The medical office your patients really want to visit

Are you looking to make the patient’s time in your practice as pleasant and memorable as possible? When done, it not only benefits patients immensely, but also reflects positively on your practice, staff, and doctors. The design of the space is key to how the patient interacts with the space.

 

Welcoming waiting room

First impressions certainly count, so having a clean and bright waiting room is essential to making a positive impression on your patients. The cleanliness of your waiting room and the accommodations you provide, be it coffee, tea and/or WiFi, will reflect on how the patient perceives the overall care he or she receives in your office. An added bonus, to ensure patients will love coming to your practice, are computer work stations, kid-areas with TVs and games, and “Family Corners” for quite privacy.

 

Modern examination room

It is more important than ever for clinics to have modern and updated exam rooms. This ensures that the patients feel safe and that they will receive the best care through the newest technologies available. Up-to-date clinics who apply new advancements in the field are constantly surpassing the competition in terms of customer satisfaction.

 

Caring staff

The appearance of your staff and how they treat patients reflects on your practice, and the likelihood of them recommending your clinic. Ensure your staff wears matching, clean scrubs and that they treat patients with politeness and patience, especially on the more stressful days of the week where patients are enduring longer wait times.

Our recommendation: spend a lunch break in the waiting room and look around you. Examine how the staff interacts with patients and contemplate what could be improved in the waiting and examination rooms. See your practice from the point of view your patients see it.

Checklist you need before starting a practice

Are you considering opening your own practice? You are not alone: a growing number of doctors want to make the leap into independant business ownership every year. Shaping your own work environment, hours invested, and applied techniques are some of the many reasons healthcare professional across the field strive to open a private practice. There are many things to consider when opening a business in the healthcare industry, be it seemingly minor details such as where to get business cards printed, or more significant aspects like the floor plan layout and size of your new practice.

 

Here is a list to get you started when thinking about launching your own practice:

    • Create a business plan, including a marketing and strategic financial plan to alleviate concerns about cashflow and initial capital invested.
    • Spend time meeting with various architects, interior designers, and contractors to ensure you create a team of professionals who have your business’s best interest in mind while being best suited for your long term vision.
    • Conduct market research while speaking with business consultants to decide the ideal office location and whether its best to rent or buy the space.
    • Determine a legal structure and obtain all appropriate licensing, such as business and medical licenses. Don’t forget about insurance!
    • Ensure that the candidates you hire to join the staff will be worth the investment you make in training them for the long term.
    • Setup your office and make sure you are up to speed on local business codes, Tax ID , NPI, DEA, etc.
    • Work on a fee schedule and setup an accounting system.
    • Work with designers on the layout of the space to ensure efficient traffic flow for both patients and the staff.
    • Establish furnishing, equipment placement, and clinical supplies needs prior to placing orders.
    • Establish information technology needs like appointment booking systems.
    • Plan for IT installation and training, such as internet, phone system, and electronic health record-keeping.
    • Choose vendors for maintenance, supplies, payment processing, and other office needs.

Having an experienced partner when opening your practice is vital to its success. Liberty Group Construction has been working with medical practices for the past years and would love to help you get started. Contact us today at (888) 308-6869 and we will ensure your vision of opening your own practice becomes a reality.

How 3D models can assist in perfecting ergonomic design

Rhinoceros, Blender3D, SketchUp or ZBrush are the four big program names when considering 3D modeling.  3D modeling consists of design, geometry, and, in particular, math. Designers, architects, and even construction firms are able to, using special software, give a mathematical description of the object and its surface.

 

Today, architects, engineers, and construction model coordinators face more and more daunting challenges. Structures continue becoming more complex and the field simply demands that as much detail of a building system be shown as possible. 3D modeling, as opposed to 2D design, brings several benefits to overcome those challenges.

 

Efficiency – 3D modeling leaves more time to focus on the design of constructions, as it is easier to ensure that the plan, section and elevation express the original conceptual intent. Using 3D modeling saves the designers time, and the clients money.

