How Space And Function Of A Medical Office Can Boost The Patient Experience

Last time in this space, we addressed the concept of creating a value-add lease by highlighting demand modeling tools to identify geographic locations that best support the long-term business model of a healthcare practice. In this second installment, we explore how space and function can contribute to the value-add lease.

Space as an Experience. Consumer demand has become an inexorable driver of change in the healthcare industry. The change has resulted in a consumer-facing delivery model and an increased emphasis on the patient experience. The patient experience includes variables that directly correlate to real estate: amenities, convenience, comfort, service, and aesthetics. Whereas these factors are also important to the physicians and associates who will work in a given space, we recommend that physicians first look at the criteria from the patient’s perspective.

Put yourself in your patient’s shoes and make a virtual trip to a prospective new office. The use of assessment tools to comparatively score the attributes of the various space options is helpful. Attributes that should be compared include: building accessibility, ease of parking, way-finding, natural lighting, building entrance, common areas, aesthetics, patient reception areas, and treatment rooms. It is a good idea to take the lead from the retail and hospitality industries (as evidenced by their focus on creating environments to attract customers) and recognize that the patient experience is becoming a competitive differentiator.

Flexibility. Considering the rate of change in the healthcare industry, maintaining flexibility in function and design is a prudent objective. To accommodate future changes in service delivery and technology, it is important to consider design strategies that will allow for space to be easily and economically reconfigurable. One simple strategy is to design space based on a fixed grid whereby the patient exam room is a standard size (say 10×10 or 9×12) and all other spaces are an increment of the standard (e.g. procedure rooms are 1.5x the standard, conference rooms are 2x the standard, storage rooms are .5x the standard and so on), thus creating a high degree of modularity and flexibility.

Strategy-First Design. Perhaps the most obvious first step in creating an optimally designed space is to hire the right architect/designer. However, it is important to engage an architect or designer who has the expertise to design a space to support the long-term business model of your practice. That means the design team should have a solid healthcare track record with an expertise in:

  • Lean principles as well as Evidence-Based Design. The Lean design principles are oriented towards efficiently matching design with patient flow and the process of delivering services. Evidence-Based Design has to do with basing design decisions on credible research about achieving best outcomes for the patient. Understanding both is important.
  • Planning to a budget. It is advisable to select a team that can help you pre-think what is important when faced with a budget (i.e. function vs. aesthetics, materials selection, etc.)

The design and function of your office can be a competitive advantage— it starts with you viewing the experience of visiting your office through the eyes of your patients. The next essential step is to engage the best design team. The best design team is the team that understands your business and has the expertise to custom-design a space to: (a) optimize the patient experience for your patients, (b) integrate functional design flexibility, therein making it easier to accommodate changing business models, (c) adhere to budgetary constraints, and (d) optimally match the functionality of space with the workflow of your practice.

Webber Beall is an Executive Vice President of Lincoln Harris CSG and senior officer of Lincoln Property Company.Webber’s responsibilities include supervision of the Lincoln Harris CSG Healthcare Group, which manages more than 600 MOBs and handles more than 2,000 healthcare transactions each year.

Posted in Expert Opinions.
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  • Jimmy Lee Scruggs

    PLEASE… someone help me from Cardiology Surgeons at Doctors Hospital of Whiterock Lake, Dallas, Texas 75228. I’ve had 6-8 heart attacks… several stents,
    If i’ve been found unconscious by EMS at home… they take me to Doctors Hosp. w/o question. I was once stented by a Latino doctor.. twice a Dr. Ari ???? time span 2012 – 2014..

