Posts Tagged ‘helpful tips’

5 Tips to Prepare Your Waiting Room for the New Normal

May 11th, 2020

As practice and clinic owners begin focusing their attention on reopening, we rounded up a few tips we thought you might find helpful. For a more in-depth checklist on how to keep you, your staff, and your patients safe, check out this great article by AAPD. Most importantly, check with your local, state, and federal governments and implement any required regulations for reopening your practices.


1. Revise Your Waiting Area Seating Arrangement

There are many options to consider, so do what works best for your space. Some options include removing chairs, adding curtains/sheets between seats, or spreading your chairs out into unused areas/rooms if you have the space to accommodate. If you see kids in your practice, consider arranging chairs in ‘pods’ to accommodate the patient, a parent, and possibly a sibling. If you have IDS benches or other connected seating options, consider marking designated seats to help patients keep their distance from one another.


2. The Less People in the Waiting Room, the Better

If you want to eliminate non-essential personnel in the building, ask patients and their families to wait/fill out any paperwork in their car. Call or text them on their cell phones when you are ready for them to come in. You can ask that any additional family members remain in the car if possible, to avoid overcrowding the waiting room or treatment area.


3. Reduce the Number of Interactive Touchpoints
Reduce the number of patient interaction touchpoints. For example, wipe downs pens and credit card machines between patients and lessen pen/form transfers through contactless solutions, such as emailing receipts.


4. Help Maintain the Distance

Use floor stickers to encourage your patients to allow proper social distancing from front of house staff and other patients waiting inside. To help with this, IDS has created a variety of floor stickers based on our most popular themes, available for you to order a cost.

Go to or call 1-888-884-4102 to request floor stickers for your office.


5. Eliminate Unnecessary Contact Points
Reduce the number of contact points in your waiting room. Mark play areas off-limits and turn off video game consoles; take away any magazines or toys that you would normally provide to your patients to help pass the time.


We hope you found these tips insightful. Visit our Facebook page and let us know if you have any other great tips for implementing social distancing measures in a professional environment!


Office Theming is a Win for Your Office, Big or Small

January 3rd, 2020

No matter what size space you want to theme, the benefits of a kid-friendly space in dental or medical offices are always the same. Your practice will become more welcoming for young families, and the kids will have fun and be less anxious while in your care. Happy parents will rave about your office, and through their word-of-mouth advertising, more families will come looking for a similar experience.

Read on for a few ways to take your space from mundane to magical!


Small Office

For offices where space is a precious commodity, start your theming with wall murals. Murals are a great way to inject some fun into a space and require zero footprint to do so. Murals aren’t limited to just your walls; our colorful graphics can be applied to check-in counters, doors, cabinetry, windows, company vehicles, and more!

Our custom murals are expertly curated to fit any space, taking any permanent fixture into consideration – light switches, outlets, doorways, etc. You’ll never have to worry about a cute character’s face being covered up by the thermostat!

If you’d like to have some 3D elements in your office, but you’re worried about them taking up too much space, we recommend products like brushing mirrors or themed benches that replace their ‘regular’ counterparts. This combination results in an exciting office with zero extra space required.


Medium Office

If you’ve got a little more room to play, your options open up even more. In addition to our recommendations for a smaller office, themed kid’s corners and play areas are among our most popular designs. You can add in some gaming stations for a variety of ages, while creating “share-worthy” photo ops that are a perfect addition to your social media feed. These extras can really enhance the experience kids have while visiting your office.

Depending on your location and exterior space available, you could also consider a character sitting on a bench outside of your practice. Our designs are built to last and can withstand outdoor elements, no matter your geographical location, from snowy winters to sunny summers. Exterior photo ops make for great landmarks, which not only saves space inside, but also helps make your practice easier to find from the outside. Inquisitive passers-by will likely wander into your practice, curious to know more about the services you offer.


Large Office

If you are lucky enough to have a large space, this is where the IDS team can really roll up their sleeves and help you create an unforgettable experience for your patients. As your patients move from the front of the office to the back, we can help you to enhance your theme and tell a story that keeps them engaged throughout their entire visit.

