We thought these design ideas were new. We were wrong.

We thought these design ideas were new. We were wrong.

For years, brilliant practice owners of Hospitals of the Year have incorporated new ways to treat animals and clients better. Looking back, we found out some of what’s new is actually old—and still innovative.
Dec 02, 2015

The Veterinary Economics Hospital Design Competition has had a long history—more than 50 years—of highlighting the best of the best in veterinary clinic design and execution. But as we pored over Hospitals of the Year, we were surprised to see some of the stuff that makes our judges shout, “That’s genius!” actually has been done before. Check it out for yourself ... 



1965 — Notice something innovative at the first-ever Hospital of the Year, Valley Veterinary Hospital in Walnut Creek, California? Yup. Separate cat and dog entrances with their own color coded doors. Cat-friendly and low-stress are so 1965 … and 2015.

1975 — Dr. Jerry DeLoney, owner of Northwood Animal Hospital in Tallahassee, Florida, focused on “bringing the outdoors in and taking cues from the local environment” in this award-winning design, incorporating a waiting room that overlooks a courtyard. That’s a design choice echoed in one of our 2015 winners (on page 3) as well. 

1985 — Quartz Mountain Animal Hospital in Scottsdale, Arizona, took home top honors with a distinctive segregated traffic flow. Patients coming in don’t cross paths with those leaving, a component in hospital design today for those seeking lower-stress visits for pets. Another highlighted feature of this hospital is the surgical pack pass-through located just to the left of the door above… now, where have we seen that before? That’s right—everywhere.

1995 — Dr. Barbara Burroughs planned a centralized treatment space, something a 2015 Hospital of the Year did, too. The treatment area at Burroughs’ Brown Animal Hospital in South Burlington, Vermont, is accessible from many areas of the hospital, leading to quick and efficient workflow.

2005 — Let’s not argue about it anymore: Ancillary services done right can boost client satisfaction and practice revenue. Ten years ago, VCA Arroyo Animal Hospital in Lake Forest, California, planned for it. An important note: They clearly delineated in the practice floor plan where medical services ends and boarding and grooming begins (marked with an arrow in the portion of the floor plan shown above).


2015 — Now see how this year’s two Hospitals of the Year used old, innovative ideas beautifully. Atwater Veterinary Center in Atwater, California, drew inspiration from the local environment (above). Palm Beach Veterinary Specialists in West Palm Beach, Florida, sports a central treatment area accessible from many departments (below).