The Healthcare Entrepreneur Blog

Creating Healing Spaces for the Small Practice

by Sarah Leigh | February 20th, 2012 | No responses

At Vantage, we work with practices of all sizes. Maybe you’re a single PT opening up shop with one part-time front office person, or the head of a multi-doctor family medicine group. Either way, the time comes when you have to think about your physical space and ultimately, figure out what to do with it.

You may have an interior decorator’s eye, but chances are you’re busy concentrating on the 982 other things you have to do as a practice owner. (You know—billing, payroll, marketing, your patients!) Before you run to Lowe’s and grab every paint swatch you can, take a moment to browse some resources we’ve compiled for busy doctors, chiropractors, and physical therapists like yourselves. This week’s topic: doing your research.

Step 1: Getting the big picture right.
Once you’ve nailed down what your mission is (what am I really trying to do?), who your patients are (where do they live? How old are they? What are their medical needs?), and what your budget is, you can start planning your interior space. Of course, it’s not always this simple. You may be renting a suite with strict painting policies, or sharing a space with another medical practice. You may have already hired someone to help you with interior spaces.

In any case, doing some research is always a good idea. I did some basic Googling and found some helpful articles, like this one on interior design for doctor’s offices. (Helpful tip #1: Keep it current and consistent. “Every room, from the reception and waiting area to the offices, needs to flow and be in harmony with one another.”) Another search yielded this fantastic resource page from Whole Building Design Guide on Therapeutic Environments. The page links to some great academic resources on enabling social support, reducing environmental stressors, and providing positive distraction.

Looking for codes and standards? Whole Building Design Guide lists some here. And because the first step in a lot of places (new or old) is in fact painting, here are a few things to keep in mind before you put on overalls and wield a brush. There is a lot out there on the web about color theory in regards to painting. Care2.com has a succinct summary of The Psychology Behind Paint Color.

Like all great design projects, keep your audience (your patients!) in mind throughout these initial stages. Different types of care require different spaces. We’re confident that you can create a healing, welcoming office regardless of budget. That being said, next week we’ll further discuss some appropriate resources for small business owners, specific to your patient base and specialty.

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Sarah Leigh is a graphic designer with Vantage Clinical Solutions, Inc., a nationwide healthcare consulting and management firm located in Bend, OR and Denver, CO. Sarah specializes in branding, web design and strategy, idea-making, and marketing. She is available via the Vantage Clinical Solutions website.