While dentists and doctors simply refer to them as “waiting rooms”, patients traditionally describe the area that they are obligated to wait – sometimes for hours – in much more colorful terms (that we cannot publish here on our family-friendly blog!).
The truth is, contrary to what many dentists and doctors believe, waiting rooms are vitally important and significantly influential areas that either enhance the commitment to patient-centric care, or weaken it — possibly to the point that current patients start thinking seriously about making a switch.
Here are the 4 reasons why waiting room design is so important and influential:
First Impressions Matters
As Forbes reminds us, people are hard-wired to rapidly form a positive or negative impression – and this happens unconsciously. In other words: first impressions matter! A comfortable, functional and patient-centric waiting room tells patients that they are partnering with a team that cares about their health and wellbeing. On the other hand, a crowded and uncomfortable waiting room says the opposite.
Educated Patients are Better Patients
There is no reason why patients must exclusively “wait” in (so-called) waiting rooms. Rather, dentists and doctors can use the space – and the opportunity – to educate patients by providing key information on various services, including elective procedures and treatments. This information can be conveyed through brochures, mini books (the kind that patients can take home with them), broadcast via HDTV, and so on.
Avoid Traffic Jams
Aside from perhaps cab drivers with the meter running, nobody likes traffic jams. Unfortunately, this is what some patients experience in small/crammed waiting rooms. A well-designed waiting area is one that optimizes the space so that patients and staff can move around freely and unobstructed at all times.
Upon entering a practice, patients are typically asked questions of a somewhat personal nature about billing issues, health concerns or complaints, and so on. While this dialogue obviously is not a treatment discussion or diagnosis (since that would happen elsewhere in the practice), this experience can nevertheless make patients feel self-conscious and uncomfortable – both those standing at the reception desk, and those sitting in the waiting room. A well-designed waiting area provides arriving patients the privacy they want, while still giving the reception staff the opportunity to keep an eye on the waiting room and ensure that patients are comfortable.
To learn more about why waiting room design is so important and influential, contact the Key Interiors team today. We have extensive experience partnering with both dental and medical practices (and we clearly understand the differences between them!), and will provide you with insights on how to make your waiting room work for your practice and patients. Your consultation with us is free.