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Improving Healthcare Waiting Room Design

Improving Healthcare Waiting Room Design

Posted In // Healthcare Design Tips

Building a better waiting room

The waiting room is an important part of the patient experience that is often given very little attention. The fact is that it’s wise to be careful with the design of a waiting room to enhance comfort, as indicated by a 2013 survey featured in Becker’s Hospital Review. The survey found that 97% of patients are aggravated by long waits, so that’s an obvious pain point you can address with smarter design.

Research has shown that the following methods can help to both improve patient satisfaction and even make the care process more efficient:

Comfortable chairs – One way the designers approach seating is through diversity, as with a modular seating system. You also want to freshen the air and allow patients better privacy, explains Suzanne LaBarre of Fast Company Design. “Planters keep the air feeling fresh,” she says. “Acoustic separators eke out space for private phone calls.”

Managing the queue – Rather than using impersonal methods such as single displays or having people take a number, you can have various displays throughout the room and integrate with a waiting room app – in turn improving patient engagement.

Nutritious snacks – Often healthcare facilities will have vending machines containing the typical packaged fare, but that’s not really a good fit in terms of nutrition and avoiding additives. Consider having other food and beverages available.

Warm welcome – Medical office waiting rooms often come across as cold and uninviting. One way to personalize the experience is to hang portraits of the doctors on welcome boards.

Reimagining furniture

Let’s take a moment to focus specifically on the issue of chairs and other furniture mentioned above. Since studies are showing that design has a major impact on the patient experience and even recovery times, furniture is being reconsidered so that patients can feel more comfortable.

“Everyone wants to have this Starbucks look and feel with a variety of table and seating options," notes Amy Mees in Health Care Magazine.

A more diverse furniture set will both be more inviting and more practical so you can reasonably serve a variety of patients. Armchairs are particularly recommended for senior citizens, notes Angela Fedele of Sourceable.

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