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How to Identify and Manage Difficult Patients

Angry, defensive, frightened, or difficult patients. When you see signs of clenched fists, furrowed brows, wringing of the hands, and/or restricted breathing patterns, try to uncover the source of difficulty for the patient. Don’t get drawn into a conflict. Instead, identify the cause, recognize when the triggers are invoked, and respond to the situation patiently.

For example, a patient who is in pain and has been waiting for an hour because the physician is tending to an emergency may be quite impatient and angry in the waiting room. He or she may respond with, “My time is as valuable as yours. I don’t understand why I had to wait for so long.” Responding with a sincere apology can be more constructive than having your own meltdown.

If the patient is scared about a diagnosis or treatment, encourage the patient to talk about it. This may help to establish a context for the fear, allowing the patient to deal with it more constructively.

If at any point, however, an encounter with difficult patients yields potential harm to you or your staff, ask for assistance from security and law enforcement.

Manipulative Patients

Patients who play on the guilt of others, threatening rage, legal action or suicide often exhibits impulsive behavior directed at obtaining what they want. The key to managing encounters with manipulative patients is to be aware of your own emotions, attempt to understand the patient’s expectations (which may sometimes be reasonable despite their actions), and realize that sometimes you must say “no.”

Patients and Somatization

These patients experience a chronic course of multiple vague or exaggerated symptoms and often suffer from anxiety, depression, and personality disorders. Essentially, somatization is when a patient associates a psychiatric condition with a physical condition. So if they’re suffering from anxiety but aren’t aware of it, they may believe they’re suffering from a physical issue such as bodily shakes or heart issues (such as the comparable symptoms of a heart attack vs. an anxiety attack).

The key to manage encounters with patients who mistake potential psychiatric conditions with somatic symptoms is to describe the patient’s diagnosis with compassion, and to emphasize that regularly scheduled visits with a primary physician will help reduce any concerns.

Grieving Patients

Familiarity with the normal stages of grief and the cultural context in which it occurs is key to managing communication with grieving patients. Look for signs of depression and maladaptive behaviors that prevent progression through the normal grieving process, and treat them. Help grieving patients by validating their emotional experience and making sure they understand that grief is a process. Encourage open communication, avoid inappropriate medication to suppress emotions, and advise against major lifestyle changes in the early stages.

External Factors to Consider

Physicians own attitudes and behaviors, as well as situational factors, may also contribute to difficult encounters with patients.

  • Angry or defensive physicians are more likely to react negatively to patients. Recognizing your own trigger issues and knowing what personal baggage you bring into the exam room can be valuable.
  • Fatigued physicians are often overworked, sleep deprived, and/or generally busier than needed to be at one time or another. It is important that you remain sensitive to the impact of physician fatigue on medical errors and patient safety.
  • Language and literacy issues are increasingly an issue among a more diverse population. Try to allow for extra time for these encounters. Whenever possible, work with a trained interpreter to minimize miscommunication.
  • Breaking bad news. When it is necessary to give patients information that will be difficult for them to digest, preparation is critical. Allow adequate time and privacy, and review the clinical situation. Assess what the patient already understands or believes about the situation and how much more information he or she wants. Disclose the news directly, allowing adequate response time for the patient and others in the room to process the information. After giving the news, offer additional resources, agree on next steps, and summarize the discussion and arrange for follow-up.

Further Reading

http://www.aafp.org/fpm/2007/0600/p30.html

New Year Resolutions for Bettering Your Practice

As 2016 rapidly comes to a close, many people are preparing their New Year resolutions. For the next month or so, gym memberships are going to be at an all time high as folks “turn over a new leaf in the New Year.”

Best of luck to all those who are partaking in this annual tradition, but what about medical practices that want to kickstart the New Year by bringing in new patients and increasing productivity? Well, for medical practices, there are a few key things you can do to make sure you have a more successful 2017.

Increasing Patient Engagement

One of the most important things for medical practices is getting patients to take an active role in their healthcare. Building a relationship with your patients is the best way to do that. Building such a relationship builds trust, and that trust leads to a much better level of patient care. This, of course, raises the question: How do we increase patient engagement?

Many physicians are finding that increasing patient interaction outside of the office is one of the best ways to get that all important engagement. Social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and even Instagram and Snapchat, can provide medical practices with the opportunity to interact with their patients outside of an office environment.

These interactions are a key method of building a rapport with your patients, and can separate your practice from others that are less available and visible to potential patients.

Implement Anonymous Surveys to Identify Problem Areas

If your patients have a problem, in a lot of cases you won’t hear about it until it’s too late. Implementing a brief, anonymous survey can help you get ahead of problems that could otherwise drive patients away. Often, patients won’t open up about issues like this: they’ll simply find a new practice if they think there’s a problem with their care.

A quick, anonymous survey as part of an office visit can help provide you with solid information on the general impressions your patients have. If they think wait times are too long, or they aren’t receiving enough physician attention, you can use metrics gained from these surveys to make changes that can help you address issues before they cause you to lose patients.

Of course, you can also use these metrics to see if a patient’s complaints stem from a problem you have in the office, or if you just have a problem patient. Either way, it’s nice to know for sure.

