Ideal Physician’s Office Decoration

Establishing a successful practice in today’s healthcare market is a great challenge. To survive, you need to create best possible office setting for you and your patients. So what should be the best possible environment?

Waiting room

Patients will form their first impression of your office when they enter the waiting room. The current design trend for medical practices is to create a waiting room with an inviting atmosphere similar to a hotel lobby.

The optimal size for a waiting room depends on a few factors, including the number of physicians in the practice, visit volume and the overall efficiency of your practice. For example, if you perform many procedures or other services that tend to produce longer visits, you may not have as many patients cycling through the waiting room and may not need as much space. However, if more patients cycle through the office in shorter time intervals, you will likely need a larger waiting room because you will have more patients waiting at one time.

If your patients typically wait more than a few minutes before being called into the exam room, provide up-to-date educational or entertaining reading material. When selecting furniture, choose individual chairs.

Be sure to purchase some armless chairs to accommodate pregnant, obese or disabled patients.

The decor in your waiting room should be soothing. Choose colors that are cheerful, natural and inviting. Paints or wallpaper prints with warmer tones are good choices. Also, keep in mind sound absorption when choosing accessories for the waiting room. Carpets, drapes, upholstered furniture and acoustic ceiling tiles can all maximize sound absorption for a quieter room.

The lighting in the waiting room also has a considerable impact on the look and feel of a practice. Fluorescent ceiling lights distribute an even level of lighting throughout the room, and they are ideal for basic utility and patient safety, especially for the visually impaired.

The ideal exam room

The optimal size for an exam room is 10 feet by 10 feet, although these dimensions can vary slightly without affecting the function of the room. Each room should have enough space to comfortably accommodate you, a nurse or assistant, your patient and at least one family member.

In addition to exam rooms, consider having a smaller, separate room where a nurse can measure vital signs, height and weight before the actual exam.

The door opens into the exam room rather than into the hallway and is hinged in such a way as to swing toward the exam table.

The door should be positioned approximately 18 inches from the corner, but these requirements could vary from region to region.

The placement of cabinets, sink, chairs, desk, exam table, lights and waste receptacles is critical for ensuring that patient visits run smoothly.

  • The exam table: Because your patients will likely spend the majority of their time in the exam room on the exam table, make sure it is comfortable and easy to adjust. For example, a table that can lower to 18 inches from the floor makes it easy for pregnant, post-op or disabled patients to get onto the table without putting excess strain on themselves. Some exam tables are fully motorized, allowing you to adjust the height, foot and back sections, and they can tilt to achieve the position.
    • To facilitate access to both sides of the patient, consider positioning the exam table at an angle in the room. Not only will this give you full access to the patient, but it also will create a barrier to deter the abuse of diagnostic devices that can occur when patients are left unattended and within arm’s reach of items mounted on the wall.
  • Chairs: It’s a good idea to have two side chairs for your patient’s relatives or caregivers. You might consider a third chair if you have an EHR at a drop-down desk away from the exam table.
  • Lighting: Should provide precise positioning with shadow control and proper intensity.
  • Instruments: Most offices use a diagnostic system that includes basic instruments needed for physical diagnoses, such as an otoscope, ophthalmoscope, ear speculum dispenser, sphygmomanometer and thermometer. It’s convenient to mount these systems on the wall for easy access. If you mount the systems in the same place in each exam room, you and your staff won’t need to adjust your routine each time you go into a different room.
  • Computers: Desktop computers are still more popular than laptops for practices that use EHRs. They are best positioned on a desk-height extension of the counter, away from the sink. If you use a tablet computer, consider placing it on a shelf nearest to the point of care or on a rolling stand for greater mobility and to ensure the necessary eye contact with the patient.
  • Waste box: The waste receptacle should have a foot-operated lid and be seamless so that it can retain waste within the can itself. Place it under the wall-mounted instruments where it is not in the way during the exam but is still easily accessible.

The correct distance

The physical distance between the doctor and patient should be correct when a doctor and patient talk. If this is not the case, a feeling of uneasiness can arise, which can lead to a serious disturbance of the discussion.

These distances depend on cultural group, nationality and race, social level, sex, and age as well as psychological makeup.

If the discussion takes place over a table, this should not be wider than 80-100 cm.

Correct seating

There are however 2 seating positions which can be used for doctor-patient discussions.
Seated face to face
Seated over the corner of a desk
Sitting face to face demonstrates that one is fully devoted to the other person and completely concentrating on him alone. However, this is not always pleasant for some people, who instead experience feelings of direct confrontation with the other.

“Sitting over a corner” (at an angle between 90 and 150 degrees) has some advantages. It avoids the occasionally unavoidable “frontal attack” character of sitting face to face.

Finally the distance between the two can be varied more easily, although this should not be out of the 90-150 cm range.

Source: http://www.aafp.org/fpm/2007/0500/p46.html & http://www.linus-geisler.de/dp/dp03_distance.html

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