Designing a physician waiting room

A lot of thought goes into waiting room design.

Love seats or chairs with arms? How many of each? What kind of patient education materials should be offered? Should you install a flat-screen television showing medically relevant educational videos? And if you see children, how big should you make the play area?

A primary care doctor gives his opinion on each of these issues. Although most consultants focus on keeping waiting patients busy, this physician takes the opposite approach: “My goal was to design a space where patients could relax — to allow them to collect their thoughts before coming in to see me and calm their nerves before having to confront whatever awaits them in their upcoming medical encounter.”

But of course, if one spends as much effort trying to stay on time (as this doctor does), perhaps less can be spent outfitting the waiting room.

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  • Molave

    Consultancy firm IDEO has done some work with Mayo Clinic along similar lines, studying how patients and health professionals could better interact within the hospital or clinical setting. Perhaps the result of their work has yielded fresh insights that could help other practitioners.