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    Managing an office and optical move

    How we combined two offices and maintained patient care


    Designing the space

    Knowing what you want and conveying those needs to others is a skill you must hone when designing an office. Having a clear vision and articulating what the space will be once complete is key.

    Working with an optical design company proved to be tremendously helpful while looking through countless design magazines and websites. Talking through concepts and choices with people who know optical design is invaluable. We worked with EyeDesigns to help with our display and lighting selection. Of course, you always want to add your own style and personality because the physical space must reflect your culture of practice. There were many long nights, weekend trips to furniture display warehouses, Pinterest boards, and samples floating around our current offices to see what would work with what and to find our style. With paint colors of tan tones and burgundy, Venetian plastered accent walls, and a stone fireplace on the list of finishing work, we were clearly going for a warm and homey environment to help patients feel comfortable.

    Related: The growing green trend in optical

    Optical displays were the largest furniture decisions made. This choice was considered carefully because almost half of our practice revenue is generated from optical sales. The interesting part was that even though our square footage had doubled, our frame capacity was about the same with 500 board openings. With a more open floor plan, we didn’t necessarily need to carry more frames, just frames that had more of an impact. More vibrant colors and funky shapes were purchased so they could be seen from our reception area. Bright white LED lights were installed throughout the office—they made our out-of-the-ordinary frame selections really shine against the dark wood displays with white back panels. Patients perceive that the larger space means we have more frames, but we really don’t.

    Deciding how to configure the dispensary layout came with its own set of questions. How many dispensing tables would we need? How far apart should they be to protect patient privacy? Did we need furniture fixtures to make the separation more concrete, or was the open space between tables enough? Every move required detailed thought because each decision made would affect all of the next-to-come decisions.

    We opted to install three sales tables and two dispensing/adjustments stations based on our schedule template. Two doctors see patients for exams, and one doctor sees patients for specialty testing that wouldn’t require optical staff. Using that logic, each doctor would have an available seat for his patient in optical, leaving one overflow station for a particularly challenging or time-consuming optical consultation. Of course, this layout wouldn’t work for every office design.

    Next: Changing up the frame lines

    Larissa Steinberg, CPOT
    Larissa Steinberg is the optical manager for Somerset Eye Care in North Brunswick, NJ. She has worked in the optical industry for almost ...


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