How to select seating for your new practice

The seating area in the waiting room is where your patients will often spend the most time when visiting your practice. Making the waiting time as comfortable as possible is a great way to make your patients visit as pleasant as possible. When considering seating, there are many questions to answer and circumstances to consider.

When picking out seating for your waiting room ask yourself:

What is my budget, and how many chairs will I need?

Chairs often vary hugely in pricing, starting with lower cost modular seating and ranging to pricey designer armchairs. When thinking about your budget, break it down into how much your practice can spend per seat. Stretching your budget when it comes to seating is often worth it, as patients often directly associate this with how comfortable they felt during the office visit.

How long do I expect the seating to hold up?

Waiting room furniture is often heavily used, even more so than furniture at home or other offices. When deciding on seating for your waiting room, consider picking highly durable material. The back and forth motion when sitting, known as double-rub, is often used when describing seating furniture. Normal offices grade furniture withstands a minimum of 15,000 so-called double rubs. As your furniture will be more heavily used, consider seating with a minimum of 30,000, to ensure it will withstand wear and tear.

Is my seating appropriate for disabled or obese patients?

Modern furniture is often lower than regular seating, which can represent a challenge for older and obese people trying to stand up. Choose furniture that is higher and wider than you would normally pick, to ensure everyone is comfortable in the waiting room.

Also, ask yourself how important aesthetic and functionality are, and how your seating will be used in terms of how much space your waiting room contains. Interior designers are often a great resource when looking for new seating, as they have the experience and know-how when it comes to selecting the perfect seating that will last for years to come.

Medical equipment: What your practice really needs

If you are looking to fulfill the dream of running your own practice, there are many things to consider. For one, an office space needs to be found. That office space doesn’t only have to be fully furnished, but also properly equipped to function as a medical practice.

When it comes to the often pricey medical equipment, there are two basic choices. Renting and leasing. If you are just launching your practice, it might be difficult to have enough cash to purchase pricey medical equipment. Even when taking out a loan, the downpayment for medical equipment is often more than start-up practices can handle. Leasing medical equipment is often the way to go for many practices just starting out.

Below is a list of a few significant items to consider for certain practice specialties. The list provides a great starting point with only three to four items for a practice, but is by no means complete. For a more comprehensive list of medical supplies, have a look here (https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/documents/product-guidance/894-comprehensive-medical-supplies-updated-list-2014/file).

General Medical Equipment and Supplies

Such as: Stethoscopes, Speculums, Medical scissors, Forceps

Anesthesiology

Such as: Anesthesiometers, Oral airways, Peripheral nerve stimulators

Apparel

Such as: Head or beard covers and nets, Medical shoe and boot covers

Cardiology

Such as: Cardiac pacemaker, Cardiac programmer, Cardiac monitors, implantable or external

Dental equipment and supplies

Such as: Dental and oral implants or devices, Tooth and denture brushes, Denture and temporary oral device containers

Gynecology & Urology

Such as: Bladder scanners, Pouches, urostomy

Laboratory

Such as: Light microscopes , Osmometers, Pipettes

Nephrology

Such as: Hemodialysis connection or tubing kits

Neurology

Such as: Hemodialysis connection or tubing kits

Obstetrics and Maternity Care

Such as: Ventilator, infant/pediatric and tubing and accessories

Ophthalmology and Optometry

Such as: Eyecharts, Phoropter, Tonometer

Local colleagues, and hospitals are often great sources when looking for supplies, vendors, and a complete guide for requirements.

Don’t forget these crucial choices when thinking about your practice’s interior design

When it comes to your practice, the design of your practice will determine not only how your patients will feel during their stay, but also how you and your staff will be using the practice space every day. Planning the space thoroughly will help you make the most of your construction budget and improve your daily workflow. Working with design professionals that are certified and experienced in the medical sector can help you achieve the practice of your dreams.

When meeting with designers and construction professionals, consult them about the following:

Traffic flow

Make your practice as comfortable as you can for clients, adding amenities such as screens and areas with refreshments. Work with your designer to not only create those spaces for your patients, but also keep the traffic flow in mind so it will be easy for patients to find examination rooms. To improve the work flow and productivity for your staff, add passages for them to walk between examination rooms in a timely manner.

