In any medical practice, it is important to create a warm and welcoming environment for patients. This involves carefully designing service spaces, front areas, and waiting rooms. And because your waiting room sets the mood for each patient’s experience and creates their first impression of your practice, you need to pay extra attention to its layout and decor. Before you begin renovating, read our tips on how to create a comfortable physician’s waiting room.
The layout of your waiting area plays a large role in making a good first impression on new patients. Place your reception desk close to the front door so patients will know where to go to check in. Create a flow for entering and exiting the office area as well as the examination rooms.
The main way to create this flow is to place your furniture in a way that will create designated areas, with space around and between each piece to help direct traffic.
Evaluate your waiting room from the perspective of a patient and identify aspects of it that could be stressful. Then, change them. Are the TV programs distracting, loud, or distressing? Lower the volume and choose neutral, family-friendly content.
Is the area messy or cluttered? Create an organizational system for magazines, books, and toys (and throw away damaged ones).
Is the lighting too harsh? Choose softer light or replace lighting fixtures with ones that diffuse the light.
Examine the color of your waiting room’s walls and opt for a soft color that matches the room’s furniture.
Is the carpeting or other flooring worn or discolored? Dirty, dingy and worn flooring does not make a good impression. Moreover, it can incorrectly signal to new patients that you don’t keep your practice clean enough. If you’re going to be examining patients, you want your practice to look clean and well maintained so they will form a positive impression of you.
Nothing is worse than leaving your patients in the dark. Even if the wait time is guaranteed to be a long one, make sure you have a system in place that gently reminds everyone that their needs will be attended to shortly. Just going that little extra mile to ensure that there is real human contact gives the impression that you care.
Incorporate this kind of human interaction into any kind of waiting room by ensuring that someone is on hand at all times to remind clients and patients of expected wait times. By the same token, answer any questions they may have. A waiting room that keeps patients in the loop is a waiting room that pleases.
Does it feel like your waiting room is missing something? Consider adding a small beverage stand that includes water, coffee, and light snacks. It will offer a comforting finish to your waiting area and will keep patients occupied while they wait for their appointment.
Another feature you should consider adding is artwork. Go to your local craft store (or, better yet, seek out local artists) and choose art pieces that add to the calming atmosphere you want your waiting area to have. Live plants are another great choice. That’s because when properly placed, plants can add a relaxing tone to any room and they act as a natural air filter.
Maintaining a relaxing waiting room has the potential to put your patients into a better state of mind. Moreover, it will help their visit go more smoothly.