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READER TIPS

A clean office is a healthy and profitable office

Patients lose faith in an office when they see clutter and dusty plastic plants and dirt in the corners.

The likely reaction is, “This office is okay for a common cold, but I don’t want to have a biopsy here.”

So it is important to place continued emphasis on keeping the office not only clean but orderly. “People are judged by their appearance,” says the manager of a Florida dermatology office, and her goal is an appearance that gives patients “100 percent proof that we take what we do very seriously.”

The office has a staff of 12, and although a cleaning service comes in every night, staff are responsible for keeping it clean during the day, with the focus points being the front desk, reception room, and exam rooms.

At the front desk, everything is kept in cupboards so patients see a clear area from the window. For the counter behind the receptionist’s desk the rule is that nobody can set anything on it.

The staffer keeps her working papers “directly in front of her.” And the office is laid out so patients can’t see into the file room.

The manager has also made the front desk “very calm” by locating the telephones in a separate room. With the orderliness and lack of commotion, she says, “patients feel they are important.”

For the reception room, one staffer picks up items patients leave and straightens the magazines during the lunch break. It’s part of her job description.

The carpets get cleaned routinely every six months.

More still, the manager does a walk-through of the reception area at least three times a week to see if there are stains on the furniture or if repairs are needed. As with many offices, she says, the staff and doctors come in through a back door and never look at the reception room.

In the exam rooms, again, everything is kept in cupboards. There are no form holders on the walls, no magazines sitting about, and nothing on the counters. Staff also empty the trash as soon as the bags start to fill up so the rooms always “look wiped-off clean.”

Office appearance is discussed at every staff meeting, the manager says. “I tell staff to walk into the office as if they are going to sign in and tell me what they see.”

The continued emphasis “gives them pride in the office,” she says, and the reward is the fact that patients remark on the cleanliness – “at least two or three times a day.”


Medical Office Manager wants to send you $100. Tell us how you solved a problem, implemented a successful program – or share any idea we can use in our Reader Tips column and we’ll send you $100. Contact catherine@plainlanguagemedia.com


Editor’s picks:

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5 quick ways to make your waiting room more welcoming


What is the ‘patient experience’ like at your medical practice?


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