Expert Advice Part Deux. What To Look For When Considering Office Space For Your New Clinic

In a recent post, I wrote about what a physician ought to consider when deciding on a site for their new practice. If you missed it, click on the previous post and you will find it.

In this post, we are unpacking practical wisdom as it relates to office space. This wisdom, however doesn’t come from me (I know. Sorry to disappoint). The practical wisdom comes from Dr. David Horowitz.

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Dr Horowitz is a pediatrician in North Carolina. He recently posted the content you are about to read on the AAP’s Section On Administration and Practice Management (SOAPM) listserv.

After reading Dr. Horowitz post, two things came to mind. First thought was, this is great insight. I wish I would have had this advice when we were looking for office space. Second thought, I think Dr. Horowitz has done this a few times.

I reached out to him and asked permission to post his post here on PediatricInc. I don’t need to tell you his answer. Otherwise, I would not have a post.

Below are Dr. Horowitz comments, questions and insight one should have in mind when evaluating office space for a new medical practice. Enjoy.

  1. Do not underestimate square footage. As as with computer hardware, you often need 25-50% more than you think you will.
  2. Will you have room to expand?
  3. How many exam rooms will you get? Peds is a high volume (ideally) practice. 3 exam rooms is probably necessary. If you are fast 4 is better. With a full schedule, 2 will slow you down significantly.
  4. Is the rest of the office kid friendly? Just like you would with your own toddler, you need to look around the office from a kid’s perspective to find hazards.
  5. Are the sharps containers on the counter where the kids can reach them?
  6. Is the trash out of reach in the exam rooms? I have had the situation where a 3 year old got into the red bag trash.
  7. If sharing office space with another doctor, will the clinical staff be competent to deal with kids or will you hire your own?
  8. Is there enough parking for seeing 4-6 kids per hour.
  9. Is the waiting room big enough to accommodate an additional 8-15 people per hour as no kid travels alone.
  10. Vaccine storage space: is there a medical grade refrigerator?
  11. At minimum you need a fridge with a temperature monitor and stable temperature and not one that the staff keep their lunch in.
  12. General storage space: will you have any. This is one area where you need twice as much as you think you do, even though it is expensive on a per sq. ft. basis.
  13. Lab and x-ray availability: is it kid friendly and how far away is it from your office?
  14. Will the billing be handled in-house or will you outsource?
  15. If billing is done in-house, will the biller have a space to work?
  16. EMR vs Paper charts: it is much easier not to have to switch from paper to EMR, but paper sure is cheaper up front when one is starting out and income may be an issue. This means you need room for charts.
  17. If you go with EMR, does the office have the needed speed for data transfer and adequate wireless set up?

Thanks Dr. Horowitz for your insights. Even though this list isn’t meant to be comprehensive, I think it provides valuable, practical and shovel ready (as they say) advice.

Do you have anything to add to this list? What are some of the pitfalls you encountered that may help others steer clear as they begin this journey?