    i awoke with this doctor… the 1st time.. being told a stent collapsed.. causing h/a.
    it was about 10pm.. by Midnight i was rolled into what i quickly learned was an
    OR. I HAD NO IDEAL of what was about to happen.. mind you, they had me awake from 10pm till Midnight. When I knew I was in OR.. a Nurse guy all of a sudden buzzed my pubic area with something and i was bald… i’d awoke before at Baylor then knowing of the femur artery procedure… i’d never seen one done..this Dr. Ari ?? last name i erased from my mind.. he began to CUT ME… i felt hot blood running thru my ass… i raised up cause i usually ignore these crotch look-at checkups but this was surgery with me AWAKE and they had 2 hrs to get an Anesthesiologist… their collapsed stent had caused my heart attack….NO sedation / anesthesiologist at all i’m AWAKE. The Dr Carlos had given me a bad part.. WTF ??? I hollered at everyone… they began to hold me down… i screamed at the OR window nurses were looking in telling everyone they had stuff going thru me and i’m awake… WILL YALL STOP HIM???… i was being held down by at least 5 men and women… i was screaming feeling things traveling inside me… i passed out from anxiety with panic which is in my records.. i woke in a recovery…a damn fighting man cause of what i knew they had done…. as taken to a floor room.. i want to say was on 4th floor.. i demanded the charge nurse… i was a total a/hole to her and the attending who i called
    and screamed at them all thru the intercom… to get their F–kin asses down there… i had no intension of having a sane bone in my body by what had been allowed to happen to me.. i demanded it all go into my record with all them listening.. i want to say i would never forget this nurse… Sarah.. and i’d treat them all like hell the days i was there .. waiting all day on a release the day i was to get out.. when 7am shift did not produce a doctor.. then 3pm shift produced no doctor… i unplugged myself.. flushed the IV.. foubnd my clothes… looked out my room door into the hall and WTF.. the dwn EXIT was the next door… i went down out into the parking lot at Doctors Hospital… walked 3 miles home and by 6pm they called my home to see if i was there… i’d left with what they called ADO’s.. they had called my daughter.. she’s on my emergency call…. they called my son.. i’d not called them to pick me up cause i’;d waited all day. no doctor… my daughter took me back to that Hospital the next day, at saturday for the ER now to remove the IV. i’d not allowed that damn Dr Ari in my room the entire time… he would stand in the hall his attending would see me… and i told them both to go to hell.. i’m angry!! still. when i was there sept 2014… they knew once i’d been roomed… i’d best not know he was again my doctor.. and the asshole was! i went to see the person called ‘Risk Assessment’ an IDIOT woman the next day… she kept me waiting njust too long with not one person in that waiting room but me for and hour because i had no appointment.. it was then to the top of my VOICE.. IF I’D OF KNOWN UR FUCKING DOCTOR ARI WAS GOING TO DO SURGERY ON ME AFTER WAITING 2 DAMN HOURS WITHOUT EVER AN ANESTHESIOLOGIST, I’D OF MADE A FUCKING APPOINTMENT WOMAN! She’s a total idiot. she had not heard of any of this… this was amazing to me.
    her investigation found that a “local” i guess like a dental swab.. which i never
    GOT! is a ‘local’… it’s not uncommon… this she said out of her mouth to me when she set appointment for me to come in…

    I just learned today 12/28/15 that Doctors Hospital had an article written by a Matt Goodman and a doctor at Doctors Hospital was INDITED on 17 counts of illegal stuff… i’m so upset i have not read the story…

    I WANT my records, i want an ATTORNEY for representation… i want all of these assholes to explain to a jury of 12 how this is acceptable for me to understand and see if like i told her that day when i was ‘dismissed’… i hope someday when you’re close to 60 y/o and ur brought into an ER unconscious… that idiots with scalpels aren’t there to cut your stupid asshole out while ur awake woman… i said this to her and left. she said it was not uncommon and acceptable ??? to whom ??

    my name is Jimmy Scruggs… i’m in the Casa View area near Whiterock Lake 75228 reach me at 214-377-9745….

    SOMEONE.. please call me… i tried to leave this writer, Matt Goodman who writes Medical Articles… an email…locate his contact #… i was blocked until this popped up…. this is a COMPLAINT, i want TEXAS to know about these idiots.

    thnx,
    Jimmy