How Big Should Your Medical Office Be?

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.

1. Affordability

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
  • Front office
  • Doctor’s space
  • Reception area
  • Restroom

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:

3. Traffic Flow & Accessibility

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.

4. Confidentiality

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.

Schedule a Consultation

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 office layout and calculating the space required, Boulevard Medical Properties has the expertise and knowledge to help guide you.

7 Inspiring Dental Office Designs from Around the World

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Schedule a Consultation

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.

6 Benefits of a Medical Office Blueprint

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.

To help you calculate, let’s take a look. Suppose a physician sees an average of twenty patients per day, and assume the identical layout saves a physician an average of thirty seconds per patient compared to the mirror image layout.

  • 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.

Schedule a Consultation

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.

Design Tips for Pediatric Medical Practices

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.

Color Schemes

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 Theme

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.

Fantasy Theme

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.

Wall Décor

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.

Schedule a Consultation

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.

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.

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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.

Medical Office Security: Best Practices

Medical office security is top of mind for every practice, no matter what size. There are many steps that can be taken to improve security, many of which require inexpensive outlays and measures. To find out what is best for your medical practice, it’s suggested you hire a security consultant to visit the premises and conduct a thorough security analysis. This review can identify weak spots and provide a clear action plan for upgrading security.

To help get you started, we have compiled a best practice guide for your office security. Avoid the pitfalls of keeping your property protected while away; our guide can give you the tips for planning and effectively working with your security consultant and team.

Where to Get Started

The best place to start when examining security is the physical layout of the premises itself, or the layout of the larger building of which your medical practice is a part of. Design should take in wide, open areas with clear sight lines, hallways and offices with no nooks or crannies where an intruder could hide in the shadows.

Keep areas within the property well lit; especially after hours when employees might be working alone or in small groups. Doors and windows are the most obvious access points to an office and should be secure. You should avoid double doors as they are easily hinged open. Entrance way doors, specifically those used for deliveries, should be steel to add security and aid in fire protection. Door hinges should face inward and use non-removable pins and screws. Combination locks on washrooms and other common areas are also an excellent option for added security.

Here are other suggestions to help increase security in your medical office:

  • Install key-card access systems at main and side entrances for staff.
  • Upgrade perimeter control systems with intercoms and closed circuit monitoring devices.
  • Keep master and extra keys locked in a security office.
  • Have a back up communication system, like two-way radio.
  • Arrange office space so suspect visitors can be easily noticed.
  • Have staff follow strict access control procedures.
  • Keep important and confidential documents locked in secure cabinets.
  • Keep office areas neat and orderly to identify strange objects.
  • Lock closets, service openings, telephone and electrical closets at all times.
  • Keep publicly accessible restroom doors locked and set up a key control system.

An Additional Security Tip to Implement

Aside from the general guidelines and tips (listed above), consider implementing this security measure:

Set Up Secure Areas in the Building. Consider maintaining one or more “secure rooms” on your premises. This area can serve as a retreat in case of intrusion or other danger. You should equip the room with:

  • First aid equipment
  • Phone and backup communication equipment
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Bomb blankets and hardened walls
  • Sand bags
  • Emergency tool kit
  • Extra food and clothing
  • Large flashlight and batteries

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In general, you need to ensure that medical office security is a measure to be installed in advance. Additional security steps ensure heightened safety when employees and staff are away. Whether your medical practice is new or established, Boulevard Medical Properties has the expertise and knowledge to help guide you. Avoid the pitfalls of securing your property; our expert staff can give you the tips for planning and effectively securing your medical office.

How Smart Technology is Revolutionizing Healthcare

Smart technology is increasingly popular, and it is not new to healthcare either. Although it may not be as prevalent as it is commercially, smart technology is a major topic for medical suites and hospitals today. It’s all about gathering, sharing and using information with the lofty aspirations of improving care while also cutting costs.

The emphasis is on functional interoperability of medical devices and systems to develop a fully interconnected medical institution where data is seamlessly linked and readily available among devices and systems, particularly in electronic health records. But the question lingers, is it worth the investment?

4 Benefits of Smart Technology in the Medical Industry

An intelligent medical suite is based on a combination of existing technologies that are designed, set up and integrated to share data in real-time; and ultimately to provide an enhanced level of clinical information to enable diagnosis, to monitor treatment, and to provide data to see how your practice is performing. 4 key ways adopting smart tech can help are:

1. Increase Medication Compliance

Mobile technology can help patients adhere to their medication orders. It can provide patients with pertinent information on why medical adherence is necessary, especially prescription adherence. The technology can send patients messages and updates, providing them easy, convenient access to readily available information.

Smart technology can calculate when a prescription will run out and send the patient a reminder to get a refill. When the patient refills their prescription, smart tech can send dosage reminders and ask the patient if they took their medication or not.

These capabilities offer medical suites a resource to help lower medication noncompliance and to reduce readmissions.

2. Improve the Post-Treatment Process

Smart technology is a medium for patients and medical suites to monitor hospital discharge instructions and double-check prescriptions. This convenience helps improve medication accuracy and patient safety.

Patients receive a lot of paperwork and instructions upon discharge from their in- or out-patient care. This is not conducive to patients remembering detailed treatment and post-evaluation care (i.e. prescription requirements). Tech can help patients recall the information they receive at discharge by sending post-treatment instruction reminders.

3. Granting Patients Access to Health Information

Given many people now tend to Google possible causes of health issues, embracing smart technology that provides accurate information is a must. Current technology can help medical suites and healthcare professionals realize the value in storing and monitoring a patient’s historical information.  Making information that is already accumulated and stored about a patient readily available improves evidence-based practice standards.

4. Bigger Data for Improved Healthcare

Smart technologies can provide physicians information on the newest and greatest evidence-based medical best practices. Mobile applications can be developed to track health outcomes and evaluate where deviations from expected outcomes occurred and why; allowing medical professionals to identify areas for improvement.

Big data may improve the healthcare system’s ability to assess population health. Mobile technologies can use applications to track health trends as an early indicator of emerging health issues.

Things You Should Consider before Investing in Smart Tech

Smart tech is revolutionizing the way patients and physicians connect, access and analyze information, and communicate.

While this technology has many great implications, it also raises red flags among some practitioners. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has issued and amended their oversight to specific mobile medical applications and how they are used to perform diagnostics. This evolving legislative landscape highlights the dangers associated with use of mobile technology:

  • Data Privacy. Free and paid apps may send unencrypted data to advertisers and third party data analytics firms. This information is used for behavioral tracking, transmitting detailed personal information to advertisers.
  • HIPAA Concerns. Many medical practices are aware of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). However, many app developers haven’t considered the importance of HIPAA compliance as required by the medical profession. Up to 50% of health apps have vague or non-existent privacy policies. Some fail to use encryption technology to protect data breaching during the transmission and storage of sensitive information.
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