Running a clinic or medical practise, you have to realise that a vast majority of your patients would rather be somewhere else. It’s only natural. If you have to seek medical assistance, that means something is wrong with your health, and that can be one of the most stressful and nerve-wracking things in life.
It is vital that you ensure you are doing everything to improve the experience of your patients, even before you see them. Consider the physical space of your practise or clinic. Is the design and layout really posed to offer your patients comfort, ease, and support? What you choose to include in that environment – waiting rooms, reception areas, offices and so forth – can either positively or negatively affect those that come into contact with it.
In this blog, we explore a few ways of how the layout of your practise or clinic could be affecting your patients.
As humans, we need our space, especially when we are experiencing health-related difficulties. These are times when we want to be distracted and deal with other aspects of our lives. Otherwise, we can feel trapped by our problems. If the layout of your practise is cramped and forces people in the personal spaces of others, than your patients will automatically feel more confined and stressed. By providing the maximum amount of breathing space possible, you can not only control the traffic flow of those entering and exiting, but also offer a more relaxing ambiance to those visiting you.
Similar to above, available seating is imperative. On busier days, it is understandable that some patients might need to stand, but if you only have minimal seating available, or the chairs do not provide comfort over an extended waiting period, you aren’t really catering for people with ailing medical conditions. To ensure that your patients can wait in ease, ensure that you provide separated seats with soft fabric that hasn’t been worn down.
Choice of lighting is essential. Not only might you have people with a sensitivity to light entering your practise, bulbs that are overly harsh can lead to headaches and sore eyes for both your patients and staff. Conversely, if your lighting is too dim, will people be able to complete their paperwork or read? Put yourself in their place, maximise the natural light available to you, and make the most of lamps instead of overbearing, overhead bulbs.
We have spoken about how patients may want to be distracted from whatever brought them to your practise. It is possible they did not bring anything with them to do so, however, so what can you do to indulge them? Magazines and books are a staple, but in today’s modern world, people are after television screens, or even Wi-Fi access, so they don’t have to use their own mobile data.
When someone describes a place as ‘clinical’, they usually refer to it as being sterile, bland, and empty. Whilst it is practical to reframe from too much clutter about your practise, it doesn’t hurt to have something that brightens the mood a little. Artwork and water features can be incredibly relaxing, and the colours you choose to paint the walls (instead of a ‘clinical’ white), could be a perfect opportunity to elevate the healthy ambiance of the room by using soft, muted colours.
It is a well-known fact that including plants into a space will not only improve the air quality, but also add to lowering the stress levels of those in proximity to them. By introducing English ivies, spider plants, weeping figs, or even rubber plants into your waiting room, you will be instilling a purer environment with cleaner air and attitudes.
Give it Some Thought
If you are unsure on how best to arrange your practise or clinic for the benefit of your patients, it is always a good idea for you to put yourself in their shoes. What would you like around you if you were a patient? How could your experience be improved? With a certain level of empathy, you are sure to make the right decisions for those coming to you for care.