2019 Hospital of the Year: No appointments? No problem!

March 1, 2019
Sarah A. Moser

dvm360, dvm360 March 2019, Volume 50, Issue 3

This Indiana hospital supports the team and keeps wait times to a minimum, all while wowing clients with its beauty.

If the Coyne Veterinary Center in Crown Point, Indiana, had a job description, as any good team member does, it would say: Attract clients. Other requirements: Make technicians' jobs easier, support an appointment-free environment and, of course, give clients the wow effect.

“We wanted the type of hospital that attracts the best people, who are proud and want to do their best job,” says John Coyne, DVM, owner of nine veterinary practices in Chicago and northwestern Indiana. “People say it feels like coming into a Marriott hotel at our practice. Our job is to make the client-patient relationship the best it can be, and it starts with building a practice that allows us to offer the best care possible.”

By the numbers-Coyne Veterinary Center: Crown Point

  • Owners: Drs. John Coyne and Jeremey Buishas
  • Number of doctors: 3 full-time, 1 part-time
  • Exam rooms: 11
  • Total cost: $3,686,386
  • Cost per square foot: $235.80
  • Square footage: 15,633
  • Structure type: Freestanding, new
  • Architect: Michael Matthys, Linden Group Architects

As Regional Director Jamie Josephson, CVPM, says, “The team working here had already mentored under Dr. Coyne and they understand our practice model. Dr. Coyne builds the hospital and gets clients in the doors, then it's our job to take care of the clients and pets and keep them coming back.”

Coyne Veterinary Center earned the title of Hospital of the Year for practices 8,000-square-feet or larger in the 2019 dvm360 Hospital Design Competition, earning high praise for an efficient floor plan, excellent finishes and signage, a beautiful reception area and unique exterior design.

Building for success

Coyne Veterinary Center doesn't take appointments. Dr. Coyne admits that the concept sounds scary to people who aren't used to it, but that's the way he was taught when he started in veterinary medicine 45 years ago-and he's stuck with it. But it means he has to design his practices to support this business philosophy.

In the reception area, high ceilings, natural finishes and clean, bright surfaces greet clients upon arrival. Pendant lighting and metal artwork add creative touches to the space. All public spaces use porcelain tile, with the entrance area featuring a herringbone design.

“Are we busy? Yes. It's a challenge not to make clients wait too long,” says Dr. Coyne. “But clients love the flexibility and we've been able to grow well because of this structure.”

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Attend the 2019 HospitalDesign360 conference (formerly the Veterinary Economics Hospital Design Conference) in Kansas City, Missouri, Aug. 21-23.

Gather ideas, learn from the profession's most noted veterinary design experts, and compare your options for design, construction, equipment, financing and more with our exclusive hospital design exhibit hall. Visit fetchdvm360.com/hd for more information.

Bonus! Practice owners from both of this year's Hospitals of the Year will be on hand to share their secrets.

To keep waiting to a minimum, the practice includes 11 exam rooms, more than most practices offer, with three full-time veterinarians and 30 full-time team members. The exam rooms are set up to check clients out at the end of an appointment, minimizing a backlog at the reception desk. Technicians are authorized to draw blood, set catheters, take radiographs, and perform ECGs and ultrasounds to keep things moving along.  “Not only does this help our client flow and speed up appointments, it also empowers our technicians and lets doctors be doctors,” says Dr. Coyne. “Technicians appreciate it and it shows they're an important part of the team.”

The 11 exam rooms all feature in-room checkout to minimize fear as animals depart after their visits, as well as to aid the flow of traffic. Windows allow natural light into each room. The same neutral porcelain tile flows from reception into the exam rooms.

A centrally located computerized pharmacy, a space for in-house blood work, and a “fishbowl” doctors' office also improve the client flow. Dr. Coyne says the practice does a great deal of in-house diagnostics under the philosophy that they can get answers more quickly, treat pets sooner and keep clients from waiting so long.

In the lab, technicians are trained to do bloodwork, run ECGs, and more with ample workspace in a clean, bright environment built just for them.

Even so, there are often two to six clients waiting in the lobby at any time. Again, Dr. Coyne designed the practice with this in mind, putting an adoption center on prominent display. He has included an adoption center in all of his hospitals since the very beginning, starting with stray animals he would bring in and re-home.

“We just love animals and want to help find every pet a forever home,” he says. An added benefit is that the puppies and kittens on display entertain waiting clients. Dr. Coyne says that 75 percent of the animals adopted from his facilities remain with them as patients. “Our adoptions are priced economically, and this service ties us to the community,” he says. “If you're going to be in the community, you need to be a functional part of it. Adoptions are a way to show that you're happy to be there and appreciate the opportunity to serve.”

The adoption center fills several needs, most importantly that of helping pets find forever homes. Dr. Coyne says the area also entertains waiting clients, and gives adoptable pets an entertaining view as well. A bonding room gives potential pet parents a place to get to know pets and make sure the fit is good for each other.

Coyne Veterinary Center works with more than 75 rescue groups across its nine hospitals. A bonding room was added to this latest facility to allow for meet-and-greets with pets up for adoption. 

Menu of services

Restaurants, salons and spas all offer menus, making it easy for a client to know what's offered. After a number of clients came into Dr. Coyne's practice asking if he offered specific veterinary services, he decided to create a “menu” of sorts for the practice. “We take it for granted that our practices offer so many services, but clients don't always know,” he says.

The services menu at Coyne Veterinary Center: Crown Point.

That's how the signage throughout the hospital came to be. At each area of the hospital, clients can find an accounting of the services provided-just like a menu.

Want more dvm360 Hospital Design Competition content?

Click here for a list of winners of this year's competition and a schedule of when to keep an eye out for them to be featured in print and on dvm360.com.

Click here for the 2019 People's Choice Award competition and images of all 17 of this year's entrants. 

Keep your eyes open for the 2019 Hospital Design Supplement arriving in May with your issue of dvm360 magazine for even more great design content.

The dvm360 Hospital Design Competition judges applauded the signage, noting the unique way it's displayed.

Sarah A. Moser is a freelance writer in Lenexa, Kansas.

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