Lighting

Natural light is an important factor for patients, and to avoid a “too clinical” feel of the practice space. As natural lighting is sometimes not possible, work with designers and construction firms to incorporate soft light sources to give your space a bright and open feel. Avoid lighting that is too harsh, but keep in mind that patients will need enough light to easily fill out documents.

Color scheme

White is often the most popular color choice for medical spaces due to its clean and serene nature. It is recommended to paint the waiting room a different color than examination rooms to give the spaces a different feel for patients. When determining interior space colors of your practice, base the interior colors on your practice branding.

Flooring

There are many flooring choices available, each having different benefits. Often, carpeting is used in the waiting room to create a comfortable and inviting feel. For exam and treatment rooms, ceramic flooring is used for sterilization purposes. As every medical practice is different, their flooring material needs are different and should be matched to the individual practice.

What patients actually look for in medical practices

Focusing on your patient’s experience in your practice is one of the most important things you can do for your practice and its growth. After all, word-of-mouth is an essential marketing tool for your practice. Receiving positive reviews will help your practice grow for years to come. But, how to receive those glowing reviews and what do patient actually expect from their visit?

Here is what your patients are actually looking for when visiting a practice:

Office

Having a clean and inviting office space is one of the most important aspects for patients and their reflection of the practice’s care. Maintaining a modern and updated office space not only allows for higher productivity, but also makes for happier patients as they will project this to the quality of the care they receive. Having a comfortable and well designed waiting room allows patients to use their waiting time actively to be productive. If you think allowing patients to working in the waiting room is too disruptive, consider adding simple perks like a coffee maker, a TV (provide headphones to not disturb other patients) and magazines to make for a pleasant waiting time.

Staff/Doctors

Patients appreciate and value friendliness, and especially expect confidence above all from their doctors and staff. How your front desk staff treats patients when they first walk in will set the tone for the entire visit. So even on stressful days, pleasant and caring staff is key for a successful relationship with patients.

Service

Patient expectations nowadays go above and beyond a clean office and friendly staff. Having appointment reminders and follow-up calls is just the beginning. Make your patients feel important, and be upfront about everything you do and its associated costs.

Providing your patients with an outstanding office, amazing staff, and great care with a personal touch will make you stand out from competitors, as you will be giving patients what they really want.

Your new practice – The Feng Shui way!

Feng Shui (pronounced “fung schway”) is an ancient Chinese art and philosophy of harmonizing a person’s energy with the space around them. Often times that space is the person’s home. The words Feng Shui translate to “wind-water”. Keeping that in mind, Feng Shui, just as wind-water, helps to guide the energy through one’s home.

But, energy flow is not only important in someone’s home, it can also greatly improve medical spaces.

Color

Green – The color green of the most popular colors used in Feng Shui and medical spaces, as it display healing, regeneration, renewal, and energy. Think of adding plants to your practice, or use green as an accent color throughout your practice.

Pink – Muted versions of pink can have soothing qualities for patients. We recommend to use it sparingly, and avoid bolder pinks.

Purple – Use purple in moderation for medical spaces because of its bold nature. It provides a great accent color for many offices as it projects a calming nature for many.

Yellow – A color often associated with nature, earth, and grounding. Because of its bright and friendly nature, it is often used to brighten up spaces.

White – White is the main color for most clinics and other medical spaces. White portrays purity, innocence, cleanliness, which many associate with professional medical spaces.

Blue – Another popular color option for medical spaces is blue. The color signifies knowledge and hope, but qualities that are crucial for the medical profession.

Seating and Flow

Instead of the usual waiting room seating chart, with molded seating aligned along the wall, try the Feng Shui approach when remodeling your practice. Arrange your seating in groupings and pods around the waiting room to create a familiar feel for patients. Creating intimate seating arrangements creates an inviting feel for patients and helps them make the most of their waiting time. When doing this, keep in mind to group seatings with enough space to allow for personal space, and foot traffic flow.

