Northeast Georgia Physicians Group Steps Towards The Future of Healthcare With Cardboard Doctors’ Offices

Published: Monday, August 10, 2015

What do yarn, paper dolls and cardboard have in common with Northeast Georgia Physicians Group new OB/GYN and Urology offices?  Design.

This year, Northeast Georgia Physicians Group is taking an important step toward the future of healthcare, by building doctor’s offices out of cardboard; an exercise that will allow for patient’s needs to be considered before the physician’s office is even built.

“For the first time, we are designing physician’s offices not based on architecture, but based on patients and families,” says Karlie Vavrinek, Administrative Director at Northeast Georgia Physicians Group (NGPG).

At NGPG, it is understood, that in order to reshape patient care and workflow, good design is a necessity.  Good design doesn’t just consider how a space looks, but instead focuses on how the space will function. This is the future of healthcare facility design, a ‘Lean Design’.  Lean principles dictate an office should maximize value and minimize waste.

“‘Lean’ is a management system that incorporates several principals to eliminate waste in any given process, even in the delivery of healthcare.  With the elimination of waste in a process, it has been proven the process runs smoother and more efficiently with an improved end result. In our case, we are striving to create a streamlined and efficient approach to delivering healthcare, which will produce improved safety and increase patient satisfaction,” says Dr. Philip Kimsey, Quest (Lean) Physician Champion for the Northeast Georgia Physicians Group and NGPG Primary Care Clinic physician.  “In addition, the medical staff and providers benefit from a more efficient work day.  Everyone benefits.  When completed, these may be the first fully lean designed medical offices in northeast Georgia.”

With all the time, effort and money involved in building new offices from the floor-up, NGPG wants to make sure to get it right.  Building new practices using lean principles requires teamwork, sharing of ideas and a listening to a variety of experiences.  That’s where the cardboard comes in.

Dr. Kimsey explains, “By building these cardboard physician offices first, we are able to get feedback from other doctors, nurses, administrators and patients about optimizing the flow of the patient and staff through the office.  An optimized flow will lead to a better patient experience and a more efficient work environment for the staff.  We want the entire community to be involved.  This kind of exercise will allow us to optimize not only the space, but the entire patient experience and improve our level of care.” 

     Ofelia Bridgeford, Practice Administrator at NGPG Heritage OB/GYN continues, “We are asking questions like, how can we improve the patient’s experience from beginning to end and how can we do it quicker?” 

In this process, NGPG is re-imagining what their facilities should look like and how they can best meet patient and family needs for years to come.  The goal is to design OB/GYN and Urology practices that provide patients with carefully considered high-quality care in an environment where patient’s needs are not only considered, they are the priority.  To meet this goal NGPG would like to invite the public to tour one of their cardboard facilities and give feedback.

The cardboard offices will be on display for one day only, in two different locations.  The first tours will be held on the third floor in the medical offices adjacent to the new Northeast Georgia Medical Center Braselton from 4 – 5:30pm on Wednesday, August 19.   The second tour option is in Gainesville on the second floor of Medical Park 1, 1315 Jesse Jewell Parkway from 4 – 5:30pm on Friday, August 21.  Each tour and feedback session will take about 30 minutes and snacks will be provided.

To participate in NGPG’s cardboard open houses and tour the mock-up offices please register online   Space is limited so register today!


About Northeast Georgia Physicians Group
Northeast Georgia Physicians Group (NGPG) brings togethis more than 250 talented physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, midwives and othis clinical staff representing more than 20 specialties at more than 80 locations across North Georgia.  Learn more at

NGPG is affiliated with Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS), which serves more than 800,000 people in more than 13 counties across the region.  As part of NGHS, patients of NGPG have a direct connection to Northeast Georgia Medical Center – Georgia’s #1 Hospital (CareChex®).  Learn more at