Improve Your Online Presence

This goes hand in hand with increasing customer engagement. Improving your online presence makes you more visible and more accessible to your patients, but it also lends an air of professionalism to your practice. These days, the first interaction your practice is likely to have with a potential new patient is going to be your website. This makes a good search ranking and SEO incredibly important, as it ensures you will be a potential client’s first choice, instead of their 50th.

Of course, ensuring that your potential patients can find you is only half the battle. The other half is keeping your customers on your site long enough to decide to make an appointment. If you have an older, outdated site, or just a poorly optimized one that takes an age to load, chances are it doesn’t matter what your search ranking looks like. It’s important to update your site every few years, both for your search potential, and to make sure you’re keeping up with the times and maintaining a professional online presence.

There are also more tangible benefits to a modern website. With an updated web presence, you can schedule appointments and communicate with customers with ease. In some cases, depending on your practice, you can even set up remote video conference office visits.

Virtual visits and consultations can free up time to see more patients, and cuts down on overhead. Granted, not every office visit can be replaced with a video call, nor should it, but replacing the less critical visits with video consults can leave more time for more serious issues.

Changing Office Space With Boulevard

If your practice is feeling cramped, or maybe you feel like downsizing, changing your physical location can be a godsend. Then again, maybe you’re looking to open a second office, or a third, or a 10th. Whatever your reason, if you need to get into a new medical office space, Boulevard Medical Properties is here. We can help get you into a new space that meets your needs, and it will be the perfect way to step into the New Year.

5 Things to Do When Closing Over Christmas

Each medical office will observe Christmas differently based upon the patient demographic, the preferences of the practice owner, and the needs of the employees. As an office policy for mandatory holidays and days that will not be observed as holidays is created, a copy should be shared with all team members as they are hired. If special exclusions are needed due to religious holidays, then team members will need to manage this with the practice owners individually.

Holiday pay will vary depending on each category of employee (salaried, full-time hourly, part time hourly, and temporary). The office policy should clearly outline how each staff will be compensated if they work on a holiday.

It is also important to state what happens when observed holidays fall on a non-work day. These holidays can be observed by closing the office the day before or the day after the holiday. The holiday can also go without a day of observance — it depends on personal preference.

The office policy should also address how time off request will be remunerated, how many employees can be off at the same time, and if too many employees want the time off, how you will determine which time off requests are approved.

In summary, the 5 elements of such a policy for Christmas and other holidays should include:

  1. Mandatory and observed holidays based upon patient makeup, the preferences of the owner(s), and the composition of employees.
  2. A statement describing the rationale for holidays chosen, especially religious holidays. (It is not required to observe special days of every religion, but it is important to address the accommodation, if any, that can be made for a practitioner of a religion whose holidays the office does not observe.
  3. Holiday pay for each category of employee should be addressed. This should include how staff will be compensated if they work on a holiday (i.e. double time, triple time, and time off on another day are all options to consider).
  4. Observed holidays that fall on non-work days. These holidays can be observed by closing the office the day before or the day after the holiday. From some holidays, it may make sense to close the office at noon the day before.
  5. Additional time off around a holiday. Your policy should address how that time will be charged, how many employees can be off at the same time, and how you will determine which time off requests are approved if multiple employees want the time off.

Communicate Christmas Closures to Patients

Once the team and office policy on the holiday closure dates and process is outlined, it is very important to communicate what and when the holiday closures are to all patients.

Medical Practice Holiday Closure notices should be sent out at least a month in advance, and appointments should be confirmed and not scheduled on those dates. You can send them via email, posted mail, social media, and the practice website. Also consider signage in the practice reception area so that visiting patients can see it.

Schedule a Consultation

Considering the space and operations for your medical practice can be challenging, with multiple factors influencing your day-to-day operations and accessibility law requirements. 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.


Additional reading/resources:

What’s Needed When Moving Medical Properties

Every business – small or large – wants to operate in the most cost-effective manner, even during a relocation or move. It is an exciting prospect, however, the actual move can be very stressful. In fact, most people involved in the process of moving medical properties will experience high stress levels, sleepless nights, and blame if anything goes wrong. To minimize delays and errors, it is essential to understand the best practices.

5 Musts with Moving Medical Properties

Moving your medical practice to a different office location involves managing plenty of small tasks as part of the move. Here are a five key items you need to move to the top of your list.

1. Notify Payers

Notify your payers and third party vendors (Medicare, Medicaid, In Network Providers, etc.) of your new address and billing information. Notify each well in advance to prevent any loss of timely payments. Add your providers of services (payroll service, billing service, medical waste disposal, maintenance, etc.) to the list.

2. Tell Your Patients

You are required to inform patients where to find your new practice and their charts. The notification can take the form of a letter, newspaper announcement, or phone call. Placing a sign in your office 30 days in advance is also recommended so that you can keep your patients aware of your relocation. Some states also require one or more ways of notifying your patients. It is advised to research what your state guidelines for relocating your practice should be.

3. Market Your Move

After you have notified your patients, you want to make sure your new office move is going to attract new patients. If you are in primary care, for example, you may want to consider creating an announcement to your patients you have seen over the past couple years or list your new business in local newspapers and sites.

