First impressions are extremely important when it comes to a patient’s experience at a doctor’s office, and that experience begins in the waiting room. Some patients may feel a bit anxious about their appointment, and the time they spend in the waiting room can have an effect on whether or not their nerves are eased. Still others see the wait as an annoyance.
Taking some time to consider how your waiting room currently affects the patient experience can reveal ways to improve the space, and in turn make the patient’s visit more positive. A Spanish design consultancy, Fuelfor, conducted a case study called “Rethink the waiting room,” which pointed out six ways a waiting room can be improved for a better patient experience. Here are some of the ideas we found most impactful.
- Greet patients with signs that offer a warm welcome. Fuelfor recommends injecting your signage with personality by introducing the doctors in the office that day with their name and photo, and other information like suggestions of activities that cater to a healthy lifestyle.
- Create a comfortable environment by providing patients with thoughtfully-chosen seating. Also, consider decorating with planters and adding acoustic separators for patient privacy.
- Offer solutions that help patients remain aware of the expected wait-time when they arrive. This can include a basic wait-time clock or you can consider offering patients an app for their phone that helps them know their wait-time. Patients could additionally use this app to book appointments or locate their exam room.
- If snacks are available for purchase in your practice’s waiting room, be sure they offer a variety of healthy choices. Opt for vending machines with items like water and fruit as opposed to those filled with sugary snacks and drinks.
Another study conducted by Catalyst Healthcare Research shares additional ideas that can significantly help improve your practice’s waiting room. One of our favorite ideas from this study was to offer free WiFi for patients to connect to the internet while they wait.
What suggestions do you have for improving your practice’s waiting room for a better patient experience? Leave a comment to share with us.
Don’t forget that the patient’s experience only starts in the waiting room. One way you can keep the positive momentum going is by investing in advanced technology like the Optos’ innovative optomap ultra-widefield retinal imaging device. For more information on how our technology can help create a better experience for your patients, visit our website.