The Ultimate Waiting Room Checklist

While you may be tempted to forgo putting in more than the bare minimum in designing the best waiting room experience, know that you are doing your medical practice a huge disservice. Rather than just throwing a few chairs and magazines together, you should take time to design your waiting room space with your patients in mind.

Research has shown that potential patients make a judgement about your practice within 5 seconds of walking through the door. It’s really important to make a good first impression, so that your patients will want to come back to your office.

With this in mind, here is a checklist with all the essentials you will need for creating the best waiting room experience.

Seating Arrangements

Start with the basics here: pick out some seating and arrange it. Think about how many seats you will need and how many will fit in the space. Are there going to be families or groups coming in where a few people will need to wait at one time? Do your patients need a good amount of space between them and the people around them? You might want to consider arranging the seating so that people have enough personal space, and not clustering it like you would in a living room. If healthy and sick patients have to sit together, the last thing they need is to be crowded together. Also, remember that people come in all sizes, so your furniture should too. Overall, out yourself in your patients’ shoes when designing the seating arrangements.

Lighting

Another basic that should be high up on the list is lighting. Take advantage of natural sunlight wherever you can, as it will help calm your patients as they wait to be seen. Try to avoid fluorescent lighting as the flicker in these lights can set off nervous system distress in people who are on the autism spectrum, people who have a seizure disorder and people with a traumatic brain injury. Consider adding lamps with incandescent bulbs as they are the least stimulating to the nervous system.

Color

When designing your waiting room space, you can use color to help create a relaxing environment for patients and help tie your design together. Designers recommend light purple, quiet greens and other soothing colors. If you feel the need for something brighter, consider adding in a few accent design elements in a fun color.

Décor

Just like with color, you can use décor elements to help create a calming environment for patients. For example, you can add pictures of landscapes and seascapes to your walls to evoke the calming effect of nature. You can also add some plants to bring about a similar effect.

Relieve Anxiety

It is no secret that some people may be nervous when waiting to be seen by a doctor, so add some things to do to distract them. At the very least, you can help prevent boredom. Adding a variety of magazines about different interests is a good idea. However, make sure that they are current – who wants to read a tattered magazine from three years ago? You can also add things like stress balls, mini puzzles, coffee-table books and other types of stress relieving toys and activities.

Children’s Corner

If your patients usually bring their children along, or your office is a pediatric practice, make a corner just for the kids. Add some toys, puzzles, picture book and more to keep them entertained while they wait.

Cleanliness

Last but certainly not least, make sure to keep your waiting room clean and tidy. You want to portray a professional and hygienic image to your patients, so cleaning up on a daily basis is a must.

Having worked with clients including Quest Diagnostics, USC Fertility and Perinatal and nonprofit community clinics, Boulevard LA specializes in individually-suited, state-of-the-art medical and dental office space in Downtown Los Angeles. We realize that each practice is unique to one another and each deserves their own custom space. For more information about premium office spaces and tips for the best waiting room experience, contact us!

Perfecting Your Office Layout for Efficiency

In order to create a good experience for your patients and to elevate your practice above others, make sure your office is laid out with one goal in mind: efficiency. By optimizing your best office layout, you can create a great experience for your patients, strengthening your relationships with them and encouraging communication. You will also create a space designed for workflow efficiency, patient safety and improved patient and team interactions.

There are 5 steps to perfecting your best office layout for efficiency:

1. Team Stations

To improve efficiency and strengthen camaraderie between your employees, implement team stations or pods. You can place these pods or stations close to patient exam rooms so that the space that must be traveled between tasks is shorter. This also leads to more visibility to the exam rooms, which is also a plus for your staff.

You will also create opportunities for employees to naturally interact multiple times a day. Besides leading to a stronger bond between team members, these interactions might also lead to better patient outcomes and lower health care costs.

If you do not already have a central workspace or do not have a money for a big remodel, you might consider converting a centrally located exam room into a team space.

