Top design tips from one of the 2019 dvm360 Hospitals of the Year

March 1, 2019
Sarah Moser

Sarah Moser is a freelance writer and editor in Lenexa, Kan.

Coyne Veterinary Center has some wisdom for folks looking to make their veterinary hospitals sparkle.

Coyne Veterinary Center: Crown Point from the exterior.

John Coyne, DVM, whose Coyne Veterinary Center in Crown Point, Indiana, is the 2019 dvm360 Hospital of the Year in the larger-than-8,000-square-feet category, shares three important insights from his experience building an award-winning facility.

1. Work with the city to improve the experience. “We had a little trouble finding this lot and getting our design approved,” says Dr. Coyne. His tip: Research what the planning commission finds important before presenting it with your plan. “We thought we had a beautiful plan, but they shot it down,” he says. “If we had known what would be more palatable to them, we could have saved time and gotten an approval sooner.” He also suggests taking your ideas to the city planner right away, before you even present your designs. Get input first, then incorporate it into your presentation.

Coyne Veterinary Center's light-colored reception area requires extra upkeep to keep it looking spiffy. | Photos courtesy of Paul Strabbing, Paul Strabbing Photography

2. Pay for upkeep. Dr. Coyne prefers light-colored finishes throughout the practice, but everyone knows that means dirt and wear and tear will show more quickly. His tip: Don't be afraid to hire someone, even if cleaning or repairs is all they do. “It's worth it to keep on top of maintenance to make your facility sparkle and shine,” he says. “We have a permanent handyman who keeps things looking fresh.”

Also, make sure to train that person well, not just set them loose with a cleaning cloth and a toolkit. Dr. Coyne spends a week or more doing onboarding with his service providers, making sure they know exactly what he expects. ‘We've learned we can never do enough training in every single area.”

3. Enter your front doors at least once a month. The reception area, with high ceilings and lots of light, is Dr. Coyne's favorite wow factor in the hospital. His tip: Make sure you have the same experience as clients by coming in your front doors once or twice a month, instead of sneaking through the back. “Seeing what your clients see as they come through the front door snaps you out of it and helps you know when things need cleaned or tweaked,” he says. “Make sure you're always putting your best foot forward.”

Sarah Moser is a freelancer writer in Lenexa, Kansas.