First impressions always count. When your patient steps into your waiting room, there are many subtle yet significant interactions that can define that experience. Patients take in everything from the friendliness of your front desk staff and the cleanliness of your waiting room, to the accessibility of your practice. But, most importantly, and often overlooked, the patient will notice the layout of the space itself.
The first area your patient will see and spend time in will always be your waiting room.
Ask yourself the following questions when considering the design of the waiting room:
- Layout: Is it easy and accessible for patients to walk to the treatment room? Is there a clearly designated, comfortable area to fill out paperwork?
Key Note: First and foremost, think of the traffic flow of the office as the most important element to consider, as this will be the most challenging design to change later.
- Seating: Are the seats comfortable for clients, keeping in mind longer waiting periods? Is there enough seating for families, and can seats be easily moved so parents can sit with their children?
Key Note: To maintain flexibility and comfort, opt for separate chairs with soft fabric covers instead of connected hard-shell seating..
- Artwork and lighting: Is there something relaxing for patients to look at to ease the waiting time? Is the lighting bright enough for clients to read available literature, but soft enough to make the waiting room not feel too clinical or add glare to TVs?
Key Note: Use soft lighting, and natural, neutral paint colors with pops of artwork to make your practice as relaxing and inviting as possible for patients, while still maintaining a unique interior design.
All of these elements shape your patient’s experience in the waiting room. The way visitors experience your space can easily shape the patient’s experience in a positive or negative way. Take advantage of this and take the time needed with your designer and contractor to create a relaxing and well-functioning space for all occupants.