January, 2007

An Orthodontic Office Floor Plan

A before and after case study.

Susanne Slizynski

Green Curve Studio Inc. often receives requests from orthodontics to review and critique their floor plans.

This is a 2800 square foot orthodontic office. On this particular project the orthodontist had spent $6,000 working with a local equipment supplier and architect, the plan the orthodontist submitted for review was already dimensioned and ready for working drawings to be developed. This is the 3rd draft presented to the orthodontist by the architect and the orthodontist feels pretty confident that he is close to completing the floor plan, he is expecting a few minor comments from the Green Curve orthodontic office design team. There is a structural wall between the lab and the secondary treatment bay which makes the planning a challenge. Also the orthodontist has end walls attached to each treatment chair for model box storage as his preferred method of storing model boxes. Susanne Slizynski provided the doctor with a brief orthodontic office design critique of the floor plan and the doctor was concerned enough to invest in redesigning the floor plan. As a tool to help with design review, we provide a 6 page orthodontic office design questionnaire to our doctors before we start.

Exhibit A

Exhibit A. This is the floor plan developed by local sources and presented to Green Curve. I will outline areas of concern as shown on the numbers on the floor plan.

Floor plan developed by local sources and presented to Green Curve

Download PDF of Floor Plan

Area 1: Reception

The reception area is part of the front desk work zone, this is not a good presentation. When patients stack up at the front desk they will impede circulation of the Reception area. Also private conversations can be easily heard by people sitting in the reception area.

Area 2:

This is a very unattractive front desk design There is a lot of wasted space and the computer check-in needs to be upfront, not around the corner. The Logo wall is so far away from the front desk that is will not have the presence of a wall that is closer.

Area 3: The Manager’s Office

Actually the orthodontist does not have an office manager, he has a business manager therefore this space is undeveloped. The doctor actually needs a rotary file for this area and this is an ideal location to place all the business equipment, screened off from the reception room.

Area 4: Exam/Consult Room

The exam/consult room does not have the proper orientation, and nowhere for parents to sit. The Treatment Coordinator has her back turned to the doctor. This exam consult room is located off the main hallway to the clinic. It would be better to locate it in a low traffic area.

Area 5: Treatment Bay

They have completely missed the mark on the design of this area. There are no counter top areas or hand washing sinks for the clinical staff. The architect shows two round columns as design features. In addition there is no storage in this area for clinical supplies. The Sterile counter is only 9’11″. For 7-8 treatment bay chairs a 12′ foot sterile counter is recommended.

Area 6: Secondary Treatment Bay

The draftsman was not able to fit all 8 chairs in the main treatment bay, so he has placed 2 exam chairs in the area behind the structural shear wall and disconnecting them from the main treatment bay. It’s a bad idea to have disconnected treatment areas as patients may feel like they are forgotten and may actually may be over looked by staff. There is also a lot of wasted space in this area.

Area 7: Hallway

The placement of the storage closet is meant to screen off the treatment bay from the Reception Room, however it impedes traffic flow and will cause congestion as patients pause to find their way around.

Area 8: On-Deck

On-Deck is positioned in a high traffic area and if a seated patient extends their feet, they could actual trip someone coming around the corner from the reception room.

Area 9: X-ray

This area is missing an imaging or capture desk and is not fully developed. Also the flow from the X-ray to the Exam Consult is not clean. If a patient comes in for an afternoon exam and needs an X-ray, the patient and the assistant will have to crisscross a busy traffic area.

Area 10: Tooth Brushing

The length of the Tooth Brushing counter appears to be to short.

Area 11: Staff Lounge

The staff lounge is located across from the front desk where odors from the microwave will filter to the Reception Area. It is also not fully developed; does not show lockers or a table size and how many it will seat. It’s not a working plan.

Area 12: Consult Room

This room would typically be considered a financial consult room, but is located directly across from a busy and potentially congested front desk.