 

Precision – 3D modeling allows more precision and control of single design elements than ever before. Every small detail of a building can be separately analyzed and measured.

 

Pricing – 3D modeling allows architects and construction firms to put their building to test before they are built, to avoid costly mistakes for clients. Clients can see the end result before the construction process has even begun, and it allows architects and designers to see the building’s reaction to stress factors and tolerances.

 

In the long run, not only does the construction firm and architect benefit from 3D modeling, but mainly it is the client who comes out on top with receiving a complex yet tested final product. 3D modeling helps the client envision the how their new space will look like, but also save them time and money during the construction and design project.

 

Liberty Group, LLC has been using 3D modeling for their clients for years to stay up to date with current trends. If you want to learn more about how 3D modeling can benefit your, contact us today toll free at (888) 308-6869.

Making your waiting room a pleasant experience for your patients

The average waiting time at a medical office is 21 minutes. This is often more time than the patient actually spends with the doctor, therefore making a large impact on how the patient perceives the quality of care.

Below are tips for designing your waiting room to make a positive impact on your patients:

    • Patients love to use their waiting time actively. A flat screen displaying the news and a stack of magazines can only take you so far. Free WiFi is often the minimum a client expects in a waiting room. If you are looking to go a step further than that, think about setting up small desks or workstations so your patients can use the waiting time actively. If a patient can feel productive and amused while waiting for their appointment they may feel as if there was no wait at all!
    • Patients want to take control. Most patients dislike being seated in a hard chair next to strangers waiting for their appointment. Giving patients some control back will help improve their overall experience. Consider giving your patients space to sit in the children’s corner, have coffee on a communal table, or setup a muted tv. Additionally, alert patients on a screen, or via text alerts when their appointment is coming up. This has been one of the most requested features by patients in the last several of years.
    • Patients love being pampered. Setting up a coffee bar and tea bar is a great bonus to shorten and ease the waiting time for clients. Think about going further and leaving a real impression, like some dentists who offered massage chair for waiting parents. A dentist that posted their waiting room massage chairs garnished over 1000 likes on Instagram which doubled as free advertising for the practice.

No matter if you want to improve your waiting room, or entire practice, Liberty Group, LLC is here to assist you.

Should I Hire an Independent Contractor or an Employee?

At first glance, hiring an independent contractor or an employee may seem similar, but there are enormous disparities between the two. The law has very different specifications for employees and contractors, and organizations bear different short- and long-term costs depending on what type of worker is hired.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of hiring a full-time employee (FTE) or a contractor.

Contractor vs. Employee Costs

The costs of hiring an independent contractor versus a full-time employee are often grossly misunderstood. That’s because there’s quite a bit to consider. Recruiting, onboarding, training, overhead, equipment, insurance, healthcare, taxes, and other variables factor into the costs of hiring an FTE or a contractor.

Because of all the confusion around hiring costs and benefits, we recommend using a hiring calculator to try to estimate the true costs of a contractor or employee.

Pros of Hiring a Contractor:

    • Hiring independent contractors saves on some of the costs that are typically associated with full-time employees. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, benefits alone can account for more than 30% of total employee compensation. This year, employers spend an average of $10.70 per hour per employee on benefits!
  • Benefits
  • Private Industry
  • State and Local Gov
  • Paid leave
  • 6.9
  • 7.2
  • Supplemental pay
  • 3.6
  • 0.8
  • Insurance
  • 8.1
  • 12.0
  • Retirement and savings
  • 3.8
  • 10.6
  • Legally required
  • 7.9
  • 5.8
  • If you have an underperforming employee, it may be challenging to let that person go. Many businesses hold on to low-performing employees, as they work through the training and legal processes of termination. These poor performers can affect the larger group and reduce productivity by as much as 30%! If a contractor is performing poorly, it’s often much easier to part ways from a legal, cultural, and team morale perspective.
  • Additionally, hiring a contractor offers budget flexibility throughout the year, allowing you to bring on contract help only when you really need it. This can be especially helpful for agencies or other professional service organizations who have varying client workload by month or even week.

