When patients think about visiting their doctor or dentist for a checkup, the first visual that typically comes to mind is the reception area. Sure, the lobby is where we get our first impression about any business. But when it comes to medical and dental offices in particular, the waiting area is where we take time to make early judgments about the quality of service that we are about to receive.
Many people don’t like having to sit in a reception area. One of Jerry Seinfeld’s early successful comedy routines was all about the tedium of waiting in the waiting room. When most people think of a medical or dental lobby, they think of outdated magazines, uncomfortable chairs, and a ticking clock. Worse yet, if you’re worried about a possible health issue or in any kind of physical pain, time in this part of the office can feel tortuous
As such, it’s both important and easy for any doctor or dentist to stand out from the crowd. Go the extra mile to make that great first impression on your patients. The results will be shocking.
Here are some ideas to consider when it comes to your medical or dental lobby design:
Make it spacious
Lobby areas that are crowded can make everyone who enters feel uncomfortable. After all, who wants to be crammed in a room full of people who might be contagious? Providing an open area gives a sense of freedom and well-being.
But what if there’s a lot of foot traffic in the area? The office should opt for a design that will accommodate people who are finding their way through the rooms as well as those who have to sit and wait for a while. Think about the experience of everyone who has to either pass through or wait. What is the best option for everyone?
Of course, some offices are just small. How do you make the waiting room bigger when it’s just tiny? If there’s not much space to begin with, organize your furniture to give the appearance of space. Set the chairs so that they are not facing each other. Get a smaller table. Use bright colors. Make the patient feel like they are in an open area, not a confined space.
Choose sturdy, comfortable, modest furniture
When picking furniture for the reception area, three considerations need to be kept in mind: it can’t be flimsy, it can’t be uncomfortable, and it can’t be tacky.
First off, the furniture needs to be sturdy. Different kinds of people will stay in the lobby and there’s a possibility that furniture will be damaged due to careless use by some of the visitors. As such, it’s best to invest in furniture that is modest but will be used for a long time.
Secondly, the chairs need to be comfortable. Chances are, at least some of your patients are going to be in serious physical pain. Why make it worse on them? Get chairs with soft cushions and welcoming armrests. Make sure that the fabric does not leave imprints on the skin.
Finally, the furniture needs to be modest. Sure, you want to stand out among the competition. But you don’t want to stand out as the doctor’s office with hideous furniture. Get something simple yet elegant. Your patients will notice and immediately associate the taste with the professionalism of the office.
Have an area for the kids
If one thing is a timeless reality, it is that children do not like going to the doctor or dentist. All the lollypops in the world aren’t going to change that fact. When children are then forced to sit in the waiting room, they will inevitably end up jumping on furniture, whining, and screaming. Worse yet, other patients will associate the sound of crying children with your office.
Give kids their own area away from the rest of the patients. Have some toys and children’s books available. If possible, design it to seem like its own space.
Keep the whole place bright and clean
Some designs make lobbies look murky and cramped. This doesn’t just display a lack of taste from the staff, it also signals laziness and apathy. As such, go with something that will show that the place is being well-maintained.
Make your lobby bright and clean. Visitors will get the impression that the services and treatments they’ll be receiving are of a superior quality. Communicate the message of health in the design. When a place is maintained, has good lighting and ventilation, it becomes easy for visitors to feel at ease.
Coming up with lobby design doesn’t have to be complicated. When it comes to redesign plans, the comfort and needs of the clients and employees should be top priority.
For more information, contact New England’s premier medical and dental design solutions provider, Infinity Group
, at 860-726-9384.