2. Encourage Engagement from Patients

You want to encourage productive interactions and eye contact from patients, making sure they feel comfortable to fully communicate with you. The shapes, types and arrangement of furniture can all help with this goal. Instead of spending the whole visit on the examination table (which is uncomfortable for patients), consider adding a few chairs to the exam room to help foster conversation. You should also add computers on a swivel arm to each room or give your team laptops to being with them to each exam, so that they may feel free to shift their position to face patients when speaking with them.

The best desk shapes for encouraging patient communication are moderately sized circular or semi-circular desktops. This allows for the both the patient and the doctor to share access to the computer while still being able to face each other for conversation.

3. Alleviate Patient Anxiety with Pleasant Distractions

It’s safe to say that most patients feel uneasy at the doctor’s office. And when they walk into your practice, they pick up on their surroundings that give them clues as to the quality of care you will provide them. Make sure your practice sends the right first impression by setting up your waiting room with calming elements. Add artwork featuring images of nature in direct view, provide a selection of magazines about an array of popular subjects and install a flat screen set to a patient-education loop.

4. Make Rooms Feel More Spacious

The last thing your patients need is to feel claustrophobic, so make sure your office gives off a feeling of spaciousness. Add soft lighting to exam rooms, rearrange the furniture for optimal space and make exam rooms feel more open by placing desks, exam tables and chairs in the best position. Also, make sure your office does not have a lot of clutter, which can make even big spaces feel small.

5. Use Technology to Connect with Patients

Instead of burying your face in your computer screen while meeting with patients, increase your eye contact with them and share the computer screen. Using laptops, tablets and large monitors can help you and your team achieve this goal. By maintaining eye contact, you will help your patients feel at ease and encourage open communication.

Boulevard LA specializes in custom, state-of-the-art medical and dental office space in Downtown Los Angeles. We have worked with clients like Quest Diagnostics, USC Fertility and Perinatal and nonprofit community clinics. Because we understand that every practice is unique, we can provide a custom space for your best office layout.

Why You Should be Holding Regular Office Meetings

Think regular office meetings are a waste of time for your staff? Think again! Regular meetings with members of your medical practice are very important, and can greatly improve how efficiently your staff works. Think regular office meetings are a waste of time for your staff? Think again! Regular meetings with members of your medical practice are very important, and can greatly improve how efficiently your staff works.

Benefits of Holding Meetings

There are many benefits of holding meetings with your staff regularly:

• Keep everyone in the loop: Make sure no employee is left in the dark about certain issues. People tend not to read emails too carefully and you may not interact with each employee every day, so a meeting is a great way to keep everyone informed.

• Problem solve: Meetings are a great time to problem solve. With more brains thinking of solutions to a problem, you are bound to have at least one great idea.

• Be a leader: Show your staff your leadership skills at these meetings. Instill confidence in them about your skills, and show them you can lead them.

• Performance feedback: Nip issues in the bud with these staff meetings. Do not call out or single out individuals for poor performance, instead highlight office-wide problems and inspire your staff to make it right (save one-one meetings for individual problems).

• Achieve goals: These staff meetings can also help hold your team accountable, encouraging them to stick to their goals and timelines to complete projects. They can also be a great time for employees to bring up any obstacles they are facing when trying to complete goals so that you and the team can brainstorm solutions.

• Bond and celebrate: Another great benefit is to provide opportunities for employees to bond and celebrate through these meetings. Celebrate birthdays, work anniversaries and other milestones. You can even start of the meeting with coffee and snacks so employees can mingle for a bit.

Set Yourself Up for Success

Some medical practices have too few office meetings; others have way too many. It’s up to you to find the sweet spot for your unique needs. Try having them once every 2 weeks at first, and judge if you need them more or less often. Make sure they are at the same time and place every week as well so your employees can easily get into this new routine.