Cons of Hiring a Contractor:

  • It may be more difficult to manage, train, and supervise contractors. These independent workers often have greater autonomy than FTEs. An independent contractor also does not have the same obligations to management and may not make decisions that support the long-term best interests or vision of the company.
  • Sometimes the hiring organization sets the pay for an independent contractor position, and other times, the contractor does. Because independent contractors charge different fees, controlling costs can be a challenge, especially if you are passing these costs on to your clients.
  • Unless you spend additional funds, you may not own the copyright of works created by an independent contractor. This is especially true for design or other labor-intensive work that may require future revisions or updates. In contrast, if an employee creates similar work, you typically own the IP and have full control over any assets.

Capacity to Hire

Does your business need to expand its capacity? Does it need to do that all year long, or just for the short term?

Contractor Pros:

  • Hiring independent contractors allows your team the flexibility to ramp up when your business is strong, and scale back when things cool down.
  • Hiring contract employees means you can carve out a specific number of hours for a particular project or task, which when correctly managed, can keep costs down.
  • You may need highly specialized skill sets that aren’t readily available in your current workforce. Independent contractors can provide expertise and offer strategic counsel to your full-time employees or complement your team during a specific project.

Contractor Cons:

  • Sometimes it can be hard to rely on independent contractors to deliver exactly what you need when you need it, due to their availability.
  • If you request work with short turnaround, contractors may charge a rush fee that can significantly add to the cost of your project.
  • Certain employees may not appreciate working with contractors, and clear policies must be set in place to ensure that both FTEs and contractors are in a safe and friendly work environment.

The Liability

Regardless of what type of employee you ask to join your team, there are risks associated with the process.

Contractor Pros:

  • Working with independent contractors exonerates your business from many of the liabilities that can come with hiring FTEs, such as on-the-job injuries. This is why some higher risk industries require that contractors carry their own liability insurance.

Cons:

  • Classifying independent contractors is a tricky job and can vary by state. If it’s determined that your independent contractor is actually an employee, you could be hit with some hefty penalties and back payments. (Not to mention what might happen if the contractor is injured on the job, and they turn out to be an employee.) If you’re unsure if your employee is truly independent, the IRS has put together a handy guide that should help you better understand employment status. (We also recommend that you speak with a lawyer or HR representative who can help confirm you are operating your business the right way.)
  • As an employer, you could be held liable for your employees’ injuries or misconduct while on the job. This can also reflect negatively on your brand and impact future sales, investments, etc.

Onboarding Employees vs. Contractors

According to our friends at the Society for Human Resource Management, onboarding is “the process by which new hires get adjusted to the social and performance aspects of their jobs quickly and smoothly, and learn the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and behaviors required to function effectively within an organization.” Onboarding is a tremendously important part building employee engagement and ensuring that new team members are as successful as they can be.

Contractor Pros:

  • Independent contractors usually require a much less involved onboarding process. They rarely need to same level of education around company history, culture, and vision. This can save the team time and money, as contractors should be be able to get started on their projects relatively quickly.

Contractor Cons:

  • Because contractors often receive very limited onboarding, they may unintentionally make decisions or take actions that do not align with the company’s vision, values, or interests.
  • If you’re used to having things done a certain way, it may be difficult to ensure independent contractors are following your process. They may be flexible enough to adopt some of your procedures, but it’s possible you’ll be adopting theirs. So in this case, it’s possible that you’re the one who may need onboarding. (Which is not ideal!)

The Culture

Is the project offsite or onsite? This makes a big difference in how company culture factors in.

Contractor Pros:

  • While you want your company values to align with your contractor, if for some reason they don’t, it’s much easier to end this relationship than it is with a full-time employee.

