Explore this issue:November 2015
Does it matter? Actually, it does.
“Good design is good business,” said Dan Greenfield, the founder of Health Space Design, a medical interior design firm based in Austin, Texas. “How does the overall function of your office impact the form?”
Having an updated medical office space can do several things for your practice. It can help you stay compliant with laws pertaining to privacy and accessibility, as well as allow for effective and efficient patient flow. Such elements can go a long way in helping your practice attract and retain patients. It can also improve staff morale, which can help streamline office operations and maintain good practices.
While patient care isn’t directly related to how modern a medical office is, physicians who pay close attention to their business’ bottom line may be thinking more about how the office looks, said Greenfield.
“In this day of declining reimbursements, doctors are under more pressure to be more business-minded,” said Greenfield. The look and feel of a doctor’s office may make a difference to some patients in terms of whether they return for a follow-up visit.
When it comes to office renovations, “many physicians think ‘I didn’t go to medical school to learn about blueprints,’” said Greenfield. “They are extremely educated and smart, but there are a lot of things they may not be aware of, such as the need to start a renovation project early by talking to a designer, and to have the right amount of space for current and future needs.”
Linking Decoration to Dollars
In the Affordable Care Act era, physicians are subject to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ value-based payment modifier program, under which a differential payment is made to a physician or physician group based on whether quality care standards were met compared with the cost of care. In the past, reimbursements were made to physicians regardless of patient outcomes.
Some builders are seeing a trend in the use of higher-quality building materials, particularly in waiting areas, said Robert Titzer, executive vice president in the Corporate Real Estate Services and PrimeCare divisions of HSA PrimeCare, a real estate and healthcare firm based in Chicago. “Higher-level finishes make it more comfortable for people in some offices, with nicer artwork and small water features to dress up the waiting areas.”