Your clinic’s reception area is the first impression patients have of your practice. It sets a tone for the rest of their visit, and it can make or break a deal if they walk in with an unhappy look on their face. But you don’t need to be a designer to make this space work for you-just follow these few tips:
Keep it clutter-free
There are many reasons why your clinic’s reception area should be clutter-free. The most obvious reason is that it looks nicer and more professional that way. But there are also practical reasons for keeping the space neat and organized. Here are a few of them:
- Clutter makes the room look smaller than it is, and patients feel cramped and uncomfortable. It also makes it difficult to find what you need, which can lead to frustration on the part of the patient.
- A cluttered reception area sends the message that you don’t care about your practice and that you’re not organized or professional. It can be a turn-off for potential patients and may cause them to take their business elsewhere.
- Stash away your odds and ends, and keep things organized so patients can find what they need easily.
Make the waiting room comfortable
You should ask yourself what your patients want. Most of them would probably like to have comfortable seating, good lighting, and an interesting magazine rack. Also, if the room is suffocatingly hot or cold patients will not feel like staying very long. If you have comfortable seating in your waiting room chances are your patients will come back to your clinic. Because of this, you should check out which hospital patient chairs provide adequate support and order those right away. Keep in mind, however, that children and pregnant women might prefer different seating arrangements.
If you have a large waiting room, you could also add a TV satellite dish so patients can watch their favorite shows while they wait. You might even want to install one of the new plasma screens. They are quite expensive but there is no doubt about their high quality and clarity. Plasma TVs are being used in many places including airports and shopping malls. So you probably don’t want to stand out by not having one especially if it’s the only thing that is missing making your clinic look like a first-class waiting area.
Make sure patients can hear you clearly
Some medical clinics have separate entrances for different procedures, for example, an entrance for surgery, another entrance for dental work, and yet another entrance for check-ups.
In some cases, there might be a receptionist at the surgery entry and another one at the dental entrance. While it is important to separate patients by the type of procedure they need, you should make sure that all receptionists can hear each other clearly. That way, if a patient comes in through the back door, the receptionist at the front desk will know. That way, patients won’t have to wait for their names to be called when they are in line in the waiting room.
Choose a good background-color
A great way to make the reception area inviting is to choose a background color that makes people feel at ease. Research has shown that patients tend to feel better when they are in an area with colors such as blue and green which causes them to relax. Though there is nothing wrong with having a bright yellow or pink room, you should take into consideration the impression it might leave on your patients.
Not only should you think about the color of your walls, but you should also pay attention to the flooring. If you have a tile or linoleum floor, it might be difficult to keep clean and sanitary especially if spills and dirt become a problem. When first-time patients walk into your waiting room they will probably look down at the floor before anything else. Ideally, you should have carpeting in your waiting room. Not only is a carpet cleaner and easier to maintain, but it also has a cozy effect on people as opposed to tile or linoleum.
Adding personal touches makes your clinic feel more like home, which will make you and the patients more comfortable. Here are a few things you can do to add some character to your reception area:
- Add family pictures or pictures of your pet(s). Whether it’s on the wall or sitting on your desk, pictures make your clinic feel more like someone’s home.
- Hang up children’s drawings and school art projects. These little masterpieces tend to bring joy and comfort to many parents who might want to be reminded of their own children. Depending on the age of your patients, you might want to put out some crayons so they can draw their own pictures and hang them up on the main wall.
- Add stuffed animals or other toys for children to play with. You can usually purchase these at your local dollar store, but if you want more options, try shopping online.
- Hang up awards and trophies that showcase some of your own achievements. If it’s not too elaborate maybe you can even put up some awards given to you by your patients.
- Add music to your waiting room. If you don’t mind spending money, consider purchasing an iPod docking station or stereo system that will play sound through the speakers in your reception area.
- Post your clinic’s mission statement or vision statement. This gives patients insight into the type of care you will provide for them and also lets them know how seriously you take patient care. It also shows that your clinic is dedicated to providing a good service and making patients feel comfortable while they’re there.
The reception area is the first thing patients see when they come into your clinic. It’s important to make it inviting and comfortable for them, but also functional so that they can find what they need quickly. Consider adding family pictures or drawings from children if you want to create a home-like environment or put up awards given by your own patients as well as music in the waiting room. The more personal touches present in this space, the better!