At AAGA, Bosma says it is a matter of pride at her practice that phone calls are answered by a live person. "We actually have an operator who handles the calls and puts them into the queue … so that helps the patients get directed and not have to wait on hold very long. We have a system that monitors the phone calls so we know how many calls are dropped, if we need to have more staffing at particular days or times," she says.
So what are the first steps once your practice has approved the plan for a new build/redesign? Well before approaching an architect, your practice should assemble focus groups in each department. Puffer says it is vital that the practice has a clear vision about what it wants and needs from a new space, and it is also important for staff members to voice their opinions on what doesn't work in the current environment. "Everyone needs to be involved in the process. It's just not the provider input, it needs to come all the way down to the greeter," he says.
Once that is done, Puffer says the best way to proceed is to designate a project chair, and create individual teams that will take on decision-making responsibility for elements such as physical layouts, color palettes, selecting furniture, job timelines, and deciding on budgets.
Erica Sprey is associate editor for Physicians Practice. She can be reached at [email protected].
This article was originally published in the April 2016 issue of Physicians Practice.