We talk a lot about how you can make your practice more appealing and accessible for patients. Continuing on this theme today, we want to shine a light on making your clinic as comfortable as possible.
Ask any patient about waiting rooms and they’ll likely have more than a few comments. Even if your wait times are short, you should do everything possible to make the waiting room comfortable.
One way to figure out what is and isn’t working in your current clinic is to survey patients. Either through a short e-mail survey or by setting up iPads/tablets with a short survey in the office to garner feedback could be helpful.
Keeping Patients Happy in the Waiting Room
The easiest way to keep patients happy is making them feel valued and important, but there are still some steps you can take to make sure they’re happy during their wait time.
1. Comfortable Seating
This should be the golden rule of any medical practice—have comfortable seats.
Remember, not all patients are the same, what is comfortable for one may be painful for another. Looking for furniture that has adjustable armrests and seating pads of various sizes and cushioning are great measures to take.
2. Provide Activity
Every practice should have free WiFi available, but consider adding in work stations (if space permits). Communal work desks and charging stations are great solutions for people who may be missing work for their appointment.
Additionally, any type of tablet preloaded with games, newsmagazines, digital papers, etc. can keep a busybody feeling like they’re not wasting time.
3. Keep Patients Updated
We’re living in the age of on-demand, so it’s no surprise that 55% of patients in a recent survey said they wished they had access to an estimated wait time for their appointments. And 61% would enjoy a text letting them know their doctor is running behind schedule.
Look into online programs, apps, or even those restaurant-style pagers that let patients know their place in line.
4. Appoint a Waiting Room Role
If your practice permits, assigning a person to be the “concierge” of the waiting room could go a long way in furthering patient satisfaction.
This role would include items such as greeting patients, assisting with the check-in process, answering questions, and even organizing agendas by finding out the patients’ concerns and goals for the appointment, all of which can be shared with the doctor to optimize productivity in the appointment.
5. Make Your Space Pretty
This should be a no-brainer, but if you give people an aesthetically pleasing space they’re less likely to get antsy.
Reach out to local artists or post on social media that you’re looking for artists to feature their work in your clinic (another opportunity for community engagement!).
And add in fresh plants and flowers for a natural aspect. Finally, use some calming colors like pastels and blue shades to give a more relaxing setting.
6. Choose the Right Light
Lighting is essential to patient mood. We recommend ditching the traditional fluorescent lighting for warmer tones and natural light. If you can’t modify the built-in lights of your building, consider certain fixtures (like lamps) to balance the dynamic.
Another easy way to make patients feel relaxed is to keep the waiting area clean. This extends to the reception desk. Encourage staff to keep all areas visible to patients clutter-free. Another reason going paperless could benefit your organization!
Whether you use all or just a few of the tips above, we’re sure they’ll help you create a more welcoming space for your patients.
If you’re looking for more ways to grow your practice and provide healthcare to those who need it, let’s talk!
Schedule your FREE practice review here, and we’ll be in touch as soon as possible.