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.
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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.