Exhibit B

Exhibit B. This orthodontic office floor plan is a response to our 6 page orthodontic office design questionnaire provided to the doctor. We actually prepared 3 feed back floor plan drafts showing different front desk, consult and clinical locations. This was the orthodontist’s preferred floor plan draft.

orthodontic office floor plan is a response to our 6 page orthodontic office design questionnaire provided to the doctor

Download PDF of Floor Plan

Area 1: Reception

The reception room is now separated from the busy traffic at the front desk, this allows for the Green Curve design team to develop a more upscale and intimate reception area. Now patients at the front desk will have more privacy, this will help to raise the perception of quality of care.

Area 2: Front Desk

The patient check-in is located at the front desk directly upon entry, rather than around a horseshoe front desk shape. The Green Curve team has built interior architectural effects into the floor plan by adding curved walls and the coresponding front desk/logo wall. The logo wall is close enough to provide visual impact to the patients/parents standing at the front desk and those sitting in the reception area.

Area 3: Office Manager

An equipment desk is located behind the logo wall which screening the business equipment from view and allowing access for the clerical staff without disrupting the front desk activities. There is enough room in this area to develop 2 work stations which might be needed as the practice grows.

Area 4: File Storage

The orthodontist requested a rotary file for patient charts while he works to transfer patient files to a digital format. The file cabinet is screened off from the front desk area.

Area 5: Exam/Consult

The exam consult room is now located on the quiet side of the office, and the room orientation is now correct. It will be easy for the doctor to provide consults even on busy afternoons as the consult room is more secluded. If the exam/consult is located in a high traffic area, parents may think you are too busy to handle new patients, the perception of quality of care goes down.

Area 6: On Deck/Arcade

The on-deck area is now located out of the main hallway and an arcade has been added for entertainment. The wall separating the on-deck seating from the hallway is a low partition wall so that patients waiting here do not feel forgotten, and the space feels more open.

Area 7: Treatment Bay

The Green Curve design team has provided adequate sinks and central supply storage cabinets for the Treatment Bay. It was decided by the orthodontist that is was better to have 7 chairs all in one clinical area than to force 8 chairs and have the 8th chair disconnected from the Treatment Bay. There is a structural shear wall between the treatment bay and the staff lounge which is restricts the treatment bay layout.

Area 8: Staff Lounge

The staff lounge has been relocated closer to the clinical area and now contains lockers and a table that will seat 4 staff members. This gets the staff lounge out of the busy front desk area.

Area 9: Wet Lab/Dry/Lab

Now the lab is located out of the treatment bay to allow for a better trreatment bay layout. The previous plan had a solid wall separating the wet lab from the dry lab, the Green Curve plan does not have a wall because often the lab technician is doing both the wet and dry work. A wall separating these areas would be inconvenient.

Area 10: Instructions Room

The doctor noted on our orthodontic office design questionnaire that he wanted an Instructions Room. This can also double as a semi-private consultation area for the orthodontist to discuss case progress with a parent.

Area 11: X-ray/Imaging

Now the X-ray areas has an imaging desk. The X-ray area is now located close to the exam/consult room and eliminates crossing traffic going to and from the treatment bay.

Area 12: Doctor’s Office

The location for the docto’rs personal office is not ideal, however out of several options given to the orthodontist, it was decided that this would be the best location. In this location the doctor has a private entrance, which is nice. Overall the Green Curve orthodontic design team has provided a highly functional and aesthetically pleasing floor plan. The Orthodontist said that by comparison he felt that he had spent $6,000 on a useless sketch, in addition he had to pay rent on an unoccupied space due to the delay, the negative financial impact including the previous floor plan cost the orthodontist about $32,000.00. The orthodontist decided without hesitation that he would also hire the Green Curve team to provide the floor planning for another 6,000 square foot orthodontic office he was planning to construct. Within 15 working days the doctor had 3 working feedback drafts and a within 25 working days a final floor plan draft. The orthodontist decided to use local services for the remaining design work. After reviewing our final draft, I have still find 6 areas that need minor improvement, I doubt local services will pick up on these areas. In the next step,development of the working plans, the Green Curve orthodontic office design team would have picked up these minor problem. It is during the working plan phase when minor imperfections will show up.

Contributed by:

Susanne Slizynski
Managing Partner at Green Curve Studio Inc.

The plans in this article are copyrighted.

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