Practice Management And Design

Robert Stensland of Optometric Architects discusses how to optimize practice design.

Cara Moore: Hi everyone. Thanks for watching Optometry TV. I’m Cara Moore joined now by Robert Stensland with Optometric Architects. Thanks for being here.

Robert Stensland: Thanks for having me.

Cara Moore: So, we are here to talk about what really matters in practice design, and there are several things that owners should think about, is that right?

Robert Stensland: Yep.

Cara Moore: First of all, should you hire experts?

Robert Stensland: Well, I probably encourage owners that like they do in their practices, they need to search out the expertise that they’re looking for. So, it depends on what type of project that they’re doing, but they should really look into realtors that have experience in metal, medical or dental practices. Look for architects that have experience in the field or what they’re trying to do. And then also look at the practice management people that can help them guide the path of where, what the remodel does for their future of their practice.

Cara Moore: And how important is it to understanding demographics?

Robert Stensland: The demographics is really key because what you’re putting in a big investment into your practice, that’s the goal of what you’re trying to do. So, you have to understand the demographics of your area to make sure that’s where you want to redo this remodel and or move locations. You also need to look at how that demographic is going to change over time. Try to look into how that’s going to work because that does matter to how the building should be designed. So again, your investment can be over a long-term period versus just a short period of time.

Cara Moore: And what about long term and short-term goals when you’re talking about practice?

Robert Stensland: Well, when you look at a practice, you’ve got to look at from an aspect of what are the Doctor’s goals. You know, are they bringing in associates? What’s their timeline? How do they want to practice? Are they looking at retiring out, selling their practice? All those things go into how we design the building and how we bring in associates, and how the staff works and how the practice grows. Because from day one, you can’t assume that their practice is going to be where it’s going to be in year three. Okay. So, we have to design that into the flow of the practice. Otherwise, what ends up happening is we have to hire staff or we have to do things. We don’t crosstrain enough, and the building doesn’t really function initially in the beginning versus it wants to in year three.

Cara Moore: And how should practitioners think about their design? Really that it’s an investment, right? Into their practice?

Robert Stensland: When you look at design fees, when you’re hiring experts in the field, it’s really an investment in the practice, no different than they’re doing anything else as a physical investment as far as the building goes and anything else. So, a good design will pay for itself, in how the flow works and how that rhythm in a practice goes from the design core, from how they practice with their patients, to what happens into the optical.

Cara Moore: What about practitioners including staff in all this planning?

Robert Stensland: I encourage them to create a management team. And in that design team, management team, that they’re creating at a higher level, we work through the design process and then we take every individual room and we take that through their staff so that their staff has an input because the key is they have to understand how the building works. But if we have so many people push in too many directions early on in the process, we don’t get, A, what the Doctors want, but we also don’t really sort through the how the flow should work.

Cara Moore: What about a wow factor?

Robert Stensland: The wow factor. Everybody kind of gets caught up into thinking that the opticals are beautiful and everything’s great and that is true, but the reality of the wow factor is the experience of that patient. Okay. That’s the wow factor because if we can get that demographic to work right, and those 20% of their practices, who their referral networks are going to be, so the wow is the overall experience, not just what the frame looks like.

Cara Moore: Alright. Some solid points. There are a lot of things for practitioners to think about before they start a design process. Thanks so much for being here. We appreciate your time.

Robert Stensland: I appreciate you having me. Thank you.

Cara Moore: And thanks for watching Optometry TV.

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