“Michelle Leblanc, a senior Montréal Designer, has been in commercial design for twelve years. Over the years, she has created hundreds of concepts, furniture and design for commercial needs. Now she’s become concerned about many of today’s chiropractic realities and clinics needs.
This has led her to begin envisioning the clinic of the future, based on her personal experience, intuitive sense, reading, and comments heard from doctors all over.
In the following article, Ms. Leblanc shares her vision with respect to a potential model for the office of the future.“As the profession evolves, she predicts, “although purpose, procedures, personal goals, and professionalism will always be at the forefront of service, support will be found in technology, patient education, and research.”
Trends and Consumer Habits
Time, time, time! It’s becoming more and more precious, so offer people time-saving services:
• Additional professional services under the same roof, such as massage, nutritional counseling, acupuncture, even private medical services, etc.;
• Affiliated products, such as supplements, etc.;
• Workshops and special classes on personal development, yoga, etc.
Create a wellness model in your community. If this is your goal, everything you do must be congruent with your vision. If your clinic cannot house all these extras, then locate in a building where complementary services to your care are offered. People will be asking for them, as the trend is towards wellness and quality of life. The move is toward an integrated health system, so offering these services yourself will put your clinic in a better position.
Low overhead practices are the future. There will also be a shift in source of income, so envision serving more people, at reasonable rates, keeping in mind that, for some, making this shift may involve redesigning the clinic and adding intelligent technology. If income from adjustment is what you’re relying on most, you’ll be missing the trend. Income from other professional and ancillary products could boost your income by 20%-30%; besides which, everyone wins. Have a product display set up in your reception area (see Reception photo).
Imagine a small, central facility, offering digitized radiology, owned by five doctors practicing in five locations within a five-mile radius. Each clinic sends its patients to the facility for initial and comparative X-rays, providing the doctors with immediate, on-line results. This would only be possible if a centralized, web-based system for chiropractic were used. As well, all the appointment books would be on-line, so this central facility could also take all new patient appointments for each of the clinics…a great way to reduce personal office space and staff, and increase profits.
Design and Architecture
Remember that you are offering more than a service: you’re offering an experience for all the senses. A calm, yet stimulating environment will be very welcome in a society that needs to relax, so adapting the design of your clinic may be important.
• Lots of light, a water fountain, plants, and appropriate ambience music
• An in-and-out welcome desk (improves traffic and energy flow and enhances privacy)
• Do away with the waiting room. Provide a hospitality area instead, with a wellness info center in the adjusting area (where people wait).
• The perception of ‘‘waiting’’ is lessened when patients are spending this time learning, which is also a part of their care. Display recommended books in the info center, an article-of-the-week on health, chiropractic, healthy food, a recipe-of-the-week, information on supplements, any latest research, and testimonials. Access also this vital information on the computer and then print it out.
• Provide seats equipped with small computer screens. A fingerprint reading allows patients to access educational information targeting their health condition, as recorded in their electronic patient file. Patients can schedule their next workshop, read about supplementation, exercise or view the clinic’s next promotional event while waiting. If this patient education measure proves to be too costly, I recommend conside ring TV screens.
• Use this space for your workshops.
• In open-concept areas with many tables, a single, portable touch screen station, guided by a ceiling rail track, will reduce equipment costs.
• In closed rooms, use a rotating touch screen in the wall between two rooms.
• In a T-bar system, have the screen in between on a rotating stand.
• In medium and high volume clinics, patient flow must be automated. For increased patient confidentiality, the appointment book is linked to the educational TV system, using pictures and special sounds to avoid calling out names.
Everything on the web! Five years from now, any office not using the power of a web-based office management system will be years behind. Yes! A completely paperless office: patient files and automatic documentation, office administration, on-line claim forms and reports, X-rays and imaging, marketing and more. Imagine having access to any aspect of your office, from anywhere.
The patient station, allows patients to enter the subjective part of the SOAP notes on a touch screen. This saves the doctor’s time and is great for record keeping.
Integration of every aspect of a clinic is vital. Information centralization, security and confidentiality is the direction to move in. Cumulating statistics on millions of patients, without taking up time and team effort, is the key.
New technology will mean important reductions in equipment costs, as only one computer will be necessary. All areas of the clinic will have stations connected to one computer at the reception area, and the internet.
You can enhance the power of a web-based system to promote your services to employees in companies, or those doing screenings. You simply need an internet connection.
Many DC’s believe the profession will have a clearer, more distinct position in the health care system by focusing on neurophysiology beyond symptom-based approaches, as many others are doing. It’s all about neurology!
Chiropractic offices will be equipped with hi-tech tools, such as surface EMG, thermogram, postural analysis, pulse wave analyzer, algometry, and visual field. The challenge in the future will be to collect the findings, using a centralized platform.
Imagine walking room-to-room with a wireless scanner for heat readings. Imagine the value of a database containing information on a million patients, all undergoing some of these exams.
Substantiating your objective findings will definitely help you in clinical decision making, and will also act as a bridge towards a wellness model.
Michelle Leblanc is presently working with many clinics to create different models respecting different types of practices and budgets. She may be contacted at [email protected] or at 1-514-831-9959 to talk about your clinic project and customize it for your needs.