Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Moving Day is a very Dangerous Day

Ok, nothing quite like moving to make you realize how much stuff you have that you really, really don't need. Unfortunately, the stuff you really do need is mixed all in with it, so you can't just dump it all. But it's been an exciting few weeks despite it all.

: I had these great plans of taking the opportunity to go through all my file cabinets and folders and get rid of the outdated guidelines, and organize the useful ones into something in some sort of order, downsize, computerize, and declutter. You can go ahead and stick that one on the list right after "find cure to common cold" and "world peace". I did manage to thin out the patient chart room down from 5 cabinets to 3, and put an additional 40 boxes into my storage (attic), adding to the over 30 that were already there. Someday I'm going to have to deal with all of these, but not right now. (and we are painstakingly starting to scan the charts of transferring patients, so storage of them will be on disc, not in actual space, eventually).
I also took 380 pounds of paper to the Giant Shredding Truck. Mostly old billing paperwork that I realized it wasn't worth saving when I admitted to myself that even if I needed the EOB from my 3rd patient on June 7 2004, I wasn't going to be able to find it in the boxes. It was great to be rid of all that stuff, but shredding really gives me anxiety.
By last saturday afternoon, my packing/storage plans became more of a "sweep the entire contents of your desk into a large box and deal with it later" . That large box is now under my desk, to be rummaged through when I need something. Not exactly as I had planned, but it works.
Choosing: I was fortunate to be able to make some minor changes in the new place, including having a hole cut in the wall between the receptionist office and the waiting room, and a sink into the exam room, and paint. I was also fortunate enough to have an absolutely fantastic contractor do this work for me. Most of the choices were easy, (went to home depot, picked out the least expensive reasonable looking sink and cabinet, etc), but choosing paint was hard. I'm not the most visually perceptive person, but I've made some unusual paint choices in my life, and since I look at the office walls all day every day, I wanted to to be right. Most paint stores will sell you small "sample" jars of paint (the local one by me they are $5) to test on the wall. If I can give one bit of advice GET THE SAMPLES. Even if you need to try 10 different ones, it is worth $50 not to screw up the paint color. I picked out the one I liked, it was a sortof greenish aqua, but the lighting in the room made it look like baby blue. I would have been so annoyed with my little baby boy nursery walls all day. I ended up picking one that on the little square looked way too dark, but on the walls looks peaceful and calm and deep.
Moving: There is always, always, more than you think. Saturday morning I went to the office to make sure all of Fridays "real work" medical patient stuff, was done (friday ended up being a super busy day after a really slow week). Then came the joy of moving all that stuff that was so caringly packed (10% of the contents of the office) and the stuff that was haphazardly thrown into boxes (the other 90%). It turns out that most of what doctors do is not actually hands on medical care, we actually fabricate paper. It comes out of our machines in every shape and size and fills boxes and files and drawers and covers every flat surface until none remains. (Mind you, not much of it is the small green kind that you can exchange for goods). It is really scary.
The wonderful contractor I mentioned also was saintly enough to offer us his truck and trailer, and he and his wife spent the day with us saturday. I think I would still be sitting in the back of my old office looking around wondering how to move everything if not for them. We were able to get chart file shelves onto the truck with the charts still on them, alas, we could not get them through the new foyer without tiliting them onto their sides, so thus had to remove the charts while they were in the foyer. That was a bit of a drag, but aside from little stuff like that, it was super smooth. By saturday night, the old place was empty, and the new one overflowed.
I went from four small rooms to two large rooms, deciding to minimize on unneeded space and duplication of stuff and work, so I have a room that is my office and exam room, and it's great. It has all my exam stuff (table, ekg, supplies), but also my desk, computer, bookshelf, phone etc. I really really like having a centralized work area. But unpacking my crammed office, and my cluttered exam room into a useable space was not exactly easy. Ditto for the front staff area-chart room, reception desk, copy area, and storage are all in one now. I think it would have been easy to start a new practice with this very efficient layout, but cramming my old style into this new one is going to take some work. I just keep on saying to myself "I don't need more space, I need less stuff."
The first week:
I've moved about one mile from my previous place, into an office building owned by two psychiatrists. It's been years since I've shared office space with other doctors, one forgets that not everyone does things the same way. They haven't thrown me out yet, so I think it's going to be ok tho. There's still a few kinks to work out (thermostat, door locks, and psychiatrists with overly sensitive noses who smell curry when it's not really there and try to blame you for making a smelly lunch). But all in all, I am so very glad to be in my new place. The new exam room/office is comfortable and roomy (if not yet perfectly organized and arranged). I can have 3 extra chairs now for patients and family, and there is plenty of breathing space. And breathing is good, right?


Jessica D said...

Hi Tac, it's Jess -new IMP from upstate NY. I'm moving in to my new digs too...a bit slower pace than you, and I appreciate the ability to take my time! I have just enough space, so have to be thoughtful about what I really need in there. Good luck to you...

Al Crowley said...

This is Al, Elizabeth's husband.

Some of the boxes of "no longer loved" office equipment ended up in my office...which is really the two downstairs bedrooms of our house.

Today was cleaning day around her. A month after moving day we finally got around to sorting out what we could use, what we could sell, what we should store, and "what the heck is that?" from Elizabeth's extra boxes of junk.

I will say though, it was well worth it to move.

The new office is much better suited to her practice. Being a IMP means (in our case) that one doc isn't running 3+ exam rooms. Her old office had 4 tiny, tiny rooms. It was built that way because the previous practice would rather the doc in one with a patient, a MA in another taking blood pressure, and a patient getting dressed in the third. That way the doctor can "process" the most patients.

I think a much better model is one where the doc and patient can be comfortable in a reasonable sized room. When you actually want to talk to the patient, it makes sense to do your own history and vitals. And when you are taking 30 face-to-face doctor minutes, you don't have to worry that a patient is going to take 2 minutes to get their shirt back on.