Midmark Experience Center: Hands-On Planning
Ideas for a new practice meet the real world at Midmark Experience Center.
Since February 2021, Midmark’s 21,000-square-foot Experience Center in Versailles, Ohio, has become a place for customers to learn about facility design and create spaces for optimal care delivery. With hands-on access to expertise in animal care solutions and technologies, Midmark provides its customers with an opportunity to envision how to bring together space design, workflow and equipment to help support the best possible care delivery.
“We originally came to look at cabinetry, but we realized there was a lot more there,” says Dr. Carrie Ellis, co-owner of Whiskers and Paws Animal Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio, who visited the Experience Center with colleague Dr. Kevin Rebrovich while they were designing their new practice. “One thing you want to focus on is thinking not just about how the practice will operate today, but how it will grow in the future. That’s one of the great things Midmark worked with us on.”
Veterinary Advantage asked Midmark teammates to talk about the Experience Center and its impact on customers and distribution partners. Offering comments were Crissy Treon, director, animal health marketing; Chris Grenier, vice president, animal health sales; Scott Manning, national director; and Pete Wenning, region director, animal health sales.
Veterinary Advantage: How does the Experience Center differ from a traditional showroom?
Chris Grenier: While a traditional showroom typically showcases a manufacturer’s best products, our Experience Center is designed to help customers make well-informed decisions that support better patient outcomes. And that encompasses much more than just equipment.
From the moment customers arrive, they discover how facility design, workflow, equipment and training intersect for greater care efficiencies. They have a unique opportunity to engage with facility design and workflow experts, learn about best practices, explore new animal care solutions and devise strategies to best serve their patients and clients more effectively.
There is a vast range of equipment and clinical knowledge available, with subject matter experts on hand to guide customers through the exploration of solutions and tailor recommendations to specific budgets, operational efficiency goals or patient care objectives.
Veterinary Advantage:Can you share a little bit about the physical layout of the Experience Center, particularly those areas for veterinary customers?
Crissy Treon: Customers tour various vignettes, each showcasing a specific care area and demonstrating how design, workflow and equipment support care delivery and efficiency. The venue highlights our expertise in the following areas:
- Hospital design: We understand that designing and constructing a veterinary hospital is complex. In our Hospital Design space, equipment is purposefully absent, allowing customers to focus on the overall journey of creating their new space. We demonstrate that the ideal care environment is not just about the space, but how people, equipment and technology come together to support the best care delivery.
- Comprehensive dentistry: Our dentistry approach emphasizes quality equipment, workflow design and whole-team in-clinic training. We recognize that many veterinarians have limited formal dentistry training, so we assist them in developing a proactive, inclusive and purposeful plan to provide the best and safest dental care for their patients.
- Patient exam room: In our exam room, we discuss the ideal room size and how it affects care efficiency. Customers can explore different types of equipment that promote proper ergonomics and see how it supports space-saving room designs. Our exam room designs demonstrate how to support a smooth face-to-face interaction between the caregiver, patient and client during examinations, while maintaining easy access to work surfaces and storage.
- Instrument processing: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines five critical steps of instrument processing. Following these best practices helps keep patients and staff safe and maximizes the efficiency of the instrument processing operation. The floor graphics we display in front of our sterilization center colorfully illustrate the steps needed to create a smooth workflow from dirty to clean.
- Lab + Pharmacy: The Lab and Pharmacy are ideally placed as close as possible to where the most client interaction occurs, allowing quick access to and from the exam rooms. We demonstrate how these areas can be integrated into or around the treatment area to streamline efficiency. This space also features our Synthesis® Cabinetry, which is designed for durability in animal care environments, while offering ergonomic access to stored items and options for safely stowing laboratory equipment when not in use.
- Dental suite: We recommend having a designated area for dental procedures such as oral surgery, extractions, filling, and dental radiography. Our dental suite showcases a two-table design and includes floor graphics that display how staff can perform procedures without impacting safety or efficiency.
- Surgery suite: Our surgery suite adheres to the standards set by the American Animal Hospital Association by limiting equipment and storage to essential items. This opens the space to streamline movement and workflow and supports a more sterile environment with fewer surfaces to decontaminate.
