Office Design: 5 Critical Missteps You Need to Avoid

The aesthetic and practical aspects of office design are an integral part to any medical practice. Patients often form their first impression of a medical practice by visual experience, convenience, and comfort. Stained carpets, torn books and magazines, and rude front-office staff can negatively influence how patients perceive the quality of their care.

How to design an efficient and productive medical office space can be subtle or direct. It could be the arrangement of space to the intensity of color and light contrast throughout the office. We have created 5 best practices when it comes to office design.

1. Pay Attention to Traffic Flow

To design a welcoming space, your office design needs to consider where your patients will be entering and exiting from. 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. You patients are more likely to have a seamless end-to-end experience during their stay and not wander off to restricted areas.

2. Keep in Mind Privacy & Confidentiality

HIPAA privacy rules are changing patient registration in medical offices. Many practices are now customizing the registration process with a second patient registration area that offers more privacy for check-ins, payment, and completion of medical records.

The location of medical records and exam rooms should be designed with confidentiality in mind. To respect the privacy of your patients, office and storage units should be out of patients’ view. All private patient information, diagnoses, billing, treatments or medications need to be in a secure file and location. Separate, additional rooms for testing are needed so patients have privacy when services are administered. Storage of medications, mobile equipment, bandages, medical supplies, and cleaning agents should be kept in storage closets and out of sight.

3. Choose Colors Carefully

Choose the color of your space carefully. This could be in the furniture you choose as well as the colors of your walls and fixtures. For example, if you are designing the waiting room, you may want to consider calming and soothing colors such as green or blue. Blue symbolizes honesty, loyalty and security and green is calming and soothing. A touch of pink brings out compassion. Avoid using yellow and red because they may cause aggression, stress and anxiety.

4. Construct Efficiency

Efficiency is the key to designing an effective medical practice. An effective medical office space allows practices to be more efficient and productive, providing areas for staff to work effectively and allowing physicians to spend more time with patients. Design factors could range from reducing the walking space, allocating the proper number of exam rooms needed, locating exam rooms strategically to reduce excess traffic…and so much more.

When space is designed and planned poorly, efficiency and productivity decreases.

5. Separate Entrances for Physicians and Staff

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 (akin to the off set and on set behavior of actors) 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 are on set, full attention and care is provided.

To explore medical office renting opportunities and discuss how you can have your space designed right the first time, get in contact with us here at Boulevard Medical Properties.