People have to go doctors, but most don’t want to deal with the experience that comes with it. The unnatural fluorescent lights, dated television with soap operas, and back-to-back seats with other sick patients is something not many people look forward to. Take into account that the Affordable Care Act has increased how many Americans have health insurance, and these waiting rooms are expected to be fuller than ever, according to Every Day Health.
In fact, this surge of insured Americans has increased the average wait time for a doctor’s appointment to 18 days, and that doesn’t account for the time elapsed the day of the visit. Due to an uptick of patient population, hospitals and doctor offices are beginning to redesign how the waiting room looks, giving patients a more user-friendly common area, Healthcare Design Magazine explained.
“Most hospitals have been focused on the back-of-house operations, where everything was about volume and efficiency,” Michael Lied, principal of GBBN Architects, told the source. “Now the value is shifting to the front of the house and the customer service aspect.”
After years of trying to increase efficiency in the examination room, hospital administrators have failed to create a comfortable environment for patients. As it is nowadays, many patients feel irritated when they see their practitioner because the extended time in the waiting room has disrupted their schedule significantly.
“The whole experience creates a lasting impression,” Urban Chalet senior design director Michelle Granelli explained in another Healthcare Design Magazine article.
Instead of keeping the status quo, more waiting rooms are going through significant changes, becoming more “smart” and allowing patients with a variety of needs to do what they please. This shift away from reading magazines and watching soap operas may be more relevant.
One of the easiest ways to implement a smart waiting room is getting rid of the rows of chairs that are currently in place. The seating arrangement doesn’t encourage productivity because the chairs are so physically close to one another.
Physicians who want waiting rooms with variety of seating arrangements can benefit from the use of quality office furniture. Hospitals and doctor’s offices that take the time to create open and semi-private seating quarters can help patients have a more fulfilling waiting room experience, which in turn can become a more positive appointment.