- Treatment area: For care teams who may be limited on space in their facilities, our Treatment Area showcases the Veterinary Chase. Its design allows equipment to be mounted for better accessibility and use of valuable floor space, creating a more efficient and effective treatment area.
- Boarding + Containment: Within our Experience Center is a curated selection of cages, kennels, feline housing and luxury suites. Customers can explore these options while collaborating with our facility design specialists to create areas for animal boarding and specialized recovery containment.
Veterinary Advantage: Describe the typical Experience Center visitor.
Scott Manning: We typically host a cross-functional group of stakeholders that may include practice owners, veterinarians, operations staff and architects or designers.
Veterinary Advantage:Typically, at what stage of the planning process are they?
Manning: Some customers mistakenly believe that a visit is most valuable toward the end of their project when they are ready to purchase equipment. However, we have found that engaging with our team during the early stages of planning and design can have a significant impact on the project.
First, when we discuss how they intend to utilize the equipment and technology, we can guide them to solutions that align with their objectives and enhance efficiencies. In some cases, to accommodate the care team’s preferred working style and workflow goals, alterations to floorplans may be required.
Next, customers always walk away with new ideas they want to inject into their facility designs. If they wait until after construction documents are completed, the project has been submitted to their municipality or sent out to bid, changes can be very costly and delay construction. If they opt to live with their original plans, they will find themselves adapting to the building’s design instead of working in a space built with their workflow in mind.
Veterinary Advantage: Do you have a routine “schedule of events” for Experience Center visitors?
Grenier: Every customer’s needs and preferences are unique. That’s why we take the time to create a personalized itinerary that caters to their needs and branding expectations. By sharing insights and best practices, we broaden their perspective and introduce them to new possibilities.
We provide an immersive learning experience that allows customers to witness how people and equipment move within a care space, which can significantly impact care efficiencies and workflow. This includes interactive product demonstrations, hands-on exploration, collaborative design sessions and a factory tour. Our ultimate goal is to equip every customer with the knowledge and insights they need to make informed decisions about their future care facilities.
Veterinary Advantage: How should customers prepare for their visit?
Pete Wenning: We have made a conscious effort to ensure that all visitors to the Midmark Experience Center have an educational and stress-free visit. Before any visit, the Midmark Territory Portfolio Manager will work with the clinic and distributor to tailor the experience for the customer’s interests and goals. This is accomplished by spending time in the customer’s current environment to observe workflows and acquire the customer’s project floorplans so Midmark Design Specialists can assess and prepare potential workflow solutions. Ultimately, we have found that customers who are receptive to discovery have found new solutions to existing problems they had tolerated in their current work environment.
Veterinary Advantage: After their visit, what kind of work typically lies ahead for the customer as well as Midmark?
Manning: Before the customers depart, our team will outline the essential next steps to provide the customer with clear expectations. The project journey involves a team of subject matter experts, comprising Midmark teammates, the customer’s architects, and our distributor partners, to ensure that all the relevant milestones are achieved, equipment is delivered and installed, clinical education is provided to maximize the usage of the solutions, and the care team is thriving in their new workspace.
Veterinary Advantage: Since the Experience Center opened, have you made changes or modifications? Put another way, what lessons have you learned to improve the customer’s (and Midmark’s) experience?
Treon: We continually seek ways to improve the Experience Center by gathering feedback from our customers and visitors. To better understand their behavior, we provide real-time locating badges. This helps us assess which areas of the Experience Center receive the most interest and identify those that may need improvement.
Veterinary Advantage:What role can/should the distributor play in facilitating an Experience Center visit for their customers?
Wenning: As with any successful venture, the best outcomes occur from strong coordination among business partners. It is critical for the distributor to work with the Midmark Territory Portfolio Manager as early as possible in the design process to ensure that the prospective customer is a viable candidate for a trip to the Experience Center. Historically, we have witnessed a direct correlation between how early in the project timeline a customer visits the Experience Center, and their overall satisfaction in the results. This statistic is further evidence that our distributors are collaborative partners whom we rely on to achieve better outcomes for our customers and deliver a better overall customer experience.