Also make sure that your meetings have adequate preparation by the meeting’s leaders, an agenda with action items and a follow-up procedure. Your meetings should have a clear structure, and include things like improvement items for staff to consider, developing solutions to meet the needs of patients, remedies for slowdowns and even a few fun items, like birthday shoutouts.

Learn from Past Mistakes

When planning your office meetings, learn from past mistakes you or your staff may have made at previous meetings. If your past meetings have failed miserably, look into possible reasons why. Sometimes, meetings fail when leaders did not prepare enough or they did not present their agenda items very well. Other times employees complain that the information they got could have just been sent in an email. Learn from past mistakes so that you can make sure your employees can get the most out of these meetings. Make sure to plan in advance so that your meetings run on time and provides employees relevant and useful information.

A huge complaint in many medical practices is a lack of communication around the office, so make sure to include time for announcements in your meetings.

Boulevard LA specializes in custom, state-of-the-art medical and dental office space in Downtown Los Angeles. We have worked with clients like Quest Diagnostics, USC Fertility and Perinatal and nonprofit community clinics. Because we understand that every practice is unique, we can provide a custom space for your office.

Best Ways to Organize Your Practice

If you’re constantly looking for important items, always answering a trivial question from a staff member, continually running out of ink when you need to print something essential and generally feeling unorganized in your medical practice, know that there is definitely a better way to manage. Organizing an office doesn’t have to be time consuming or leave you with a headache. With a few changes and more organization, your practice will be running smoother in no time!

First Step

The first step you should take in organizing an office is to prioritize. Most managers know that there isn’t time for everything, so deciding on what is most important is key to your success. To help you visualize what’s important, make a to-do list of tasks for the day, starting with most important to least important. Know that the items on the bottom of your list may never get done; but that’s okay because they are not as important as others. You can even save those items for another day when there are less important things to do. A daily to-do list can also help you realize what is needed for tomorrow so that you can hit the ground running when you come in the next morning.

Set up Your Calendar

A well thought out calendar planned out months in advance will also help set you in organizing an office. Every month brings about a new set of deadlines, like financial reports, staff meetings, training requirements, etc., so planning out your calendar every year ensures you won’t miss anything. You and your staff should always have a visual of the goals and deadlines you are working for to help motivate everyone. And keep in mind that the calendar can change throughout the year with any new or cancelled events coming up. You can even put reminders on your calendar for big deadlines to make sure that you and your staff are on track.

Open door policies may not be best

Is your staff constantly interrupting you many times throughout the day? If so, you can’t be expected to get much work done with of all the distractions. Of course you need to be accessible to your staff is there is an emergency or urgent matter. However, there are some tasks and problems that they should be able to solve without your help. Make sure that they have the skills and receive the necessary training so that they can perform the majority of their job without your help. You need to spend time doing things that require a higher level of expertise, so make sure that lower level tasks don’t take up too much of your time.

Order Online

Driving over to Staples or Office Depot is incredible inefficient in the world of Amazon and online ordering. Having an employee out of his or her seat for that long can hurt productivity. Instead, look into ordering office supplies online. Some retailers, like Amazon, can even deliver items to you by the end of the day. Also, keep a constant eye on stock to ensure that you do not run out of too many supplies before ordering again.

Consider an Emergency Plan

As an administrator or office manager, you should always be prepared for any situation, from a power outage to an IT meltdown. This means that you should be doing things like setting up a system to back up important files, making plans for fires and natural disasters, have employees’ emergency contacts and making sure important phone numbers – fire department, police department, hospital – are easily viewable by all employees.

Putting into place better organization and a better structure for your medical practice is very important. You’ll be able to set priorities and goals daily, help your employees accomplish tasks and use your time much more efficiently.

Boulevard LA specializes in custom, state-of-the-art medical and dental office space in Downtown Los Angeles. We have worked with clients like Quest Diagnostics, USC Fertility and Perinatal and nonprofit community clinics. Because we understand that every practice is unique, we can provide a custom space for your office.