World-class healthcare and outstanding customer service are two of the most important parts of creating a satisfying patient experience overall. But setting the right tone with your office design also plays a role in this experience. Do you need to update your visual aesthetic this year?
Your design style and features can impact how your patients see your practice. Certainly, you want to make patients feel calm and secure, as happy patients mean repeat patients. So even though simple decoration or design choices may seem insignificant, they may have a deeper effect than you think.
If you feel your practice design is underutilizing your spaces and missing an opportunity to drastically improve the patient experience, here are some aesthetic elements and features you can think about.
Color Affects Mood.
Often, healthcare is associated with more sterile white colors, which aren’t always the most welcoming. This can be especially true in waiting rooms or areas where patients spend the most time – places where you want patients to feel welcome and calm.
Different colors can have different effects on people:
- Blue is often considered to be the calmest color and provides an aura of trustworthiness to those who wear blue-tinted clothing. When incorporated in room design, blue has a similar effect and can be considered for rooms requiring calmness or stillness.
- Green is associated with tranquility, health and nature, so it can be a great choice too. Pale greens have a calm, soothing effect, and more olive-colored greens promote thoughtfulness and serenity.
- Light browns and beiges can imply earthiness, so it’s useful for bigger areas.
- Plain white can be softened into textured cream or ivory, and combined with other neutral colors to create pleasing, comfortable environments.
Space Is Important.
Another factor that can affect patient perception is the amount of space in your office. Many modern designs now focus more on open areas that have more air and light flow. More exposure to sunlight and less clutter can have a calming effect on visitors to your office. This doesn’t have to compromise your ability to treat patients or do the necessary administrative functions, it’s just about using space the right way.
You may also consider using more adaptable spaces, where furniture and fixtures can be moved and rearranged to better suit patient’s individual needs. For example, if a family is waiting together, they can rearrange seats to get closer. Or those who want more space or privacy can rearrange based on their preferences. Now, social distancing from COVID-19 is currently affecting how office space can be used. As long as this is happening, those requirements need to be taken into account. But having more adaptable space can actually help people social distance more effectively.
Here Are Some Additional Things to Consider.
- Most of your patients have smartphones, tablets or laptops that go with them everywhere for personal entertainment and work. If you’re not already, providing free high-speed Wi-Fi for patients will make a big difference in these patients’ satisfaction.
- Consider offering some coffee and snacks, maybe just a small table with a box of pastries, tea, coffee, etc. You can also have a mini-fridge stocked with some bottled water.
- Make your decor interesting, perhaps some paintings, photos or murals on the walls. Combined with a little soft music, interesting decor can make a quiet wait more passively entertaining. Aquariums are also a classic form of passive entertainment.
- For patients with children, having a kids’ play area can be helpful. A puzzle table, a bookshelf and board games, or even an old video game console with kid-friendly games are all excellent ways to keep children entertained.
- Use indirect sunlight and more ambient indoor lighting to produce a softer and refined environment for patients.
All in all, a patient’s first impression can be affected by the environment you’ve created in your practice. By providing comfortable and considerate seating, interesting aesthetics, convenient features and quiet entertainment, you can set the right tone for your patients from the start.
Need some help setting up your practice for success? We’re always a phone call or click away to support your needs. Schedule a consultation with one of our practice management experts today!