There is a famous saying that “form follows function.” While there are hundreds of operational variables in running an outpatient practice, there are a few that have the greatest impact on the scale and scope of your ambulatory buildings.
High level operational planning drivers that have the greatest impact on total space requirements include:
- Quantity, size, location, and allocation of exam rooms and exam room alternatives
- Quantity, size, location, and allocation of offices/workstations
- Role and location of the MA/LPN and approach to “pre-provider” workup
- Role and location of clinical support staff (nutrition, social work, coaches, etc.)
- Quantity, size and location of procedure rooms and ancillary testing
Administrative & Logistical Flow
- Centralization versus decentralization of registration and waiting
- Quantity and flow of seats in the waiting room as well as use and configuration
- Location and approach to scheduling, telephones, billing
- Location and approach to materials management
The use of technology in the clinical setting is also an operational driver that impacts the planning process. These include:
- Use of on-line or phone based pre-registration and registration kiosks and tablets
- Use of telemedicine including telephone and web visits. These should be planned with the flexibility to support evolving operations
To formulate the planning model that fits your patient care needs, a deep dive is necessary to understand how these drivers will shape the overall design. It’s essential to use benchmark planning metrics to establish appropriate sizes and quantities for these spaces as well as ensuring local codes and regulations are addressed.
It’s also crucial to work with leadership within your organization to establish “guardrails” for operational planning and standards for the facility overall. Following these discussions, the next step would be to drill down to the department level where end users and clinicians can provide their input.
No two clinical settings or medical spaces are the same. We’ve guided clients in assessing these operational drivers as part of their overall planning process in order to obtain the best planning model for their special needs. For more information about how operational drivers impact the planning process, and to answer your additional what if questions, visit us at http://theinnovagroup.com
By Wendy Weitzner | May 2016