Looking for furnishing and supplies for your new office? Check out these popular and affordable options!

Shopping for supplies, equipment, and furnishings for a clinic is often one of the largest business expenses every practice faces when opening. Before you start your large shopping spree, do your homework. Thoroughly researching vendors, discounts, and other options can save your business time and money. As the market has shifted to online retail, clinics now have more options than ever before. But, with those options comes the agony of choice and finding the right fit for one’s practice.

Furniture
When furnishing your office, we recommend interviewing interior designers. Professionals, such as interior designers, can often acquire furnishings for wholesale prices. The advantage for a medical practice when hiring an interior designer is not only a professionally designed space, but also a discount on furnishings that you wouldn’t find elsewhere. If you are on a budget, consider shopping for furnishing outlets, or shop for used office furniture from nearby closing offices.

Clinical equipment and supplies
With so many supplies and equipment needed when opening a practice, it is often hard to know where to start. Colleagues are often a great resource, as they have bought those items before and can vouch for the value and quality of certain equipment. If you are completely at a loss, consider drafting up a list of items needed and send it to vendors asking for their bid. Often times medical equipment can also be bought used online from nearby hospitals or other offices.

Office supplies
If you are on a budget, shop for quantity when possible to save money. Many supplies have to be bought from medical supply stores, whereas other items can be purchased from a nearby Office Depot.

Need to rent a space for your office? Two important choices in rental space

With so many choices for rental spaces, especially in the Washington, DC metro area, each one has their advantages and disadvantages. The two main choices are between a “Build-Out” and a “Built-Out” practice space. The former refers to a space that is a newly constructed shell without an interior, allowing you to design most aspects to your liking. The latter is an already finished space where almost all interior work is complete, but only gives you the option of remodeling if there are major design elements that don’t suite your practice- it’s already been “built out”.

Build-Out Space

If you are leasing a space in a brand new office development, chances are you are getting the “shell” of your new space. Leaving items such as wall extents and locations of mechanical fixtures open to change so you can create the office space of your dreams.

Advantages

Creative freedom

Good investment for a long-term practice

You can create the office of your dreams and start from scratch

 

Disadvantages

Most expensive option

Specialized architects and interior designer are needed

Landlord may not approve of all design choices

 

Built-Out Space

Built-out spaces are much more prevalent in the market and are by far the more popular choice for any healthcare professional’s first practice.

Advantages

Lower cost

Remodeling can be undertaken with the help of architects, interior designers, and construction firms

Process is often faster, enabling the practice to open its doors sooner

 

Disadvantages

Less creative freedom

More overall restrictions

Landlord’s remodeling allowance (“Tenant Improvement”) won’t cover all costs

 

A “Build-Out” office is the dream of every medical professional, or any business owner really, but they are often hard to find and often significantly more pricey than spaces that already have been built out and just need finishing. With the right architect and construction partner on your side, however, you can make the most out of either type of commercial space to adjust the design to fit your business’ needs. Make sure to also seek out a real estate brokerage firm with strong experience in assisting clients in the same business as yours; for example we recommend HPRG for any of our healthcare clients. These companies are more equipped to ensure you receive a “market deal” with respect to monthly rent, rent-free months to build the space, tenant improvement dollars and other germane issues. Giving Liberty Group Construction a call today will be the first step to turning your dream space into a reality!

Virtually walking through medical practice before it’s built? Here are the advantages of 3D renderings

