Design Elements that Actually Enhance Patient Experience
As physician practices, clinics, and healthcare systems compete for patients, medical office owners can help their tenants by providing distinctive environments that enhance patient experience while improving efficiency to control costs.
“As in retail, consumers expect on-demand service and prompt attention from healthcare providers, in a pleasant setting that offers convenient access and parking,” said Transwestern’s Justin Brasell (pictured below). “Innovative healthcare spaces are setting new standards in patient satisfaction and retention.”
Brasell outlined several design elements that can create a welcoming, patient-friendly environment that promotes healing as well as efficiency. These elements also offer the added benefits of improved employee retention and eliminating square footage, which lowers overall rent and utility costs.
1. Streamline reception
Remove the bulky front desk, and provide a speedy check-in by giving patients the option to complete insurance and patient forms online before their visit and introduce a digital sign-in system, such as a tablet computer mounted just inside the entry.
2. Shrink the waiting room
Once the reception is streamlined, only a few seats will be necessary to accommodate new arrivals for check-in before they are directed to examination rooms. Eliminating square feet of waiting room space can yield significant savings in occupancy costs.
3. Harvest natural light
Large windows and furniture situated to capture optimal views can reduce stress and promote a sense of well-being. A cool color palette and soothing, interesting artwork also help to create a welcoming and peaceful environment that eases distress.
4. Invest in better examination rooms
Revisit the conventional exam room layout, and seek an alternative design that accommodates a loved one accompanying the patient and allows more relaxed physician-to-patient interaction. Tablet computers remove the barrier that a laptop computer or monitor can impose between physician and patient, and encourage eye-to-eye conversations.
5. Arrange space strategically
Providers can maximize their time with patients by locating personal offices nearer exam rooms. For example, a pod arrangement of three to four exam rooms surrounding a work area shared by the practitioner and their staff can foster collaboration, reduce physician-to-exam-room time, and enable a nurse to monitor several exam rooms simultaneously.
“From the parking layout to building design, in the overall structure and in individual tenant spaces, medical office buildings must promote wellness, use natural light, and increase the natural movement of patients through the space,” Brasell advised. “When owners and tenants succeed, they will deliver a seamless, more pleasant patient experience.”