By: Benna Crawford
Time and efficiency are everything in a hospital office. Having the right supplies on hand supports workflow and employee comfort – and that translates into better patient service, less stress and fewer backups. Whether it's a back office that deals with paperwork or a reception area and administrative nerve center, what's on and within those walls helps to ensure smooth sailing and a better experience for staff and visitors.
The bulletin board is a key piece of real estate for information, rules and reminders, and correspondence display. A corkboard in the waiting area might feature health tips and completed sample forms to help first-time patients enter their data correctly. A bulletin board near the receptionist's desk can serve as the marquee for cheerful patient photos and holiday cards. Behind the scenes, the board can help employees remember to adhere to certain compliance standards, or serve as a community board where employees can interact with one another. Consider graphite-blend cork and a wood frame for a professional look. Use uniform color and style push pins for a neater appearance.
Give workers good quality, fresh coffee and an easy-maintenance coffee maker for peak performance. Consider single-serve brewers and individual coffee cups to cut the waste of stale coffee and cater to finicky java-lovers. Display racks, drawers and carousels keep coffee pods corralled and easy to find. If you work in a high-volume area, you may want to consider ground roast coffee in bulk. Keep generous supplies of dairy or non-dairy creamers, sweeteners, filters and stir sticks on hand to boost the buzz.
Paper cups come in enough shapes and sizes to customize your supply. Keep a spare stack of them in the break room close to the water cooler or coffee maker. Look for recyclable paper cups, and keep a recycle bin nearby to feel even better about the environment.
You may have a digital office but some things still require paper. Feed your printer the good stuff to keep it running smoothly. Stock reams of cost-efficient multipurpose paper, toner-friendly laser paper, high-resolution photo-quality paper, and bright or pastel sort-at-a-glance color copy paper. Store paper in a dry, visible area near the printer so it's always pristine and you can re-order more whenever you notice the stack getting low.
Stock up on a variety of wipes for various occasions. Wipes with bleach are germ killers, essential armor in a hospital setting. Take advantage of these to mop up small spills, sanitize the phones and clean your screens. Hypoallergenic wipes are ideal in restrooms for babies and other sensitive patients. Eyeglass wipes are safe for delicate lenses. Antistatic wipes take care of tablet and computer screens. DVD wipes help to preserve important data. Evaluate the traffic flow, daily activity and equipment in your office to find the right wipe for the job.
Washing with soap and water is excellent, but hand sanitizers are quicker. Make it easy for people to zap germs with economy-size pumps in restrooms and at the coffee station, or no-touch, no-battery foam sanitizers on restroom or office walls. A study published in the "Journal of Infectious Diseases" confirmed that a concentration of at least 60 percent ethanol in hand sanitizers provides an effective bacterial antiseptic. Most brand name sanitizers conform to this germ-killing standard; check labels and don't forget that sanitizers with aloe also protect busy hands from the discomforts of dryness.
Benna Crawford has been a journalist and New York-based writer since 1997. Her work has appeared in "USA Today," the "San Francisco Chronicle," "The New York Times," and in professional journals and trade publications. Crawford has worked in executive management for global advertising and marketing firms, in finance industry regulation, as an educator, and as head of her own successful small business for 15 years.
References Medical Economics: Starting a Practice 5-6 Months Out: Office Design and Supplies Journal of Emerging Infectious Diseases March 2006: Hand Sanitizer Alert