Decoration theme for my medical office

For those of you who have visited my new website, you probably have read about my office’s movie theater decor.  I chose this unconventional theme for 2 reasons.

First, I wanted to share with my patients a part of myself outside of ophthalmology.  For those of you who have been following my blog regularly, you’ve probably noticed that I like to drop random movie references every now and then.  I love to watch movies.  I personally have over 1,000 DVDs, a 60 inch Pioneer Elite plasma TV, and an obscure DVD player that costs more than most big screen TVs.  One of my favorite times of the year is when the AMC theaters hold their Academy Awards Best Picture marathon.  In fact, this year’s is coming up!  Looks like the one on February 26 is going to be a 24 hour marathon.  I’m not sure if I’m up for the challenge, but I want to try to tackle this beast.

Anyway, as sad is it may sound, I actually went into ophthalmology partly because of movies.  The first thing that came to my mind when I imagined going blind was that I would no longer be able to watch movies.  Movies have played a large part in shaping my identity, and I didn’t ever want to lose the ability to enjoy cinema.  I actually wrote this on my personal statement by the way. With this mindset, I feel like I can somewhat commiserate better with patients who have sight-threatening conditions, and I could devote myself more sincerely to preserving or improving my patients’ vision.

The second reason is a bit more practical.  Patients will be less likely to get frustrated by long wait times in an interesting environment.  Of course, I’m going to do my best to minimize patient wait times, but in some situations, such as dilation, it’s inevitable.  I just feel like the more monotonous an office looks, the more patients will compare their watch to their appointment times; the more patients look at their watch, the slower their watch will run; and the slower their watch runs, the more unsatisfied patients will get about their wait.

Now, this scheme was not my idea.  It was that of my residency’s chairman: Dr. Kirk Packo.  He himself is a movie buff, and he designed the Rush Eye Center based on a 1930s art deco movie theater motif.  I’ve experienced the proof of concept in my residency.  Most patients had nothing but compliments regarding the interior decor.  In fact, I’ve even heard of patients asking for us to skip their turn because they wanted to finish the movie that was playing.  It was pretty awesome, and I wanted to continue working in a similar environment.

I’m just itching for my tenant improvements to complete this week so that I could get started on decorating my place.  Here’s a preview (a bit extreme, but I think it’s awesome):

Howie’s take: I agree with Ho Sun about personalizing your office. My hobby is taking pictures when I travel. In case if you haven’t noticed, most of the photos on the blog posts are travel pictures. When asked, my receptionist tells patients that I took them and had them printed. This makes a good conversation starter and puts patients at ease.

My front waiting room has mostly Arizona landscape and cactus photos. They’re much more interesting to look at than my diplomas, which I keep in my office. One of my colleagues in town does the same thing and is known for his African safari and Antarctica penguin photos.

Here are pictures of some of them. Most of these were taken with a old iPhone so I can’t blow them up bigger or they’d become depixelated. I used the site Sign up for their email list and the canvases typically cost $15-20. You can also use Costco. Unfortunately I’ve been lazy and not put any up recently. Some of my patients have actually been asking when I’ll get new ones up.

I also got a photo print under acrylic glass from this company:

It’s significantly more expensive than the canvas photos, but I’m going to get more of these as they look really nice.

Since I grew up as a big fan of the Philadelphia sports teams, I have a Eagles super bowl poster and a Phillies World Series print in my office. I have a patient who I did cataract surgery on that wears Patriots hats, shirts, pants and socks to every appointment. When she saw my poster she just smiled and congratulated me 😀

Finally, in your waiting room you will want to buy coffee table books or magazines for patients to read. Some of my colleagues have a TV, but you don’t want to plan CNN or Fox News or you’ll wind up offending half the patients. It might be better to have nature videos or documentaries. Some offices have educational streaming which is provided for free by some companies, but unfortunately this often includes advertising, which I’d rather have my office free of.

Here’s a magazine rack that I bought on Amazon and had mounted:

If you are broke and want to get magazines on the cheap, use your leftover frequent flyer miles at this link:

It probably varies by area, but the most popular magazines are Phoenix Magazine, National Geographic, and the gossip magazines. I love it when I see 80 year old guys reading the gossip magazines while dilating. You’ll also notice a copy of Weldimg Journal above. One of my patients brought it in. Phoenix magazine usually gets stolen in a few weeks, but no one has taken the Welding Journal yet… 😎

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