Make Time Fly In The Waiting Room With These Fantastic Tips

Make Time Fly In The Waiting Room With These Fantastic Tips
June 17, 2021 Dentifit

When waiting is in the name, no one expects to have the time of their life in a waiting room. Still, good design techniques can make sitting in a clinic waiting room a much more enjoyable process.

Watching the clock in the waiting room is pretty dull for the best of us. If time seems to drag in the waiting area, a patient may feel frustrated and inadvertently let that affect their mood toward the whole experience. 

At the baseline, a customer wants three things from their waiting room experience: Practicality, Ease-of-use and Enjoyability. In this list, the first point needs to be fulfilled before the next is addressed. 

Keep patients calm and satisfied with your service by following these steps. 

A Practical Waiting Room Is….

Spacious 

Giving your patients room to move around and find their own seating will make them feel at ease in your waiting room. Avoid large, joint seating rows that force people to sit next to one another. We often see that patients will choose to leave a few seats between themselves and another person, and very rarely will someone enter that area. Instead, try to implement a patient-centred design that utilises movable, lightweight seating options that let visitors control the waiting area’s layout. Your waiting room should allow patients to get up, stretch their legs, and have enough elbow room to play on their phone or flip through a magazine. 

Comfortable

Worn-out, flat or uncomfortable furniture needs to go. People can be sitting minutes to hours in your waiting room, so prioritising their comfort is paramount. Practical seating should be lightweight so patients can move it around, but still sturdy enough that it doesn’t feel flimsy. Some people prefer a sturdy seat, while others will gravitate towards a plush couch or cushioned chair. Include both into your fitout, so there are options for all preferences. 

Not Time-Consuming  

Patients only get frustrated when they feel like they’re wasting time. Most people you serve have taken time out of their daily routine and likely want their appointment to have a minimal impact on their schedule. 

To improve the overall waiting room experience, offer methods for them to make the most of their time while waiting for your services. The best trick to making patients feel like they’re not wasting their time is… well, not wasting it in the first place.

Be sure to streamline your service and check-in process so patients can be in and out as soon as possible. Obviously, you can’t control the flow of traffic in your clinic, but making small automation changes like digital sign in or auto-filling medical records helps patients feel like their experience is going much smoother.

Another time-saving tactic, given you have the facilities to implement it, is including free parking. On average, over 43% of Australians spend over 15 minutes on a journey looking for parking.

glow health fit out

An Easy To Use Waiting Room Is…

Accommodating

Making your patients feel welcome is the most critical step in convincing them to return next time. Your staff should be helpful and approach patients when they seem lost or confused. Many clinics have utilised digital check-ins and automated processes, but it’s always important to have human touch involved as well to solve any issues. Good staff, patient interaction creates a bond with your clinic and can help your patients feel more appreciated and welcomed. 

Simple To Navigate

From the moment your patients walk in the door, they should instantly know they’re in the right place. There are a lot of questions swirling around when you visit a new clinic, like ‘where do I go?’, ‘what do I do?’ and ‘who can help me?”. To make sure your first-time patients feel at ease, you should implement design methods that answer these questions, or assign staff to help guide them through the processes. 

Organising your clinic so visitors are subtly guided to their destination is an important strategy to establish order. For example, your service desk, or signage pointing to the reception area, should be immediately viewed. Several design and layout techniques make your clinic easy to navigate so visitors don’t get lost in clutter or confusing building layouts.

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An Enjoyable Waiting Room Is… 

Entertaining

Good entertainment makes waiting feel a little less tedious. At the end of the day, patients know they’re not in a waiting room to experience a surround-sound 3D movie cinema. While it would be a great way to bring clients in, it’s likely not part of a realistic budget for many clinic owners. Depending on your primary audience, your entertainment measures can include several options. The basics are magazines, the daily news and books for visitors to scroll through. Adding a toy box for kids is great for entertaining the young ones. Some children’s clinics add a game station so kids, who often have short attention spans and may get fidgety or grumpy when bored, can burn some hours playing video games.

Patients expect to see certain technological features, like free wi-fi, in a clinic. Incorporating charging ports and power adapters allows people to stay on their devices without worry of battery life. Some clinics even offer iPads or other tablets for people to send emails and manage their workload.  

Well-Designed

How your clinic looks directly impacts how your patients feel. If your clinic waiting room is relaxing and inviting, your visitors will be more inclined to relax for a while. The stereotyped cold and surgical looking waiting room is a proven way to make patients feel tense and on edge. Adding artwork or interesting features will capture the attention of some visitors and occupy their thoughts while they wait. Music is another key way to make patients feel comfortable in your waiting room.

Do you require assistance with your dental clinic layout design? Dentifit, Queensland’s leading dental clinic fitout specialists, can help you to create the perfect practice floor plan to increase productivity, enhance your patient’s experience and comply with building regulations. Contact us today to request a free consultation.