With more space comes more opportunities to get creative with your theming, such as a large-scale sculpture in your waiting area, or 3D cladding for your front desk. You can add theming elements like ceiling characters to your treatment rooms and open bay, or deck out your waiting area with cladded benches or characters “waiting” for their own appointments. Theater rooms are also popular to keep kids occupied for longer, especially when waiting for a sibling to finish their appointment. The trick is creating a space that isn’t just a room with a TV, but a secret world created just for your younger patients.

Big or small, theming can help you to squeeze extra value out of your physical space. Our clients often describe it as a win-win-win investment – patients and their families have more fun while in your care, staff report that appointments are easier and they enjoy working a unique environment, and the space helps to fuel positive reviews from parents which helps to accelerates the growth of the practice.

IDS is committed to helping you invest in the future success of your practice.

The only question is, what kind of theme can we create for you?


What’s Holding You Back? 10 Concerns We Have Heard from New IDS Clients

December 2nd, 2019

There’s no doubt that an IDS-themed office makes appointments more fun for your young patients, creates an environment in which your team will enjoy working, and fast-tracks the growth of your practice… so, what’s holding you back?

We get it – you likely have some questions around what to expect and how it all works. Fear not – here are answers to the ten most common questions and reservations we hear from new clients.


1. How much will it cost?

All of our themed elements are custom built, therefore prices vary depending on design, scope, and complexity. The size and position a 3D character is sculpted in will change the price, so if you see an example of two hippo characters in two different offices in our portfolio, they could differ slightly in price. It is much more effective for us to work with you and find out your specific needs in order to give you your custom pricing. We have created themed spaces at all levels from $5,000 to over $800,000. At Imagination Design Studios, there is something for everyone, and we happily work within your budget.

When considering the cost remember that the price of the theming is an investment into your business that will pay off with happier patients that will keep coming back. These dentists and office staff have experienced it first hand:


“We were a brand new office – when we opened and had a full schedule within 6 months.”

– Amy, Office Manager


“When we first moved in, I had a goal of achieving $1.2m in revenue and we met that. This year, we are on target to achieve $2m in revenue and I credit the theming with bringing in that additional $800,000.”

– Dr. Jenni Burkitt, Owner


“In one year we’ve gone from a startup, to full-on busy. I’m sure we’ll have too many patients within 2 to 3 years.”

– Dr. Jed Snatic, Owner


2. How long does the build process take and will theming with IDS extend my build schedule?

Each office is unique and depending on the design, scope, and complexity of a project, the timeline can vary. That said, a typical office theming project with IDS takes 6 to 9 months from beginning to end – concept drawings to installation. (Much shorter if you are selecting pre-designed items from our catalog as we can bypass the design process and go straight into production.)

If you are building from the ground up, we will be one of the last teams to enter your space, after all the walls are up and painted, flooring is down, cabinets are in and finishes are complete.

In your build schedule, our installation typically accounts for less than a week.


3. Will I be kept in the loop on progress?

We call the process The Five Steps from Mundane to Magical, and it includes regular updates from our team. Often, these will include photos of your custom theming props being produced on our shop floor, allowing you to follow along as your project comes to life.

“I felt like I really had a sense of what I was doing in my office. From the online meetings and the markups that explained everything from colors and foliage, to the 3D models of my characters, IDS really created a complete picture. I didn’t realize I was going to see my whole office before it was built. I was so excited to see every new email you sent.”

– Dr. Tim Verwest, Pediatric Dentistry of Fort Myers


4. Will the product hold up?

We love this question. IDS products are handmade by our experienced craftspeople and made with the care and materials required to meet our “kid-proof” standards.

Everything we create is built to the highest standards for quality and durability – something that is truly unmatched in the industry. In fact, we build our indoor props to the exact same standards as our exterior pieces which have – literally – endured tornados and hurricanes, and survived looking just as good as ever!


