Veterinary hospital design: A team approach

Gathering input from all members of the team created a cohesive new design for their new building.
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Jul 31, 2014

This was written by one of 10 finalists for the Veterinary Economics Practice Manager of the Year award, sponsored by VPI. For more from each finalist and a slideshow of the nominees, visit dvm360.com/PMOY.

When starting the plans for our hospital we had a general idea of what we wanted. Once we had final plan approval and knew we had the loan secured we shared the news with our team that we would be expanding. We asked them to brainstorm a wish list using flip charts, markers and a lot of fun. The final list had everything—from necessities to totally outrageous items. Then we had general blueprints drawn up to reflect the items from our brainstorm meeting.

At our next meeting we posted several of the blueprints on the wall and gave everyone a marker and asked them to have at it: Put walls where they thought they should go. Remove walls. Place cages. Envision the workflow and ways to eliminate those hiccups. Install the computer stations and phones where they wanted.

After that process, we combined all the great ideas and wish lists. We then posted the print in the back area of our hospital near our break area and asked the team to take a second look at things now that we had compiled everyone's vision and provide further critiques and comments. We kept those plans posted for a few weeks, then we took the final set of plans to our architect and worked on the plan for the actual building.

Making sure the team was involved made the project better. We were surprised by everything we learned—just by asking. Today, we have a building design my team members created and take pride in. They found workflow issues we overlooked and made suggestions we couldn’t have done without. This process helped us identify how to be as efficient as possible in our current space.