We’ve all been there. You go to your general physicians’ office, check in with the receptionist, fill out the forms, then wait what seems like an eternity to go through those magical doors to finally see your doctor.
Your patients come to you because they’re uncomfortable or in pain, why increase that discomfort with a dreary waiting room experience? The golden rule says to treat people the way you want to be treated. Extend that courtesy to your office and see a significant increase in patient satisfaction.
Make sure your waiting room doesn’t feel too sterile. Try using warm colors on the walls and soft lighting. Also, investing in comfortable furniture can be a real game changer.
The first person your patients come into contact with is the desk nurse. Make sure they are always greeted with a friendly demeanor and are very discrete. Patients should know their privacy and feelings are being respected.
Now were not saying you should go all out, but bottled water, coffee and tea are easy and low cost options you can offer patients. Consider adding a bowl of fresh fruits to encourage healthy food choices.
- Embrace Technology
Many offices are making the switch and becoming more tech savvy with text reminders for appointments. Patients can simply reply to confirm or deny and that will free up a lot of time for your staff.
Displaying a television in the waiting room isn’t a new practice, but it can be a gamble. Think hard about what channel you put on the television, news stations might seem obvious but won’t always leave your patients in the best frame of mind. Consider something light like HGTV or the health systems network, or no TV at all.
- Activity Station
Odds are many parents are forced to bring their children with them to appointments and they generally aren’t able to sit still for long. A little activity station can help ease the parents’ frustrations and keep the little ones occupied.
- Plant Life
There have been some studies done by NASA that actually say that some plants help increase health and wellness. There are certain air purifying plants like aloe and azaleas that are known to help with humidity.
Soft background music in waiting rooms is known to lessen anxiety and stress and create a calming space. There’s nothing worse than a silent waiting room where your patients might feel a little awkwardness. It also helps to drown out whispered conversations between the desk nurse and the patients that just walked in.
- Reading & Writing Material
Most physician offices have the usual stack of magazines for patients to peruse while waiting, make sure those magazines are up to date. Throw in some issues that might have topics geared toward health and wellness. Also, having pens and blank paper is a great way for patients to write down some questions they don’t want to forget to ask you.
- Free Wifi
This one can go a very long way. Sure, patients could use their own data but it’s just a common courtesy that shows them you care. Free Wifi can also help keep children occupied while waiting, what seems like an eternity, to see you.
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