Starting a family practice is a lot of work. When it comes to office layout and design, taking a little time in the beginning can save both time and work later.
When leasing a new building that is still under construction, it’s possible to design the entire interior layout of the clinic. This will involve total design including plumbing, electrical, walls, flooring and everything involved in building and furnishing the interior.
While this is a good way to design the family practice clinic of your dreams, it’s also a good way to empty your wallet and take on a large debt. Whether residential or commercial, building is costly. Depending upon the area and current prices, it could cost anywhere from $65 to $95 per square foot to complete the family practice building.
Many physicians starting a new family practice start by renting an already completed (and usually already used) building. Setting up the clinic in this case usually involves remodeling, a little or a lot. New paint, flooring and possible fixtures are typical remodeling expenses and much less costly than the building and furnishing process.
Maximize Efficiency in the Family Practice Floor plan
No matter what type of rental situation is in use, it is recommended that the interior be set up in a way that maximizes efficiency. Exam rooms should be huddled together. This makes it easy to go from room to room when seeing patients. A small workstation within the area will make it possible to review charts and manage telephone calls. Most experts suggest a minimum of three exam rooms per physician.
The best laid layouts move patients from waiting area to reception to exam rooms in a streamlined fashion. The receptionist should be able to see the entire waiting area. All hallways, doorways and pathways should be wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs.
Waiting areas should be comfortable and relaxing. An aquarium can be an excellent addition to the furnishings. The waiting area is the new patient’s first impression of the family practice. Make it a good one.
Stocking the Family Practice
Furnishing and stocking a new family practice can get costly if attention isn’t paid to details. The first step is to find out what discounts are available from professional organizations. Ask other physicians where they shop.
Consider buying used furniture and furnishings. Used furniture stores and office supply stores are good places to start looking. Often banks and hospitals redecorate and sell used furnishings at a good price.
When it comes to purchasing equipment and clinical supplies, many vendors have checklists. Consider creating a list and asking for bids from several vendors. Chart materials and office supplies can be found online and at local supply stores.
Setting up a new family practice is an involved process. If starting from scratch with a new building that must be designed, there’s even more work (and money!) involved. No matter which method of renting or purchasing is being used, do make checklists of the tasks that need to be done and the supplies that must be acquired.
Carefully consider layout and use a floor plan that saves time and money. When your family practice becomes a successful, busy one, you’ll be glad you did.