For a doctor or dentist, patient care should be at the center of every decision, and that means creating a therapeutic environment. Your office is more than a simple chair and routine medical equipment. It’s a place where patients can initiate the healing process.
A patient may be anxious before or during their appointment. A therapeutic environment has a calming effect, reduces stress, and makes the patient feel comfortable with your care. In order for patients to have a positive experience, make sure you consider the details behind layout and design.
A therapeutic environment:
- Promotes healing
- Supports the needs of the patient and staff
- Provides a measurable impact on patient outcomes
It’s easy to focus in on the big decisions when you are trying to create a patient-centered practice. Your philosophical approach to care, the tools, and the technology are of course important.
Below are some basic factors to consider when it comes to creating a therapeutic environment that will improve your practice’s level of care.
Creating a Therapeutic Environment
Choose the Right Colors
Your room colors and furniture should promote peace and tranquility. Various shades of blue can help you create a calming effect. White walls offer a neutral feel and leave room for some paintings or a bolder color statement with furniture. Pediatricians can use more color in their waiting room, since they are designing with kids in mind.
While the impact of your color choices may not seem overtly important, it can have a lasting subliminal impact on the patient’s frame of mind and overall experience.
Reduce Environmental Stressors
A practice’s waiting room should always be clean and uncluttered. You can offer your patients a variety of reading materials to make their wait more convenient but keep them organized and presentable. It also helps to make sure they aren’t too dated.
If you have a children’s waiting area, make sure that the books and toys are routinely picked up and put away.
Make sure that furniture is routinely dusted, and floors are routinely swept and vacuumed. Other environmental stressors may include a glare from the lights or poor air quality. When these are eliminated, the patient experience can improve. These may seem like the smaller details, but they make a significant difference in patient care.
When you are designing your practice, make sure to factor in acoustics. Noise reduction plays a significant role in creating a therapeutic environment. As a patient, you wouldn’t necessarily want to hear everything occurring in the room next to you – especially if it is playing up any anxiety or fears brought on by your medical condition or the visit.
If sound is already a factor within your office, white noise machines may help. They create a stronger sense of calm amongst your patients, and they can show that you value patient privacy.
Exposure to Nature
Whenever possible you can design your office with a view of nature. Interior or exterior gardens, aquariums and artwork with a natural theme all offer a soothing feel.
Your practice’s reputation and brand are built on creating a positive patient experience. Creating a therapeutic environment plays a significant role. This type of soothing environment can have a positive impact on your staff as well – improving the level of patient care.
If you have any questions or would like to talk about what this means for your practice, contact us today!
Many patients are anxious leading up to a dental procedure. It stands to reason that your dentist waiting room should be a place where patients can rest and alleviate some of that anxiety before they enter the treatment area.
The waiting room showcases how well you pay attention to detail – and how much you value the entire patient experience. The smallest accommodations make a significant difference. You can use your office’s waiting room to strengthen your patient relationships.
5 Opportunities to Create a Dentist Waiting Room that Conveys the Right Message
Appropriate Wait Times – Your patients value their time. Long waits can lead to poor word of mouth, which can have a damaging impact to your practice in the age of Yelp, Google, and other review sites. Keeping your patients waiting for long amounts of time can negatively impact the relationship before the work even starts.
Even the patients who didn’t have any form of anxiety about their procedure may become a little nervous if given too much time to think about it beforehand.
Wall Art – Artwork is an excellent way to create a soothing environment that can take patients’ minds off their visit. There is more that can be done to take advantage of this space. Your walls can be used to help build trust, and a personal connection with your patients before they set foot into the treatment areas.
You could create a “patient of the month” board. You can use before and after smile photos and talk about the work that was done. You could display photos of your office staff in their personal hobbies. These photos may serve as an excellent conversation starter as the next patient makes their way into the treatment area.
Appropriate TV or Music – If your office specializes in children’s care, a Disney movie or age-appropriate cartoon can help calm kids before their appointment begins. If your office is focused more on adult care, it can help to have a handful of well-known movie staples on repeat.
When a patient mentally connects your office with one of their favorite movies, you win. The same thing goes for music. While elevator music may have a calming effect, a selection of oldies, classic rock, or well-known blues songs may send them out the door humming a song that they love.
Indulgences – A mini fridge stocked with water can make the wait a little more bearable. Coffee, juices, and other drinks also add an excellent touch. What about adding a super-comfortable arm chair, or even a massage chair? Those are the details people will remember upon leaving.
Interior Design – Make sure that the design details contribute to a soothing environment. Every detail involving the wall color, furniture, and artwork should contribute to a professional, relaxing environment.
For instance, blues can have a tranquil, peaceful feel. The couches, chairs, throw pillows, and wall art all offer opportunity for accent color.
You work hard to attract new patients and keep them happy with the experience. Make sure that your dentist waiting room isn’t killing that experience before they ever make it back to the treatment area.