Best Practices in Designing a Medical Spa

Posted By Mike Meyer, Friday, January 8, 2021

medical spa lobby

By Mitra Silva, Founder and CEO, Simour Design

Whether renovating or building a new facility, designing a medical spa that stands out for the right reasons often starts with sifting through ideas and inspiration that can be a bit overwhelming to combine. The key is always clarity—clarity in your vision of what your own goals are and understanding what strategies are needed to arrive at those objectives.

Find out more about how to open a successful and profitable medical spa practice.

"Innovation means replacing the best practices of today with those of tomorrow."
– Paul Sloane

On that message of clarity, we give you this list of 10 best practices—a primer for designing an exceptional medical spa, defining the essentials, design tricks to improve your interiors, and overall wisdom to drive your success.

  1. Every inch of your practice must bring in revenue. Looking out for the financial success of your medical spa is an important consideration to the design process. Profitability is good, and it ensures that your medical space is maximized to generate income without sacrificing the level of care and patient experience. Think of space as a premium, and that anything you put inside it must contribute to its upkeep. This is not about peppering everything with opportunities to upsell—this is more a call to be mindful of what you provide. It is being constantly aware that any inefficient space can be configured more effectively. Watch out for circulation spaces such as hallways, which are notorious for being unnecessarily long. See if partitions can be made out of full-height cabinetry so it does double duty, providing both storage and privacy. Purpose can be hidden in plain sight with careful planning and creative solutions.
  2. Growing practices requires good storage. Planning for growth is being optimistic for the future. To be futureproof is to anticipate your projected needs ahead of the curve, and one way to facilitate this growth is to build in storage spaces that are slightly larger than what you currently require. Think of creative ways to hide cabinets through the walls hidden in plain sight by cabinet doors disguised as wall paneling. At the very least, look for spaces that are flexible enough to be made into dedicated storage in the future. Anticipating future development from the start also becomes an opportunity to be ready and avoid interruptions in your operations when the time does come to expand.
  3. Invest in modular furniture. Going for modular furniture makes good, practical sense. "Modular" means that it works within a system of measurements that come from a base module. This enables it to be dynamic—reduced or blown up in scale depending on your needs. Cabinetry and furniture are the most visible applications of this system in interior design. This enables them to be made in scaled dimensions, and it also makes them faster and cheaper to produce. Going back to the item about growth, modular furniture can supplement further expansion, seamlessly adding to—instead of completely revamping—existing fixtures in your space.
  4. Bathroom lighting makes a big difference. Bathrooms are an especially important part of the patient experience. A bathroom is a place where you can gain your patients' undivided attention, and where they can be at their most relaxed and private. Here's a design trick for you—instead of recessed lighting, try wall sconces for your mirrored vanity area. More often than not, recessed lighting is placed too far from one's face, so it creates those awful shadows casting down. Having sconces closer and at a more manageable height will guarantee more even lighting, making it more flattering for the face. Giving your patients an added boost of confidence will brighten their restroom experience.
  5. Lighting matters. On the topic of lighting, we highly suggest being intentional with your lighting choices. The usual 2x4 or 4x4 lighting troffers that fit in a paneled ceiling might work well for the procedure areas of your medical spa, but their utilitarian quality is most unwelcome in places of relaxation such as the lounge or the reception areas. We suggest using LED cans, which can add a welcoming atmosphere to the space instead of flooding it with tiles of white office lights. Luminaires with 3,500 kelvins (K), or the equivalent of 1 – 2 pm daylight, will be a good range to look for. This value straddles the warm and cool whites that are common in the market. If you want to create a unique experience for your patients, do not overlook the lighting, because it can show your space in a whole new way. To learn more about how you can brighten up the patient experience, check out our blog here.
  6. Sliding doors are the way to go. Whether actual doors or cabinet covers, sliding functionality is ideal. There are two basic benefits to a sliding door—the expense and the space efficiency. The operation of the door often dictates how much it will cost in the end. The cost of the hardware needed to make whole leaves of panels swing open is often overlooked, and the doors from reputable brands fetch quite the price for their quality. Sliding doors only require the track and sliding mechanisms for them to work. The fact that they can slide into the adjacent walls instead of eating into a space is just an additional argument in their favor. You can keep the door visible like a barn door or concealed in a pocket built into the wall for a sleeker look.
  7. Door design will make a difference. And on the subject of doors, let's discuss door design—their material, hardware, finishes, quality and ease of use can determine the look and feel of your medical spa. The door is the first interaction your guests will have in your medical spa, and failing to make a good impression can affect how your service is perceived. They should always be clean, well-maintained, and consistent with the design of your space. They should act as your medical spa's smile—attractive, congenial and genuine. Learn more about choosing the right doors for your medical space here.
  8. Baseboards create impact. They may seem insignificant, but baseboards have a particular function to perform. They makes the termination between the wall and the floor crisp and clean, and overall, they make the room look more finished. Consider six-inch-tall baseboards painted the same color as the wall to create an illusion of height. Procedure and operation rooms will require baseboards made out of vinyl core for sanitary reasons. For all the rest, we recommend the rectangular profiles made from medium-density fiberboard (MDF) and painted with semi-gloss paint to make them easier to clean.
  9. Frame your openings. Since we are discussing baseboards, consider framing your wall openings—such as windows, doors and pass-throughs—with a consistent casing. It generally articulates these fenestrations in your walls, makes them polished-looking and gives a timeless look to your interior design. A simple four-inch square profile painted in white semi-gloss should do the trick.
  10. Happy staff, Happy business. Finally, at the end of these best practices list is a reminder of what makes a medical spa tremendously successful—the staff members who render the services. Keeping your staff happy is not about showering them needlessly with empty gestures. Having a genuine regard for their well-being by giving them a space where they can recoup and recharge throughout the day, and where they can take their breaks and eat their meals in peace, will do wonders for their well-being. A crappy break room will not inspire a happy workforce. An unhappy workforce will not render top-notch services to your patients. A disgruntled patient will never come back to your medical spa and, worse, will tell other people about it. Aside from a break room, give your staff's working conditions a rethink. Do they exert much effort unnecessarily in getting supplies from one end of the office to another? Are their desks crammed with things that don't have palaces of their own? Do they sit all day in terribly uncomfortable chairs? Empathize not just with patients, but also with your staff and see what else hinders them from achieving your medical spa's goals.

The phrase "standing on the shoulders of giants" is meant to acknowledge the knowledge and experience previous medical spas have contributed to shaping the current model we have come to know. Our current generation, with our sensibilities and the available technology, is enjoined to build on what already exists, continue refining the environment and bring the experience to an even higher level. It is how innovations are brought into this world, as the quote by Paul Sloane at the top of this post suggests.

We hope you have enjoyed this list of best practices and taken some ideas to heart for designing your own medical spas. It is meant to refocus what is most important and give you some tried and true strategies to elevate your practice. We wish you focus to keep your eyes on your vision and great success to see that vision come to reality. Have a fun, intentional and innovation-driven journey ahead.

Read these blogs to know more about the business strategies you need to run a successful and profitable medical aesthetics practice:

Simour Design is a medical interior design firm with a passion for transforming and creating world class medical spaces. Its core focus is incorporating beauty, comfort, functionality and flow while simultaneously representing your brand identity. Simour transforms medical spaces into welcoming, productive and profitable healing spaces, while still serving as a physical reminder of your life's work and purpose.

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