3D rendering has made its way in the last several years into many engineering, architectural, and construction firms. And, that’s not without good reason! 3D renderings provide benefits for firms and their clients alike. Those 3D renderings can be done via AutoCAD, Revit, Lumion, Sketch Up, and many other design software. Because of their life-like image nature, 3D renderings are also knowns as photo-real renderings. However 3D photo renderings of buildings and office spaces is not the limit when it comes to visualization of a space. Owners and end users can now see their new office space via virtual video walk-throughs, digital tours, panoramic renderings, renovation renderings and more recently light and shadow renderings. Each of these methods of visualizing a space allows clients to focus on a specific aspect of the design, making it much easier to finalize its direction and move to construction earlier.   Here are four benefits when choosing a design-build contractor offering you 3D renderings as part of your construction project:   Improve project communication 3D renderings help clients better understand how their conceptual design for their commercial space will ultimately appear as a final product. It is easier for many clients to comprehend their needs by seeing an interactive visualization depicting how their space will look, rather than just a simple drawing or sketch. This is especially helpful if any changes need to be made before the construction process begins.   Cost Advantage Utilizing 3D modeling saves construction and architectural firms time and resources, and ultimately adds buffer to the construction budget. Costly mistakes can be avoided using 3D renderings, and the office space can virtually be put to test before the construction project has even begun.   Improve building features Many clients learn best when physically seeing something. Having an accurate 3D rendering of the office space helps clients decide on features and concepts. Even in the earliest stages of the process, clients can now see their new office space and its completed look, and can make changes with regards to design and features of the space.   Accurate Data for Coordination Modeling any space design in 3D immediately opens the doors to BIM (Building Information Modeling) which is used to finalize coordination between construction trades. On top of assisting clients and designers in making decisions on space layout, construction trades can coordinate their work with one another early on to diminish any potential obstacles in the future

Things to keep in mind when obtaining a business license in DC

All businesses that are based in the District of Columbia must obtain a valid business license. The type of business license required depends on the business activity conducted in the District of Columbia. This will determine if a Basic Business License is required, and which other licenses are required to legally practice as a business. The process of starting a business can be easier than one might think, and it is strongly recommended to consult with an attorney to file for the right business entity that fits your needs.   Business licenses can be filed three ways A Basic Business License can be filed in three ways: online, via mail, or in person. The processing time is currently around 30 days for Washington DC applications. If you are in a rush, consider filing for your Basic Business License online or in person. After you obtain the license, it has to be renewed every two or four years depending on the entity type.   Several business licenses Several business licenses must be obtained for businesses with different locations or separate business entities. However several activities may be combined on one application as long as appropriate documentation required for each activity is provided. The requirements for that will depend on the nature of the business. The important thing to remember is that an entity name you obtain for one state’s business license may not be available in another municipality’s, so it’s important to check all the databases before you settle on the name of your business! The last thing any business owner needs to worry about is managing several different entity names across all their territories.   Different kinds of licenses Different licenses are needed for different types of activities businesses engage in. For example, many retail and office operations require a General Business License. Businesses with an active business license are often exempt from needing to obtain a General Business License. Specialized licensing is needed for food establishments, industry, specific services, or medical practices.   The Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs provides several resources about business licenses under: https://dcra.dc.gov/node/545242

Rule of thumb for your new practice: maximize comfort and minimize steps

Having a well thought-out strategy when deciding on the space layout of your practice will have a significant impact on how your staff use their workspace. Nurses and most healthcare staff spend most of the day on their feet, moving around the practice from the waiting room to examination rooms all throughout the day. A well-designed office space can drastically reduce the steps both staff and patients take throughout the office. This makes for less stressed employees, but also allows patients to intuitively know how to progress through your clinic after arriving.

 

Front Desk

Your front desk should be the first element your patients see when walking through the door. This increases their feeling of comfort and safety, as they don’t feel lost walking into the practice. In return, your front desk staff should be able to have a view of all patients from the front desk to gain a sense of control of the workplace.

 

Waiting Rooms

Having an inviting waiting room enables your office to avoid the coldness many doctors’ offices can project. Chairs can be arranged in patterns, instead of against the wall, to create a feeling of warmth and give a homey feel. When considering this, make sure you still leave enough space for foot traffic, so patients and staff can move with ease throughout the office.

 

Examination Rooms

Even a small doctor’s office should have a minimum of three examination rooms, even if there is only one doctor. This improves the waiting time for patients and the workflow for doctors and staff. Medical assistants can work on patients in those rooms before doctors arrive, improving the quantity of patients that doctors can tend to each day. Having those rooms in close proximity to each other allows your staff to quickly go back and forth, therefore improving their workload.