A patient spends an average twenty minutes sitting in a waiting room before his or her appointment. With the rise of doctor rating websites and a competitive healthcare environment, it is in your best interest as a healthcare professional to offer your patients the best possible experience within the first moment of walking through the door. Here are some ways to make your waiting room more appealing.
1. Consider the decor
You’re a medical professional, not a skilled interior designer. But there are certain elements you can simply incorporate into your waiting room. Comfortable seating is essential. Progressive design companies suggest modular seating with movable cushions and components that could be customized to different offices or individuals. This would greatly improve the waiting room’s environment. Bear in mind that seats comfortable for some patients may not be suitable for others. For example, elderly patients might have difficulty getting up from a couch. Chairs with two sturdy arms provide more support for these older patients.
Plants could improve the look and air quality of your waiting room as well. A NASA study has found that spider plants, aloe vera and Gerbera daisies help filter volatile organic compounds out of the air.
You should also consider some room dividers or separate areas of your waiting room where patients can have some privacy to make a phone call or to speak privately with family.
2. Make waiting time enjoyable
Research has shown that the actual wait time is not as important to patients as the perception of their wait. If their time was spent doing something engaging, patients will be less likely to notice and will have less of an urge to complain about the wait. Brewing a cup of tea or coffee takes a few minutes and can increase a patient’s overall perception of value.
Giving patients the chance to shop while they wait is another idea that assists some doctors in keeping patients busy. Many optometrists, orthopedists, dentists and dermatologists are already using this method. You should consider setting up a shop in a corner of your waiting room to sell educational books and items related to your practice.
3. Let your patients be productive
When a patient is waiting to see you, is he or she flipping through outdated magazines? Or is he or she using that time to do something productive, like educating themselves about his or her health? Studies show that one out of five patients use his or her smartphone to search for health-related information in the doctor’s waiting room moments before the appointment.
You can help them further by providing high-quality patient education materials using a TV along with Marantz surround sound. Our healthcare solutions make this possible and scalable. Your patient can view your medical education videos in the waiting room, then share it with their family members.
With a bit of creativity and small investment, you can make your waiting room an enjoyable, productive space for your patients. And if your patient’s first impression of your practice is a great one, they will spread the word to friends and family. Click here to learn how you can use our audio and video resources to make your waiting room patient-friendly.