exit as needed. It increases employee satisfaction and morale. Staff can laugh, talk about their day or plan for the evening, and not be concerned about the impression on patients. Once the physician and staff is on set, full attention and care is provided.
Confidentiality in Space & Design. Medical records and consultations are of upmost confidentiality. To respect the privacy of your patients, office and storage space should be out of patients’ view, with exception to the reception area. Administrative staff need to store all private patient information, diagnoses, billing, treatments or medications in a secure file. Doctors and technicians need separate, additional rooms for testing so patients have privacy when services are administered.
Interior design and décor is vital to the success of any pediatric medical practices. Not only do they play a key role in the comfort level and first impression of young patients, a well-decorated pediatric waiting room creates an inviting space for both children and parents.
Creating facilities that promote healing while offering a safe, comfortable environment can alleviate any anxiety in the doctor’s office. Here are a few ideas.
Colors evoke emotions — positive or negative. The use of bright, vibrant colors is a common practice in pediatric-friendly interiors since children are naturally stimulated by bright colors. However, the use of too much can lead to agitation and irritability. Here a few guidelines in color theory to help you select the right hues for your waiting room and medical space.
Avoid using bright red in large quantities. Red is known to increase appetite, aggression and raise blood pressure and heart rate. It can also make some people feel anxious and irritable, or even angry. Use it in smaller quantities such as chairs or in wall décor.
Use as much yellow as you like since this color invokes feelings of happiness, cheerfulness, and joy.
Blue and green. These cool tones create a feeling of relaxation and tranquility. Blue and green are good choices for large areas such as walls or flooring.
This color sparks creativity, which makes it a good choice for the children’s waiting
Fun Themes for Office Design
Themes are widely popular in pediatric offices because they help put children at ease. They aid as distractions from the upset of examinations, shots, and other procedures. Children are drawn to living creatures and nature, making natural themes an excellent choice. Children are also drawn to fantasy, magic, and worlds of imagination.
Jungle or Safari Theme
Decorate your medical office with a jungle or safari theme. Paint a jungle background on a few walls and flesh out the theme with a lot of greenery including plants and trees. Further embellish the walls with monkeys, lions, leopards, cheetahs, giraffes, hippos, elephants, and zebras. Each of these animals can be painted or applied with vinyl wall decals. Instead of numbering exam rooms, label each one with an animal name such as monkey room or zebra room.
Ocean scenery creates wonder and a tranquil ambience. Paint the walls blue or blue-green color, and decorate them with brightly-colored fish, whales, dolphins, sharks, octopus, seahorses, and starfish.
Consider setting up a saltwater aquarium in the waiting room to provide endless distraction for children. Provide coffee table picture books and children’s books about the ocean to help patients pass the time while waiting to be seen. Exam rooms can also have ocean-inspired names such as starfish room.
Bright, colorful wall murals featuring scenes with magical elements can help make the office seem less intimidating. Decorate the walls with castles, princesses, mermaids, fairies, unicorns, and dragons. Include plenty of children’s books containing popular fairy tales. You can further distract children from where they really are with fairy-tale cartoons and movies on a TV.
In addition to painted murals and vinyl wall decals, handcrafted wall art helps give a pediatric office a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.
Children’s Art. Create and mount art created by children on your walls. This makes a nice wall décor and gives children something they can relate to. Best of all, these young artists can be commissioned for free.
Start by painting the canvas in a solid color that complements the wall color, and then let the children paint their abstract designs or pictures on the colored canvas.
3D Paper Wall Art. Accent your walls with framed wall art made of simple designs punched out of stock paper. Designs such as butterflies, birds, clouds, and hot air balloons add for a décor that really stands out.
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Redesigning your pediatric medical office space is an exciting new chapter in your practice, but planning and designing ahead is vital to your success. Whether you are starting from scratch or purchasing an existing space, Boulevard Medical Properties has the expertise and knowledge to help guide you.