Our previous article looked at the rationale for setting up a clinic, and I explained the importance of developing a business plan. Once you have completed your business plan, you are now ready to bring your idea to life.
Another online clinic?
Before exploring the clinic environment, you will first need to answer the following question; should I set up an online clinic or a ‘bricks and mortar /physical clinic?’
Essentially your decision to set up an online clinic or a ‘bricks and mortar’ clinic will depend on your business goals and the types of services you intend to offer. For example, if you intend to solely offer consultations to diagnose, manage and treat a limited set of conditions that do not require a physical examination, then an online clinic will suffice; however, if you intend to offer services such as blood testing, non-surgical treatments like botox and dermal fillers or treat a wider range of conditions that require a physical examination; then bricks and mortar clinic would be better suited.
Before we continue any further, I would like to clarify that a website for an online clinic serves the same function as a physical space does for a physical clinic, ie. your website is the physical building for your virtual clinic. In this section, I will focus on the physical characteristics of a clinic, and in subsequent articles, I intend to discuss the essential features of a website.
Before we discuss the look, feel, and layout of the clinic, I want you to remember that first impressions are last impressions! As such, ensure your clinic looks professional, clean, and clinical so that your service is perceived to be ‘trust worthy’; remember, you need to give your clients an experience such that when they think clinic, your clinic comes to mind first.
With regards to the specifics of the treatment room(s), ensure ; (1) your treatment rooms are in line with standards set by your professional or regulatory body; (2) there is the provision to wash and dry hands (ideally the hand wash basin should be elbow operated); (3) For ease of cleaning and hygiene purposes flooring should be capped and coved; (4) the consulting areas should be comfortable with ample space within the treatment room; and (5) a fridge meeting the standards set by your regulatory body should be considered especially if you intend to offer vaccine led services.
In addition to the above, consider having access to the internet, appropriate ventilation, and designing the room to ensure the most suitable and efficient workflow. To help you, I would suggest you view the Health Technical Memoranda (HTMs), which give comprehensive advice and guidance on the design, installation, and operation of specialized building and engineering technology used in the delivery of healthcare; trust me, it will give you ideas and plenty of food for thought.
This is a subject I could write a thesis on, but to cut a long story short, I am about to officially declare I no longer am a firm believer in investing in people and building a team. That’s right, I said it, and I know at this point you may be confused by my comments but continue reading, and It will make sense soon.
So, you may have heard the statement; people are your assets! Well, in actual fact, it is misleading and far from the truth. In my opinion, the right people doing the right jobs are an asset to any enterprise and while others are simply a liability. At this point, I want you to stop and think about an organization run by a group of people in the wrong posts; what would be the outcome of that organization? To clarify further, imagine an individual who hates his job, is argumentative, self-centred, and lacks drive and ambition but is asked to become the CEO of an organization; you tell me, is this person an asset or a liability? I will let you decide
From the above, it should now be clear to manage a great clinic; you need a great team, i.e., the right people doing the right jobs. Once you have this in place, all of a sudden, things become easier because the ‘right’ people do not need micromanagement, the ‘right’ people do not need motivation, the right people are an asset to any organization, and as a result, the experience you clients receive will be second to none.
In addition to having the right people, it is essential from a human resources management standpoint the clinic ensures all staff has clear roles and responsibilities and only individuals who are qualified and competent undertake the assigned roles.
Now that we have discussed the look, feel, and layout of the clinic in the following article, I intend to outline the policies and systems you may want to consider having in place. Lastly, if you think having a standard operating procedure is all you need, well, your WRONG; it is NOT ENOUGH!