Your waiting room is a hugely important area in your medical office. It’s one of the first areas that your patients will see during their visit, and they may end up spending a fair bit of time there, so the way your waiting room is set up can be crucial to making or breaking your overall patient satisfaction. Being mindful of your patient experience as you are planning your waiting room is absolutely crucial. DESCCO has been in medical office construction around the Berks County area for over 45 years, so we know a thing or two about how to keep your patients occupied and comfortable, giving them a better perception of your waiting room and practice overall. Here are some of our best tips!
Add an Area for Refreshments and Drinks
A lot of what goes into doctor’s office design, particularly in designing a good waiting room, is psychological. You want your patients to feel less like they’re being stashed in a spare room until the doctor is ready for them and more like you’ve taken the time to consider their wants and needs. A great way to do this is including a small refreshment area. A simple alcove or built in counter would do this perfectly well, and would make a great place to add a minifridge with cold drinks like bottled water and juice. A coffee machine, a small stash of snacks, and a trash can are really all it takes to blow your patients away with how considerate you’ve been in your waiting room design.
Try Cluster Styles
There’s some research to suggest that patients respond better to small clusters of seating than to the walls of chairs that you see in a typical waiting room. You could try having a few separate arrangements of chairs, couches, and coffee tables, which would provide more comfortable settings for families or couples, and then have a few sections of individual chairs for people sitting alone. A great way to do this while maximizing space and giving people the option to sit apart from strangers is to situate your front desk in the center of the room and spread the seating clusters out around it. This also helps to give a more open and inviting feel to the space!
Build in Boredom Busters
A patient’s perception of their wait time is practically more important than the wait time itself. Everyone has experienced how five minutes can feel more like fifty minutes if they’re bored and don’t have anything to occupy their minds with. While it’s standard practice in waiting rooms to throw a few magazines on the table as a courtesy, you can take it a step further by building entertainment into your design from the start. Try building a comfortable alcove with a TV where patients can relax and watch something during long wait times, and make sure that the areas where you set up your seating clusters have accessible outlets to charge phones or laptops, in case anyone prefers their own entertainment or wants to get some work done.
Design with Your Patients in Mind
Consideration is the name of the game when it comes to waiting rooms, and the number one thing you’ll want to do when designing yours is to be considerate of the needs of your patients, whether they’re existing patients or potential ones in the future. If your office sees parents with small children from time to time, outfitting a corner to be a kid’s section is a great idea to help them out. Adding accessibility features, like handicap doors and ramps, can make a world of difference in helping your patients feel that you care about their experience. As healthcare contractors, DESCCO is experienced at adding these features to an office, and we can help guide you in the process.
With these key ideas in mind, you should be able to plan a waiting room in your medical office that is welcoming, comfortable, and promotes a great experience for your patients. If you’re in the Greater Reading or Berks County areas of Pennsylvania and you’re planning to build or remodel your waiting room, DESCCO Design and Construction can help you. We have been a trusted name in medical construction for decades, and we are ready to assist you on your project! Contact us today to get started.