Be sure to also include a map of your new location and an explanation of why you are relocating. If you depend on referrals, target your referral base to increase patient volume at the new location. Offering your expertise to the local newspaper or media outlet as a guest contributor on a healthcare topic can also benefit your practice and move.

4. Credentialing

If you are moving to a new location, consider if you will need to be credentialed with a new hospital. If so, you need to determine who is going to help with the credentialing process.

5. Select Vendors Carefully

Professional movers experienced in moving a medical practice are required for moving a medical facility and transporting medical equipment. They should have technicians with expertise in disassembling sensitive equipment as needed, packing it, and safely moving without damage. After the move, the technicians should be able to test and re-commission equipment, making it ready for use in the new location.

In addition to expertise in relocating medical and lab equipment, your movers should be experts at moving exam tables, office furniture, filing systems, workstations, and IT equipment. They should also understand your need to minimize downtime to avoid loss of billable patient hours, and be willing to work with you in completing the break down, move, and setup of the project on schedule.

Vendors are essential to office relocation. Select vendors carefully. Office moves and relocation difficulties often occur when companies simply select vendors out of the whim. Thoroughly vet through service providers for a successful office relocation. Every onboarding vendor should be familiar with the best practices for an office move. Look for vendors that have been endorsed by a trusted third party.

Because your move represents a more complicated prospect than the average business move, use these tips to choose the right moving service:

  • Interview movers before you hire them. Ask about their methods, experience and skills
  • Look for medical moving experience. You need movers who know how to move fragile equipment such as an x-ray machine or IT equipment with sensitive information.
  • Ask for references. Try to get references from other physicians.

Schedule a Consultation

Moving medical properties can be a positive experience for you and your patients, provided you take the necessary steps to ensure all processes are executed smoothly. 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.

References/Further Reading

Medical Practice Lighting: The Best Options

Health and medical professionals strive, every day, to cure ailments and relieve patient symptoms. But success in these areas often depends on environmental elements within the medical practice. Improving medical practice lighting in both color and tone can ease patient anxiety and boost productivity and mood among medical personnel and patients.

How Light Impacts Human Health and Performance

Most medical practices, as well as other healthcare settings, are lit by a combination of natural lighting through windows and skylights, and electric-light sources. It is important to understand how these two types of light sources impact human health and performance. Here are four main mechanisms influenced by lighting:

1. Enables performance of visual tasks

The work environment for nurses and physicians in hospitals is stressful. They are required to perform a range of complex tasks — filling prescriptions, administering medication, and performing other critical patient-care tasks. Inadequate lighting and chaotic environment are likely to compound the burden of stress and lead to errors.

2. Controls the body’s circadian system

When light falls on the retina, it transmits to the hypothalamus controlling the body’s circadian rhythm. If the internal rhythms do not match the workday rhythms, healthcare workers or staff can feel drowsy, tired, and distracted. To help improve productivity and uplift moods in medical personnel and patients, increase the exposure to daylight — preferably through windows and natural lighting.

Exposure to daylight can assist in the following:

  • Reduces depression among patients with seasonal affective disorder and bipolar depression
  • Decreases length of stay in hospitals
  • Improves sleep and circadian rhythms
  • Lessens agitation among dementia patients, eases pain
  • Improves adjustment to night-shift work among staff

3. Affects mood and perception

Different lighting conditions affect people’s moods and behaviors at work. However, mood changes do not remain the same across different people with the same lighting conditions. Rather, an individual’s discomfort, preferences, expectations, and gender impact how mood changes.

Overall, daylight is preferred to artificial lighting and proximity to windows is preferred for several reasons: psychological comfort, office appearance and environment, general health, visual health, work performance, and jobs requiring fine observation. Greater sunlight also improves overall satisfaction.

4. Facilitates direct absorption for critical chemical reactions within the body

Light radiation is absorbed directly by the body through the skin and stimulates chemical reactions in the blood and other tissues. As a result, it helps support vitamin D metabolism and prevents jaundice.

Set the Tone and Environment with Lighting

The lighting mechanics and color palette can set the tone for a healthcare facility, whether it’s the product of renovation, interior design or a new-build project.

Types of Lighting Sources

  • Use energy-efficient natural light where good color rendering and bright, changing visual environments are desirable.
  • Incorporate natural light into lighting design wherever possible in healthcare settings.
  • Provide windows for access to natural daylight in patient rooms, along with provisions for controlling glare and temperature.
  • Orient patient rooms to maximize early-morning sun exposure.
  • Assess adequacy of lighting levels in staff work areas.
  • Provide high lighting levels for complex visual tasks.

Schedule a Consultation

When it comes to medical practice lighting and other patient and productivity-focused design choices, we can help. With a strong history in helping medical professionals secure and set up their medical practices, Boulevard Medical Properties can help you, too. Contact us today.

References and Further Reading

3 Important Steps to Keeping Your Practice Profitable

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.

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 move, Boulevard Medical Properties has the expertise and knowledge to help guide you.

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

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

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

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

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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lisbon-dental-office-2

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

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

kids-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.

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.