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Key factors to consider in healthcare office design
Thu 16 July 2015 - 2:30 pmOpinion | Sales | Strategy
An inviting atmosphere at a healthcare clinic can be the difference between a continuous stream of patients and an empty waiting room.
By developing an environment that is functional yet relaxing, healthcare facility owners can reduce the stress that patients can experience in anticipation of an upcoming medical procedure. A welcoming atmosphere can also play a key role in employee satisfaction and retention.
The Significance of a Carefully Designed Waiting Area
Many patients spend more time in the waiting area of a clinic than they spend in the examination or treatment areas. For this reason alone, it is imperative that the waiting experience be as pleasant as possible for patients. The two elements that can have a major impact a patient’s level of enjoyment most heavily are the length of time spent waiting and the opportunity to be productive while waiting to see a medical professional. Upon considering the impact that the waiting room experience can have on a patient’s overall impression of a clinic, healthcare facilities design experts are increasingly funneling resources into the creation of amenity-rich waiting areas.
Minimize Wait Time with Support Stations
The average patient spends over 20 minutes in the waiting area prior to proceeding to the examination area of a healthcare facility. Feelings of displeasure and frustration can rapidly increase the longer a patient sits idly in the waiting area. And with the average wait time expected to increase annually, clinic owners can actually set themselves apart from the competition by striving to ensure that patients are in the waiting area fewer than 20 minutes. This can be accomplished with medical office designs that feature “stations” or small areas where support staff can complete any required paperwork and initial monitoring of vital signs in advance of the patient’s meeting with the doctor. The creation of such stations reduces the amount of time that patients spend in the waiting area and ensures that patients have been properly screened before the actual visit with the doctor. Patients are kept moving while staff resources and efficiency are maximized.
Consider Patient Age and Gender When Furnishing the Waiting Area
Regardless of the amount of time patients have to spend in the waiting area, clinic administrators should make every effort to make sure that the waiting process is as pleasant as possible for patients of all ages. Staff should make sure that the waiting area is clean with plenty of comfortable seating. Additionally, it can be helpful for fitouts to include an area with a television and magazines for viewing. Some of the magazines or television programs may be related to the special services offered by the facility, providing an excellent opportunity for patient learning. If the healthcare clinic caters to pediatric patients, then fitouts should include an area with toys where children may play.
Do Not Underestimate the Impact of Free Wi-Fi
Another excellent addition to any healthcare facility is free Wi-Fi. Free Wi-Fi offers numerous benefits to staff and patients. Staff can easily access data on their mobile devices and can take care of personal business onsite during lunchtime and breaks. Likewise, free Wi-Fi enables patients to be productive while they wait to see the doctor. Whether they are taking care of employment-related tasks, paying bills, or just surfing the internet, patients can use the time they spend in the waiting area productively. Moreover, the shift in attention to these everyday tasks provides the added benefit of reducing procedure-related anxiety in patients.
It is important to realize that every decision from the layout of a healthcare facility to the furnishings and amenities of the waiting area can have an impact on staff and patients. Through careful advance planning and consideration of small details, you can create an atmosphere that will attract and retain patients and staff alike.
This informative post comes from Total Fitout Solutions in Australia, who believes that a relaxed, functional environment can reduce anxiety in patients and help medical and administrative teams work more efficiently and professionally.