No space went to waste in this general, emergency and specialty veterinary hospital in Indianapolis.
“We hoped to improve efficiency and utilization of equipment and control the cost of care, which has increased at a rate more than double that of inflation over the last several years,” says Mike Thomas, DVM, co-owner of Noah’s Westside Animal Hospital.
According to our judges, they succeeded. Dr. Thomas’ new 14,877-square-foot veterinary hospital took home a Merit Award in the 2018 dvm360 Hospital Design Competition.
Read on to learn three of Noah’s keys to efficiency and take home these tips to your veterinary hospital.
1. Sharing is caring
After several remodels over more than three decades, Noah’s outgrew their original space as the practice morphed into a different mix of services. In the new hospital, the reception area is split in two, dividing the general practice and ER/specialist lobby, waiting and check-in areas.
While, these spaces are separate, many features are shared in the new hospital. For example:
> Expensive equipment (shared by imaging, laboratory and ICU)
> Exam rooms (either hospital can become an 11-exam-room practice when needed, with five ER/specialist exam rooms and six general practice exam rooms)
> Restrooms and janitorial closet (located in clever corner locations)
“The unique layout allows two practices to share one building and allows for better use of personnel, equipment and other resources,” the team says.
2. Build the best team
Before you can build a new veterinary hospital, first you have to build your team: architects, engineers, contractors, interior designers—plus, financial and legal experts. And it’s hard to find good help these days, which is why Dr. Thomas made sure he hired experienced professionals who were familiar with veterinary hospitals, selecting Wayne Usiak, AIA, of BDA Architecture, as his architect. How do you know if you’re hiring the best? Ask for references and then check them, he says.
“A seasoned architecture firm that specializes in veterinary hospitals is critical,” Dr. Thomas says. “And plan for things to take longer and cost more than you expect.”
He says that once the building starts coming together, you’ll find things you want to change or add. So, the more you can prepare for these unexpected costs ahead of time, the better.
“Contractors love ‘change orders,’ and they charge copiously for them," Dr. Thomas says. "One contractor I heard about has a nice boat called ‘Change Order.'"
3. Room to grow
A large multi-purpose and training room was a must in Noah’s new hospital, and it’s one of Dr. Thomas’ favorite features. This space, which seats more than 100 people, can be used to train staff from all of Noah’s locations as well as other area veterinarians and support staff.
“It can also serve as a community resource for civic groups, breed clubs or vendor partners, since it can be accessed without coming in to either practice,” Dr. Thomas says. “The room demonstrates our practice commitment to training, education and the continuous pursuit of improvement.”