Contractor Cons:

  • Even if you and your contractor stay in touch on a regular basis, it can sometimes feel like there’s a greater disconnect than an employee relationship. Luckily with apps like Slack, offsite contract employees can feel like part of a team — but it’s not always the same. For example, it can be awkward to host team building or other events and invite your local employees but not your contractors.

Want More Information on Contractors vs. Employees?

There’s a lot of great articles out there on ye olde internet machine. Here are a few we recommend!

Planning on opening a clinic? Here are some valuable tips to pick the ideal location!

Picking the location for your new medical space might be one of the most important business decisions you will make. After all, the real estate adage “Location, location, location” is vital to the overall success of your new practice.

Here is what to keep in mind when looking for the perfect practice location:

Demographic

Population size is one of the most important aspects when considering the location of your practice. The denser in population in a particular region, the higher the chance your practice will succeed, as there are more potential patients in that area. If you work in a specified medical field, for example pediatric, consider opening your practice in a family-friendly and child-rich area.

Competition

Look around the area you are considering as your new practice location and ask yourself the following questions:

    • How many medical practices are in the immediate area?
    • How do they position themselves?
    • Do you have any advantage, for example additional certifications, over your competitors?
    • What are their reviews, and are patients looking for a change?

Accessibility

When choosing your clinic location, consider parking, traffic patterns, and the accessibility of your office. The more convenient it is for patients to get to your office, the more likely it is for your patients to choose your practice over the practice of your competitor. Ask  yourself the following:

    • Is there a private lot, or easy street parking available?
    • Are patients able to use public transport to visit your practice?
    • Is your practice easy to find and visible from the streets outside?
    • Are you able to mount signage to make it more clear where your office is located?

There are an indefinite amount of factors involved when it comes to finding the ideal business location and therefore it is recommended you work with an experienced real estate agent or business consultant to help you get your business started on the right track. Please contact Liberty Group Construction if interested in our business consultation services.

Design changes in your office that can significantly improve a patient’s experience

First impressions always count. When your patient steps into your waiting room, there are many subtle yet significant interactions that can define that experience. Patients take in everything from the friendliness of your front desk staff and the cleanliness of your waiting room, to the accessibility of your practice. But, most importantly, and often overlooked, the patient will notice the layout of the space itself.

The first area your patient will see and spend time in will always be your waiting room.

 

Ask yourself the following questions when considering the design of the waiting room:

  • Layout: Is it easy and accessible for patients to walk to the treatment room? Is there a clearly designated, comfortable area to fill out paperwork?

Key Note: First and foremost, think of the traffic flow of the office as the most important element to consider, as this will be the most challenging design to change later.

  • Seating: Are the seats comfortable for clients, keeping in mind longer waiting periods? Is there enough seating for families, and can seats be easily moved so parents can sit with their children?

Key Note: To maintain flexibility and comfort, opt for separate chairs with soft fabric covers instead of connected hard-shell seating..

  • Artwork and lighting: Is there something relaxing for patients to look at to ease the waiting time? Is the lighting bright enough for clients to read available literature, but soft enough to make the waiting room not feel too clinical or add glare to TVs?

Key Note: Use soft lighting, and natural, neutral paint colors with pops of artwork to make your practice as relaxing and inviting as possible for patients, while still maintaining a unique interior design.

All of these elements shape your patient’s experience in the waiting room. The way visitors experience your space can easily shape the patient’s experience in a positive or negative way. Take advantage of this and take the time needed with your designer and contractor to create a relaxing and well-functioning space for all occupants.

Is your practice up to date? – Current trends in dental practice design

Interior design trends change every year, and medical practice design is no exception. With social media advertising and online business reviews increasing in popularity, it is more important than ever for practices to stay up-to-date with the latest design trends and leave a lasting impression. The modern design and functionality of medical spaces are just as important for patients as the cleanliness, and healthcare professionals in all sectors are taking advantage of this.

