Whether you’re an architect building a new medical facility or a healthcare professional with decades of experience, one thing is certain: running and operating a private practice is challenging. More specifically, getting patients in front of a medical practitioner in a timely fashion becomes difficult while navigating the ins and outs of an office environment. With this in mind, how can we improve our healthcare office with patient care in mind?
A staggering truth that practices must face is that, despite their best efforts, patients become increasingly disgruntled waiting to see their doctor. To address their woes, healthcare professionals must ensure that medical staff, as well as their managerial and administrative employees, are working as efficiently as possible. If that sounds confusing, here are a few tips to get started:
- Use digital documents where applicable
- Create “focus tasks” at the start of each day
- Delegate unrelated tasks to free up energy for “focus tasks”
- Consider automated call software to free up receptionists for pertinent tasks
- Give patients surveys related to their experience; use this data to improve the efficiency of your office
Improve Your Staff Quarters
As medical professionals, we often neglect our personal well-being in exchange for helping patients, extending our work hours, and assisting newcomers to our office. However, we highly recommend upgrading the services, amenities, and layout within the office to improve the overall morale of the staff.
To get things started, address your breakroom. For most medical facilities, the breakroom is cluttered, uninviting, and filled with the physical and emotional garbage accrued throughout the workday. The difference between a “good” breakroom and one that makes staff feel uneasy is the orientation of its furniture and architectural layout.
A simple task to address this issue is adopting an open-floor-plan design. Open floor plans allow coworkers, staff, doctors, and nurses to converse while battling the obstacles littered throughout their shift. More importantly, it helps overworked staff blow off steam, decompress and reduce their anxiety before heading back to work. Additionally, new cabinetry, a bar for non-alcoholic drinks, stocked shelves, and open walkways give that “at-home” feeling while grabbing a snack. While remodeling your breakroom seems underwhelming, the benefits your practice will reap are immeasurable.
If you’ve ever scheduled an appointment with a doctor, you know how daunting the paperwork can be. Even for punctual individuals who show up 30- to 45-minutes early, tackling a stack of paperwork eats up valuable time and causes their anxiety to mount. To improve the office with patient care in mind, we must adopt digital solutions.
This means, in a general sense, that patients need to complete their paperwork before visiting the office. To do this, administrative staff must organize means of communication with clients through a digital medium, such as text or email. From here, patients can digitally sign pertinent documentation and send it back to their healthcare provider. Once completed, all patients need to do is show up on time and be ready to visit their doctor.
Focus On Patient Relaxation
Lastly, we encourage you to rethink the orientation of your waiting area. Let’s face it: when patients come into the office for a visit, they’re stressed and worried about the outcome of their consultation. To address this predicament, we must provide an “at-home” feeling while patients wait in the lobby.
First and foremost — find a reputable company that knows how to breathe life into an otherwise dull and bland space. Bring your attention to comfortable furniture, digital displays, entertainment attractions, amenities, and food items that put your patients’ minds at ease. If you’re stuck locating areas of your office with the most foot traffic, consider using a patient flow map.