Canada's Exclusive Medical Real Estate Blog: Education, Tips, Trends and Tools for The Healthcare Professional

Tuesday, 28 February 2012


When decorating a medical office space blending a professional and comfortable atmosphere can often times prove to be a difficult task. Medical office decor often hits the sterile, lack lustre end of the spectrum and most often fails to provide warmth and comfort for anxious patients.
The good news is that there are some excellent ways of liven up your medical office space with a 'wow' factor all while staying on budget.

PERSONALITY: You have a blank canvas to allow the doctors personality to shine through by way of decor. If she/he is an avid hiker or nature enthusiast, displaying pictures of treks abroad and/or nature scenes, earth tone wall colours and decor accents will typically create a calm and relaxing space.

PAINT: Design experts agree: the least expensive and quickest way to freshen up the look of your space then paint. This low cost solution is relatively non-committal and can create a dynamic transformation for a room. Stick with neutrals tones such as cream, taupe, grey and moss green and avoid pastels and sterile white. By keeping your wall colours neutral allows for you to add bold colors as accents throughout your office, such as around doorways and windows.
If you have a chair rail try painting below the rail a slightly darker color to break up the wal, hide scuff marks and better define a long empty space. Create interest by selecting one wall within the space to be an accent color, possibly behind reception. Keep current with the color trends (not what matches old furniture). As well, paint is relatively inexpensive and should be changed out on a 5 year plan.

WALL ART: A few well-placed pieces of wall art can do so much to enhance a room. Great looking wall art doesn't have to be expensive, and it can be as individual as you are. In addition to online art galleries, which offer signed and numbered prints for as little as $20.00 a piece. Consider commisioning a local artist, photographer or student artist to feature their artwork in your space. This option provides publicity and support for local artists, but is an inexpensive way for you to keep your walls current and ever changing. Its a win-win situation.

PLANTS: The key ingredient to awaken  a space is live plants and fresh cut flowers. Live plants bring the outdoors in, they can be changed frequently, and are relatively inexpensive in regards to other design products.

OTHER TIPS: Don't hesitate to decorate a doctors individual office with framed diplomas, certifications, awards and other forms of medical recognition and achievement. It is a powerful way for doctors to win trust and respect of patients. Also a similar method for building trust and establishing persoanl connections is to display family photographs, holiday cards, thank you notes or other forms of communication that have come from patients.

Last but not least, the health of patients is imperative! This is top priority for anyone decorating a medical or health care facility. Because waiting areas are the perfect breeding ground for germs, make sure you select fabrics and surfaces that can be easily sanitized and frequently cleaned.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Moving Doesn't Have to Be Painful...

Moving a medical office is never an easy undertaking, but it doesn't have to be difficult. A move can be overwhelming: You must move expensive equipment from one office to the next. You have to keep your staff happy and productive during the move. Your patients have to be kept informed of your new location and hours. Fortunately by following some key rules you can make your medical office move a smooth one. Below are some of the biggest mistakes Doctors make when making a move and some tips how to avoid them.

You don't want patients to waste their time driving around in search of your old medical building
only to find that you have moved. Start letting your patients know of your move long before your  
change. Be sure to have signs posted in your office making patients aware of your office move. Send patients letters, postcards with your new address and hours, along with the date it will be opening. If your budget can afford it send out refridgerator magnets with the same information. Also make sure you tell every patient individually, as this type of interaction typically resonates positively with patients. Finally a second round of postcards should be sent out after the medical move. This will serve as a reminder to those that already know of the move but primarily they provide the current information to those that may have been left out of the loop.

Doctors should allot two to three months for planning and executing a move. Do not wait until your lease expires to start making plans. Once you have your move date schedule your moving
company ASAP. If your move is to a start up which includes design to construction, furniture and equipment purchasing and installation allow nine to twelve months as an ideal time frame from site selection through to move date.
Typically, there is no miracle month for a move. Timing should be based more
on business factors. Is there a slower period for your practice during which it would make sense
to devote time and effort to move? Consider a weekend move which would allow you to focus on
boxing, moving and unpacking, which can be all accomplished in one to three days if properly

Many doctors will appoint the entire moving project responsibility to their office manager or all staff members which can lend itself to a lack of communication, confusion and an unsuccessful transition. Keep in mind this is your business, so you need to be aware and in control of what is happening. After all, what if your office manager decides to quit before the move takes place. Schedule to be present at project planning meetings, touch base with your manager at least once a week, so your up to date on the details. Get to know any moving consultants that may be hired. Be significantly involved in the overall process.

Medical offices have a large amount of personal files, and you must make protection a priority when managing the move. Choose a reputable moving company that has experience moving medical offices with confidential materials. Also, medical equipment is expensive so a reputable company can
successfully reduce the risk of damage both on the move and in the reinstallation of the equipment in the new space.

A medical office move can be stressful on everyone involved. Your employees take the brunt of this stress. They are involved in the moving process but primarily they are the direct contact with patients. Day in and day out for months your staff must provide the new information to each and every client and manage patient questions and concerns. To ease this stressful process keep your staff happy.
If your staff are packing boxes or storing files on moving day, make sure to provide them with
plenty of breaks. Spring for snacks, meals and beverages throughout the day. And to be sure to
reward their hard work with at least a small financial bonus. They'll really appreciate it.

Getting an itemized invoice or statement that details exactly what the movers will be responsible for
and how much it will cost. For example packing and unpacking: Your time and effort may be worth
the cost of professionals to take care of this. Ask alot of questions: Is there a cost in
changing contracts for in-office clinical or office equipment? Can you get a price break if you
move some items yourself? What does moving insurance include and what does it cover?

The unimaginable does happen! Plan for the unexpected! For example: the phone system is not up in the new office, or your manager is sick on moving day. While you can't plan for every possible disaster, imagine a few unpleasant scenarios and have a back up plan so your move can be successful.