Here is what to consider when wanting to stay up to date with current trends:

Color

  • Color themes are not only important in your branding materials and website. More and more practitioners apply the colors used in their branding to their physical practice space. If your branding features include bright tones, choose a bright accent or that specific shade as a “pop of color” in minor design elements throughout your space. Muted and neutral colors are still key here to maintain a calming practice environment.

Advertising Features

  • If you own a dental clinic, then your patients strive for the perfect smile. Attractive artwork, images, and advertisements of bright white smiles and successful treatments have become a trend. The same applies with compelling images of facial features if you are a dermatologist. Conveying the desirable results of your trade is a great way for your practice to advertise its services, while easing the patient’s waiting time with positive images.

Infection Control

  • As healthcare sanitary codes become more stringent, requiring practices to enforce high hygiene control, an increase in the use of ceramic materials for flooring has been trending. Ceramic floors and quartz countertops not only ease cleaning efforts, but also allow for larger sterilized spaces.

If you want to take advantage of current design trends too, contact Liberty Group Construction for a consultation at (888) 308-6869.

Healthcare Flooring

Flooring for Healthcare Environments.

An increasing volume of research shows that the physical environment in which patients are cared for and in which caregivers work has a measurable impact on them. It is estimated that more than 1,000 research studies illustrate how healthcare design can improve patient care, enhance medical outcomes, and reduce medical errors and waste. As a result, the use of this research in the design of healthcare environments is sweeping the field. The process, referred to as evidence-based design (EBD), calls for design decisions about the built environment to be based on credible research to achieve the best possible outcomes, according to the Center for Health Design.

Today’s hospital executives are embracing EBD principles as a guide to help them do more with less. They have a financial responsibility to ensure that the decisions being made about their capital investments achieve a number of important objectives:

  • Improve patient and staff safety

  • Reduce medical errors

  • Reduce patient and staff stress

  • Speed patient healing and improve patient outcomes

  • Improve the patient and family experience

  • Improve staff effectiveness and satisfaction

  • Positively impact the bottom line

Flooring is an especially important design element within the healthcare environment. Not only is it necessarily found in all spaces, but the type of flooring specified greatly influences the outcome of each space. We advice our clients to evaluate this decision very carefully when designing their new office space. The investment on properly designed flooring materials can save the business much more in the long run.  

For even more information visit:

Source: interiors+sources

Are you EPA Compliant?

EPA has promulgated pretreatment standards to reduce discharges of mercury from dental offices into publicly owned treatment works (POTWs).

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that bioaccumulates in fish and shellfish. Mercury pollution is widespread and a global concern that originates from many diverse sources such as air deposition from municipal and industrial incinerators and combustion of fossil fuels.

Key facts about dental clinics and mercury:

  • Dental clinics are the main source of mercury discharges to POTWs.

  • EPA estimates about 103,000 dental offices use or remove amalgam in the United States; almost all of these send their wastewater to POTWs.

  • Dentists discharge approximately 5.1 tons of mercury each year to POTWs; most of this mercury is subsequently released to the environment.

Every time an amalgam filling is placed or removed, tiny particles can bypass chair side traps and make their way into the waterways. Dentists can virtually eliminate this problem by installing an amalgam separator, which captures 99% of mercury waste before it enters our wastewaters.

Compliance

The effective date of the rule is July 14, 2017.

Dental offices that place or remove amalgam must operate and maintain an amalgam separator and must not discharge scrap amalgam or use certain kinds of line cleaners.

 Existing Dental Offices

Existing dental offices must comply by July 14, 2020. Existing amalgam separators may be operated for their lifetime or ten years, whichever comes first.When a separator needs replacement, or the ten-year period has ended and the separator does not meet the standard of the final rule, a dental office must replace it with one that meets the requirements of the final rule.

New Dental Offices

The compliance date for new dental offices (“new sources”) is the effective date of the rule.

Reporting Requirements

Existing and new sources must submit a one-time compliance report. See the Federal Register notice for details. EPA has not prepared an example compliance report at this time.

For even more information visit:

Source: EPA.gov