Remember the time when clients would gobble up cabinets of professionals? When the office design for a solo professional would include a couple of exam rooms, a consultation room, and a small processing station?
With the steep increase in property rent and a different approach these days, professionals have shifted the theme to consolidation and partnership with other practitioners – be it a hospital, institute, or integrated fitness studios. This helps the providers to share space and disperse overhead costs for items like technology and staff.
If your budget is limited, don't despair. The beauty of undertaking this practice redesign is that you can customize the scope and timeline of the project to suit your practice's needs. Here are some of the factors you'll need to consider before building your new space. Let’s dive right in.
THE SPACE’S ADAPTABILITY
No matter what your space niche is, a new user would only consider it if it contains a certain type and number of amenities. How to make your space the best? Well, just add the best facilities you can ever provide.
Here’s an example showing how a clinic’s revamped amenities would look like:
The Professional's cubicle: Instead of a dedicated professional office, the OPD's can be shared with multiple professionals – freeing up space for more exam rooms. It works as a dedicated spot space to consult clients for the next steps.
Registration area for Clients: With changing dynamics, client privacy should be prioritized and seating area should be made varied, offering more privacy for check-in, payment, and completion of the medical and social history. A positive waiting experience for professionals should be considered the top priority.
Large Exam rooms: Now that medicine has adopted a more consultative relationship between patients and doctors, many patients have begun to bring a family member along. This makes the family member an advocate and helps the patient remember the doctor’s sayings. To accommodate three or even four people, exam rooms are increasing in size. As well said by an expert – "You have to have a triangulation between the professional, the guest, and the clients. And the professionals need to have access to the computer so he can be inputting all the pertinent information from interviewing the clients. Instead of initially exam rooms being 7-6 by 9-6; now it's preferred more like 11 by 9."
Cloud-based IT solutions: Depending on the size of the practice and its choice of technology infrastructure, there may not be a server room or centralized computing centre with desktop computers, printers, fax machines, and scanners. If a practitioner chooses a cloud solution, they may only need a local area network (LAN) and devices with Wi-Fi capability, like for laptops or tablets.
THE CLIENT FLOW: Professional space owners feel the desire to build a new facility when they decide that they needed to expand their centre to accommodate functions – like in-house separate billing and administration.
A well-designed professional workspace has multiple benefits for both clients and staff, let’s say, experts. Eliminating traditional equipment (that occupies a lot of space) can open up space for things like multiple waiting rooms, consultation rooms, and separate check-in and check-out areas – and all of these can improve client-flow and staff-efficiency.
The client's registration room can be self-contained and separated from the greeting area. After clients have registered, they can be moved to a second waiting room – big enough to accommodate family members or escorts for clients.
Not only does that facilitate client-flow, but it gives clients more privacy and a sense that they are being moved through the room promptly. Clients sitting in a crowded waiting room often wonder how long they will have to wait. "Are not sure how many professionals are there. Are you one of 100 waiting for the same person? Or are there 10 professional's seeing all these clients?" Eliminating the need to return to the front desk for check out is often a desired design requirement.
TECH NEEDS OF THE SPACE: Everyone loves to see tech advancements in their spaces. Forget things like IoT, even simple things like an in-office Wi-Fi can be a client pleaser. It can be coupled with a guest login for safety purposes, allowing only the clients to use their in-hand devices while waiting for the professional.
Other things like Client's registration tablets or kiosks allow clients to register, pay their co-pays and deductibles, complete social and medical histories, and even fill out short client's surveys after their visits. All without the additional work of transferring information from paper forms.
THE NEXT STEPS
So what are the first steps once your space has approved the plan for a new build/redesign? Well, before approaching an architect, the professional workspace should assemble focus groups in each department. The user has a clear vision about what it wants and needs from a new space, and it is also important for staff members to voice their opinions on what doesn't work in the current environment. Everyone needs to be involved in the process. It's just not the provider input, it needs to come all the way down to the greeter.