5. Can you work with my architect and interior designer?

The roles of your architect and interior designer remain unchanged – theming is more like the icing on the cake. Our job is to collaborate with your team to ensure that what we produce compliments and enhance the layout, finishes, colors, and other design decisions that have been made. Members of our staff – from sales, to CAD, to production – have backgrounds in interior design and can understand and communicate with your existing team.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Elizabeth in the design of multiple dental facilities over a number of years. She represents IDS in both a comfortable and professional manner – and most importantly, we’ve had successful projects together! I highly recommend working with Elizabeth and the entire team at IDS (and look forward to doing so again.)”

– Tim Kuhlman, Architect at TkDesign Architecture


6. Do you have a rep come to visit my office?

Technology has enabled us to be very effective at working with our clients remotely, so a site visit is not necessary. We make sure to stay connected through online meetings, phone calls, e-mails, and plenty of in-progress photos and videos.


7. How do we know it will fit?

To make sure our pieces will fit in your space, one of our first orders of business is to convert your permitted plans into a digital 3D model of your office (we’ll be asking for the ‘reflected ceiling plans’ for this reason). From there, everything we design is done so in that 3D environment. This process not only ensures everything will fit perfectly but also gives you a great preview for how your theming elements will come together in your space.

If necessary, we will send a member of our team to measure your walls and get precise dimensions of your space. We call this a “dim check”. We may also ask that a member of your team confirm measurements for us.


8. Who does the install?

For custom themed offices, our team arrives on-site the same day the product does. They manage everything from off-loading your props from the truck through to the final details of installation. You and your contractor don’t need to lift a finger.

If you are selecting pre-designed decor from our catalog instead of a custom office, these items are all designed to be easily installed by your general contractor or facilities manager.


9. How much extra space do I need for theming?

Ultimately, none. Theming with murals uses existing wall surfaces and requires no footprint at all. From there, many of our products, such as themed benches, bay dividers and kid-friendly brushing mirrors simply take the place of other essential furniture and decor items.

If you have space set aside for some extra fun, we can get even more creative. With as little as 25 dedicated square feet, we can add gaming, education stations ,or a hand-sculpted character to your office that makes the perfect photo op for social media!


10. How much input do I have into the design?

Custom themed offices are exactly that – custom! We work closely with you to understand what you’d like the finished product to look like and how you want it to function. From there, our talented artists will begin by sketching concepts, allowing you to see your unique vision come life.

“I was pleased that IDS helped me right from day one and that the designers could take my ideas and run with them. They built a theme based on my own storybook and really brought my characters to life! The transformation of my practice has been wonderful. The kids love it, my staff loves it, and I absolutely love it! Thank you so much IDS!”

– Dr. Leslie Jacobs, DDS


Still have some questions? Check out our FAQs, or schedule a no-obligation consultation today!


5 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Photo Op

August 28th, 2019

With social media playing an ever more critical role in marketing, it’s no surprise that photo ops are becoming a trend in clinic waiting rooms the world over. It’s a great strategy for using your physical office space to drive social media activity (like posts and shares) and can really help a practice gain organic traction in the online parent community.
Here are 5 tips to ensure you are getting maximum value out your photo op:
1. Make Sure It’s ‘Share-Worthy’.

Parents are always on the lookout for the next moment that will produce an eye-catching, adorable photo of their little ones. Make sure that your photo op features vibrant colors and something that will really make kids smile. It’s all about curating that perfect social media moment.


2. It’s Also a Subtle Brag.

Beyond the adorable moment, parents are secretly looking for the opportunity for a subtle brag. For example, “Look at how much fun my kid had at the dentist… Oh, and no cavities!”

To play into this desire, add some props to the scene that allow kids to proudly advertise ‘Cavity-Free Today!’, ‘Had a Great Appointment!’, or ‘I was Brave Today!’.

If you’re an optometrist, try a sign that says ‘New Glasses Day!’ or ‘My First Pair of Glasses!’.

If you’re a doctor, ‘I Was Vaccinated Today!’, ‘I Got a Shot Today!’, or ‘I’m All Better!


3. Make Sure Your Brand is Along for the Ride.

You get the most marketing value from a photo being posted to social media if those who see it know where it was taken. We suggest a combination of two things: your logo subtly included in the scene somewhere – it can be incorporated in the background scene, on a signpost that’s in the shot, or perhaps on the t-shirt of the photo op character. Next, utilize hashtags and encourage parents to tag your office when they post the picture. Make this easy on them by ensuring your hashtags and social media handles are easy to find and are included on any take-home paperwork they may receive.


