I have purchased a practice from another eye specialist. The decoration is outdated and I want to make the practice more inviting to passing potential patients. Do you have any tips?
To make the very most out of your space, in terms of layout, patient flow and privacy consider hiring experienced practice designers. However, this can be expensive. I remember when I set up my own practice up we couldn’t afford practice designers and did the best we could with a very small budget. Here are some of the things we did.
We painted the walls brick red and bought some used chairs which we painted and had the seats covered in a patterned fabric to add more colour. We also made sure we had good lighting with spotlights illuminating the frames.
We had one large window to the side of the main door and kept this window clear of posters. We wanted passing people to be able to see inside and to see our frames and our staff at work. We had some low tables in the window with a few frames on. These window display frames were a mix of children’s and adult female and male frames and sunglasses.
We had two individual chairs for patients who were waiting. We decide not to have a sofa as it takes up a lot of space and some people don’t like to sit near strangers. Also, it can be difficult for some people to get up out of a soft sofa seat.
We also had a standard office table as the reception desk. We didn’t want one of those high reception desks as we felt this hid the receptionist and was a barrier to interaction between patients and staff.
Inside the practice, we clearly labeled the different frame displays to indicate the different sections for children’s, men’s, and women’s frames. Our patients were allowed to browse and try on frames, and we made sure there was adequate space in front of the displays, and easy access to a mirror, so patients didn’t have to walk around unnecessarily.
We rarely had any patient bottlenecks but if there are issues with people waiting to pay at the main payment point consider a tablet device that has payment capabilities so payments can be made at the dispensing table. We also made sure that there was a private space for people who wanted to discuss payment terms.
The path from the dispensing part of the practice to the examination room was obstacle-free and flat with easy access for people needing to use a wheelchair.
If you expect your practice to be busy then consider using certain stations for fitting and ordering frames and lenses, and other stations for picking up and adjusting glasses.
We looked at the practice from the perspective of a new potential patient and made sure the reception desk was obvious and that they received a greeting immediately. There was a clear path to the reception desk and adequate seating.
We kept our costs down by purchasing used furniture and by having a minimalist but functional practice that was reasonably stylish.
Think about things from the patient’s point of view.