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Medical Practice Design for Efficient and Effective Patient Flow
When it comes to medical centre design, there’s more to consider than simply what the space will look like. The physical layout of a clinic can make a huge difference to patient experience, operational efficiency, and ultimately, the overall success of the practice.
The key behind an efficiently-run medical clinic is the seamless movement of patients. By minimising waiting time before an appointment, transitioning patients quickly, and avoiding bottlenecks, you can increase efficiency, patient satisfaction, and potentially, increase the number of patients your practice can treat without compromising quality of care.
How do you ensure effective patient flow? Here are a few recommendations to think about.
Define Patient Destinations
If patients are unsure where they need to go when visiting your practice, this can cause inefficiency and stress. Clear and easy-to-read signage from the parking lot to the reception area, patient toilets and payment counter – can easily solve this problem.
You can also use lighting to assist in directing patients throughout your practice.
The reception desk is a typical congestion point in medical centres. Ensure your reception area is near the centre entrance, and orient the desk to allow the receptionist to view both the entrance and the entire waiting room.
When designing your reception desk, consider having designated areas for check-in and check-out for when patients arrive and when they have seen their doctor. In a smaller centre, these functions may be completed by the same person, but having distinct areas helps separate incoming and outgoing patients.
Plan for Logical Traffic Patterns
When it comes to your practice layout, plan for traffic flow that moves patients, staff, equipment and supplies in a logical manner. Every stage of patient flow – from the time they park the car to paying for their visit – should flow seamlessly. Patients should move sequentially throughout their visit, with minimal crossed paths with other patients, and ideally, not retracing their steps when leaving the clinic.