Thoughtfully designed clinics, from coast to coast

dvm360dvm360 March 2023
Volume 54
Issue 3
Pages: 28

Beauty, comfort, and function are the focus at practices based in New York and California

A clinic’s looks can only take it so far. Along with aesthetic appeal, a successful clinic design must provide comfort for patients, clients, and the veterinary team as well as functional features for effectively performing daily tasks. Two veterinary clinic networks that display beauty, comfort, and function are Bond Vet—based in New York, New York—and Modern Animal—based in Los Angeles, California.

How do these practices manage to do it all? It is owed to their thoughtfully designed elements with these qualities in mind.

On the east coast—Bond Vet

At Bond Vet, the clinics maximize pet and client psychology to ensure a calm, happy environment with pastels accented throughout. “They’ve managed to capture that feeling of comfort without it feeling sort of kitschy. It’s not overdone, like millennial pink or anything like that. They’re just beautiful spaces to be in,” said Philippa Pavia, VMD, DACVS-SA, head of medical strategy at Bond Vet, in a dvm360® interview.

The main secret of the optimal design is communication between the in-house design team and veterinary professionals who work in the practice daily. “Everything [at Bond Vet] is ground-up; there’s nothing that’s ad hoc,” explained Pavia. “Just as medicine has a strategy, our design team has a strategy....I’ve never worked anywhere [else] where a doctor could send a message to the head designer and say, ‘Hey, I have an idea. In our next clinic, could we do this with the dental suite?’”

Various levels of seating in Bond Vet's lobby to promote a pet-friendly space (Photo courtesy of Bond Vet).

Various levels of seating in Bond Vet's lobby to promote a pet-friendly space (Photo courtesy of Bond Vet).

This collaboration promotes thoughtful spaces with soft, touchable surfaces offering a comfortable alternative to cold metal. Plus, a patient’s point of view is considered. For example, the lobby features various levels of seating, so dogs and cats do not have to be in the same line of sight. According to Pavia, clients often say their dogs are calmer when visiting Bond Vet than at other practices—and seem to be happy.

The design is practical, too. The examination rooms are spacious for patients and pet owners. Bond Vet also sees many urgent care cases. “We have to be very efficient in the way that we plan [that] space. There has to be a straight shot from the lobby to our [urgent] care areas; there can’t be a lot of circuitous twists and turns,” Pavia said. The doctor’s office is in a strategic location providing quiet but also easy access to patients when needed.

Sconce lighting is used throughout these facilities, replacing harsh fluorescent lights and helping team members “feel like they’re in a comfortable home that they can still wipe down with [disinfectant wipes],” Pavia said. Natural light is welcomed into Bond Vet locations as well. “We always joke, particularly in New York City,” said Pavia, “that we’re subterranean creatures in veterinary medicine; we’re often working in basements, [but] a lot of our clinics have natural light....You pay a premium for that, but I think you get it [back] in dividends with happier teams.”

On the west coast—Modern Animal

Modern Animal’s lobby was designed with the comfort of a living room. “One of the things that always strikes people’s attention is that it feels that way throughout the practice. It’s not just the waiting room and the exam rooms; it’s literally the whole practice. All the employee spaces are lovely...because we really believe it’s important to give the employees as nice a place to work in as it is for the clients,” said Christie Long, DVM, vice president of medicine at Modern Animal, in an interview with dvm360®.

A glimpse into Modern Animal's treatment room (Photo courtesy of Modern Animal).

A glimpse into Modern Animal's treatment room (Photo courtesy of Modern Animal).

Modern Animal’s standout design feature is its focus on transparency. Throughout the clinics, you can see into each treatment and surgery area as they are all encased with glass. Long noted that, because of the transparent design, “Our clients almost immediately feel like they can trust us when they walk in.” The transparency adds a layer of pressure to veterinary professionals as they practice medicine and Fear Free techniques with all eyes on them; however, this feature offers more benefits than drawbacks. Long shared that veterinary technicians enjoy the layout because they can showcase their skills and demonstrate how vital they are to the team.

Another innovative component of the design is that there are no ringing phones at Modern Animal. The most obvious advantage is that this removes the noise from the clinic for a more pleasant environment. Additionally, it enables the customer service representatives to be fully present for the pets and owners before them. “[We all have had] a customer service experience where you feel like they’re not really paying attention to you because they have to answer the phone....and communication, it’s a really big have someone who’s doing 2 or 3 or 4 things at a time, especially in a medical setting,” Long noted. Instead, the clinic puts the most frequently answered questions on its website. Clients are also directed to book a visit, request a refill, or connect with one of Modern Animal’s veterinary professionals via its app with a designated virtual care team answering all scheduling or medical inquiries.

This streamlined digital system also offers relief for doctors working in the clinic. Long highlighted an example: “What [used to] happen to me as a veterinarian, I would be leaving one exam room to go into the next... and someone would tap me on the shoulder and say, ‘Can you talk to Mrs Smith? She’s on the phone...she only wants to talk to you’....and we just took that out of the equation. We have a virtual doctor who works every day, and they’re available to talk to clients. If a client insists on talking to a specific doctor, they can, but it’s going to be likely at the end of [their] day because, again, we want the doctor to focus on the work in front of them.”

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