4. Run a Contest.

One of the best ways to nurture parent-driven activity online is to run a contest. Weave this together with your photo op by allowing the posting of the photo as entry into the contest. Use a unique hashtag to easily identify entries online and make your prize something family-focused such as passes to a local amusement park or a family picnic prize pack.

One thing to note here – not every parent will be open to posting photos of their kids on social media, so be sure to supplement the above with an offline entry ballot as well. This way parents have the opportunity to enter without being ‘forced’ to post pics of their kids online.

5. Mix it Up!

Parents don’t want to look like they are posting the same photo more than once, which is why you’ll need to put some thought into keeping your photo op current. It can be as simple as adding some seasonal props like a Santa hat on your character or adding some pumpkins and cobwebs around Halloween. The trick is to make the photo op reflect what’s current now.


Ready to learn more? Book a free consultation with our team today and we’ll walk you through the elements that make the perfect ‘share-worthy’ scene in your office!

5 Tips for Creating the Experience Parents Really Want (But Won’t Tell You!)

June 10th, 2019

What is it that parents really want when they bring their kids in for treatment? Aside from positive clinical outcomes – which we can assume is the number one priority for both you and them – there is something that every parent secretly hopes they get while bringing their family to your office…

A mini vacation.

Now hear us out. They won’t tell you this, but every parent is thinking the same thing when they enter your office. It goes something like this: “Please let this be easy because I really hope I can relax for a few minutes while my kids are occupied and I have no other demands on my attention.”

It’s akin to being on an airplane – for a block of time you can disconnect and sneak in some ‘me time’ while the demands of everyday life can wait. It’s not the primary purpose of being there, but it sure is an enjoyable perk when it happens.

Understanding this secret wish of parents offers a great opportunity for any healthcare provider who works with young families. It’s an opportunity to deliver a beyond-expectation experience that gets parents talking and helps fuel referral rates. Relaxed parents, cooperative patients, happy staff, growing practice – everyone wins.


Here are 5 simple ways to make sure parents feel welcome in your practice:

1. Make their kids feel welcome immediately by engaging with them as soon as they enter your office. Welcome them by name whenever possible and make them feel like the star of the show. This helps reduce appointment anxiety in your younger patients and allows them to feel more comfortable being separated from mom or dad. Also, it’s a great primer for a smooth treatment because appointments are easier for your staff when patients feel at ease.

welcome patients to your office by name

2. Create a special space that is inviting for kids – one that is clearly just for them where they can have fun, be fully engaged in a healthy distraction and not worry about interrupting the adults. This creates the opportunity for mom and dad to relax, instead of adding the pressure of having to entertain a child while in a space that doesn’t feel kid friendly.

3. Think about the experience parents have with the assumption that they will arrive with two kids – the one who has a scheduled appointment and a sibling. Construct your experience around the child that will be spending time in your waiting room beyond simply waiting to be called back. Make sure your space goes the distance to keep them happy and engaged for 30-45 minutes.

4. Encourage parents to fully embrace the small window of relaxation time by offering something indulgent to snack on. Strive for a step above the usual – perhaps gourmet coffee, premium chocolates, fresh fruit some or some other delectable snack that makes their time in your space special. Indulging in an unexpected treat is a great way to initiate the mental shift out of the usual daily grind. You could even take this to the next level with a massage chair or other spa-like touches for mom or dad.

massage chair in waiting room to occupy parents

5. For some, a relaxing time may mean using their mobile device. And that’s ok – embrace it by having common phone charges available and reliable Wi-Fi. (Wi-Fi is especially important for our fellow Canadians, where cellular data is often limited and rationed closely, making Wi-Fi a must.)


It’s a simple formula, really. First, make a special space and a welcoming experience for junior patients. This takes the tension out of what can otherwise be a high-stress situation for both the kids and parents alike. That then opens the door for you to easily deliver a beyond-expectation experience for mom and dad – one that is a pleasant surprise, but exactly what every parent has secretly been hoping for all along.