According to the Patientpop blog, a survey conducted at outpatient clinics in New York City found a direct positive correlation between aesthetically appealing waiting rooms and patient opinions about doctors’ visits. If you feel your waiting area could use a lift to add to your patients’ experience, we’ve rounded up five things to keep in mind when it comes to making some updates to your office.
REFRESHMENTS: Sparkling water, a Keurig machine with plenty of K Cups, even wine and beer – are all perks that can be appreciated by your patient while they are waiting to be seen for their visit. An optical store in Columbus, OH has a full coffee bar and home-baked treats on Desert Friday; “We always have a good array of coffees with flavored creamers and water for our patients. It is a place for families to hang out if everyone is not scheduled”, says Dr. Cynthia Sayers, owner of the EyeShop Optical.
ARTWORK: Displaying the work of local talent creates a community feel. Consider adding a kiosk of jewelry made by local artists or hang artwork on the wall of familiar town monuments. To really make a statement, find a local artist to do a mural on a wall inside your waiting room for a custom touch.
FURNITURE: On this one, you’re probably better off going in one of two directions: Sheer comfort with a home-like feel, or an eye-pleasing consistency with the rest of your space to support branding. This will enhance a sense of professionalism, keeping your patients comfortable, or both. What you don’t want is an ugly middle ground – used office furniture that inspires neither comfort nor confidence. Furnishings play a big part in making your waiting area distinctive, so be creative!
KIDS (Big & Small): Don’t pretend they’ll sit and be good. “Color therapy!” says Heather Harrington at Elevated Eyecare in Denver, CO. “We have coloring pages for all ages.” Our personal favorite? Etch-a-Sketches. “Our patients cut if they find themselves in the reception area longer than a few minutes,” says Leah Johnson at Central Texas Eye Center in San Marcos, TX. “But they can go back to childhood with our Etch-a-Sketches. Super fun and unexpected.”
TECHNOLOGY: Beyond Wi-Fi, are you charger friendly? Tablets with access to healthcare information and self check-in kiosks are growing more popular. Educational videos are encouraged, but don’t overdo it: A study by Gary A. Nyberg and Christine Guzzo Vickery, found only 41 percent of respondents want to watch TV in a waiting room. The top activities were reading (95 percent) and using mobile phones (57 percent).
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