How Important is Your Layout For Success

Dr. Tory Robson

Dr. Tory Robson

Chiropractic Practice Success Consultant

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Your office layout, sometimes called the office floorplan, defines the spaces, walkways, sight lines and controls the flow of people in the office.

The layout controls the flow of people which controls the volume you can see, which controls collections, which controls what you get paid, which then affects everything in your life.

So layout is everything, and it is THE starting point for clinic success. Just like the plan drawings are for a home or any building to be beautiful and function properly. Look at the effort that goes into the plans for even the simplest home or office building. Extensive time and energy, incredibly detailed drawings. Everything planned out, nothing left to chance before anything is built.

Then here is a chiropractor who lets a landlord, contractor or their own inexperience whip up a plan that inevitably guarantees poor flow and underproduction. Your office layout is a math and physics problem that must be solved on paper before a single wall is built.  Think: Particles moving through a container, fluid dynamic, or systems every management.

Also, we must consider “step management.” I know doctors who are walking an extra 30 miles every year costing them $50,000 every year in wasted time due to a poor office layout. If they remain in this office, in 10 years they lose $500,000 in collections. They think their office is beautiful, only because they are unaware of what is actually going on. They join WINNERSEDGE and I redesign their office then they grow 100 visits a week overnight and it all makes sense to them.

Only when you have a mathematically correct layout do you realize WOW, this is awesome. I think I could make an entire career in just designing and re-designing chiropractic offices.

A good design has many elements: The CA faces into the office and ideally can see every door to every room.  CAs never face out the front door and have their back to the action.  They must always face the action. The doctor needs to be able to see the CA when standing in their doorway.

When new patients are filling out paperwork they cannot see the doctor’s door, but the doctor and CA can easily see each other.

The doctor has a 3-room corridor with trap doors. The exam room, the DC command center with adjusting, and the primary adjusting room. This way the doctor can have all 3 types of patients going at the same time with the absolute minimum steps in between. 

In the perfect office the doctor can be sitting at their desk and look through a mirrored door and be able to see the front door and every person who has walked in. This is high level and very difficult to design.

Ceiling heights, paint colors, room sizes, door swings, outlet locations, computer locations, cord management, storage, chair positions and number of chairs, hallway widths, white boards, mirrors, posters, what patients see form any seat they may be sitting in, the DC command center, the CA command center elements, light switches, alarms, cameras, the referral board, picture board and signage. We always recommend carpet tiles with no exceptions. I know tile or laminate or other flooring looks nice and is in style but it is horrible in a working office, especially if in a northern climate. All those floors do is get slippery, dirty, allow things to slide around, and feel cold.

I visited an old chiro friend the other day, he just remodeled. Gray laminate floors, gray walls with metal, the place looks like a prison, it feels cold and it was 90 degrees the day I was there. Then he had a bunch of rugs down in front of these cheap unstable hot seats as if to say: “I should have just used carpet.”  Can you imagine the puddles of water come wintertime. Not to mention how cold it will feel in there.

Then I stop by a WINNERSEDGE office. Warm carpet tiles with a great design, easy to vacuum and keep clean, never slippery, the right lighting, incredible wall colors, super clean, super comfortable, super flow, using the correct chairs we recommend. There is so much going on that must be done right. What people see and FEEL when they’re in your office either makes them want to go there or not on a subconscious level. The WINNERSEDGE office makes people want to come back, and they don’t even know why, they just like being in there.

Designs vary based on if a doctor wants roller tables or decompression tables. The front desk is always a 36” high work surface with a 43” check writing counter and spaces for every CA that will be employed. Every person who goes to work must have a “home’ or desk or designated work areas. So all CAs must be accounted for and all patients must be accounted for in how they flow through an office.

The right layout for the space is truly awesome. The office plan has to work just like a car has to run. It cannot just look pretty, it has to work.

Here is a very basic test. A test that every DC should know cold BEFORE their office even opens. We call it “5 in 15.”  If you right now had a new patient ready to go back, a report that just walked in the door, a regular office visit walk in, a person who needs a re-exam walk in and a person who needs to start their re-sign process walk in – all 5 of them are standing there ready to go. Who goes where first? Who next? How EXACTLY do you handle this in your office right now? Could you do all this in 15 minutes? If you cannot tell me the exact sequence for this scenario all the way up to everyone walking out the door, then you have no chance of impressive numbers and should stop everything and join this group right now.

It is hard for me to stand in offices I didn’t design because I immediately want to start fixing their layout and 50 other things I would notice after 15 seconds in their office. 

See, I went to Montana State to become an architect. They have an excellent program. Most people don’t know this about me. Then I had my first chiropractic experience, changed my major, graduated in business, and went to chiro school.

Little did I know my architecture and design training would be so useful. I do a redraw or the entire design of every client office here at WINNERSEDGE. This is one of many reasons our doctors are so successful with less effort. I have done hundreds and hundreds of them now.

Recently a DC couple moved from their first office into an office I designed and grew 200 visits a week overnight. They just broke another record and collected $116,000 last month. Another DC moved into his Tory designed office and went form $60k per month to now averaging $100k+ with the same hours and the same team. Good design is everything in a chiropractic office!

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