Have you ever walked into a medical office and thought, if I see one more waterfall or People magazine I am going to scream?
WEGO Health asks for their daily writing challenge “if you could, how would you redesign a medical office?” Day #7.
The medical office. The exam room. The hospital. Oh, how we would like to get our decorator’s ideas out at some of those places where we spend so much time. I asked some of you what your dream medical office would look like and some of your answers were the exact opposite of one another. For example, some of you liked the water fountains found in many offices, others of you said you hated those. Maybe you have heard too much water trickling right before painful procedures and its intended calming effect has long since disappeared.
So what would the perfect medical office have? Here are some ideas.
My dream medical office would have. . .
- Soothing colored walls, many of said you preferred earth tones. Warms colors are best.
- A pop of color. Although we understand the need to stay neutral with beiges or grays, a few vases or pillows in a color like teal of bright yellow can change with the season and make it feel less cold.
- Water – fish tanks for kids to watch the fish, water fountain wall displays, photos of the ocean
- Chairs of varying heights so everyone can get up and down easily.
My dream medical office would have . . .
- Coffee or tea. My rheumatologist has one of those single-serve coffee makers where you can choose any flavor. Even when others drink it, I love the smell.
- Water to drink, mints to suck on, small snacks if you are getting an infusion or having blood drawn and need some energy replenished.
- Music that you don’t really notice, though the hard part is everyone has a preference and somebody is not going to like whatever is playing.
- A natural scent that keeps it from smelling like an antiseptic, but that also doesn’t interfere with those with chemical sensitivities. (Is there such a thing?)
- Magazines – including those that have nothing to do with your health.
- Hand sanitizer – lots and lots of hand sanitizer. When you must sign in or get coffee, don’t forget to sanitize your hands.
- Bathrooms that are easily available and accessible.
- An interactive idea to encourage others. On Pinterest it shares how quotes, scriptures, whatever can be written on a little rock and put not the vase. I think it would be fun to have something like this for patients to do when they came and have a display vase of patients’ favorites quotes.
My perfect medical office would have. . .
- A small TV with children’s videos that kids can watch (and limited volume!)
- Tissues! Lots of boxes of tissues!
- Plants, I love how plants keep it cozy, yet still professional and it is supposed to make us believe if the doctor can keep a plant alive, he can help us too (Erma Bombeck once warned us about going to a doctor who had dead plants–not a good sign.)
- Decor that represents the doctors interests. My doctor of internal medicine has shelving filled with antique medical equipment, old medicine bottles and such. I would rather see pictures of bicycles if my doctor cycles, rather than more of those generic office art. I go to a group of surgeons that have all the professional athletes such as skiers or skateboarders, and ballerinas who they have helped and the patients have donated posters of them performing with notes of thanks and arrows next to the body part they did surgery on. It feels personal yet reassuring too.
What were some of the things you shared with me? We decided to dream big!
- Rachel would like comfortable seating, several TVs where you can plug in a headset to listen like at the gym, lysol wipes and hand sanitizer in multiple locations. She specifically said, “No scented candles or decorative fountains.”
- Laura loves the offices at her neurologist. They have soft green and yellow colors, very earthy decorations, soft lights and nice big windows with a beautiful view of trees.
- Joyce decided to wish big and wants a jacuzzi. But some of her smaller wishes are just current magazines and a Keurig machine (that is the single serve coffee machine.) And while she is wishing, she says, “Oh, and Lindor Truffles. I mean, I might as enjoy the wait.”
- Debbi wants recliners–soft comfy recliners. And she likes the Jacuzzi and truffle idea. She says, “My daughter would say separate the kids from the adults so the kids can have a play-room area, while the adults are encouraged to have a ‘quiet’ library-like room.”
- And Betsi agrees, wishing for “private cubes.”
What we shouldn’t have to wish for?
Michele’s wish should be standard for all doctor’s offices but it’s not. “Room for wheelchairs and motor scooters to get through and in the exam rooms. Doors that would handle the larger wheelchairs to get through. Some offices have regular size doors that do not accommodate wider wheelchairs. Better education for their employees on how to better service those with physical and other disabilities. I really do not care to much about how the offices are–it’s more if they are clean and handicap accessible. I have noticed this is more of a challenge now that I live in the northeast where they have more older office buildings than the southwest.”
And even though it is not decor, my dream medical office would have . . .
- A receptionist that is friendly and cheerful, but also understanding and sympathetic.
- Good pens that write with ease when you must fill out long forms and forgot your own pen.
- Free Wi-Fi. It helps keep many patients more patient.
- A resource table with local organizations, support groups, a few books by local authors on health issues that you can read for a few minutes. I love to hear what is working for other patients, whether it is a gluten-free bakery, a physical therapist, or a babysitter service.
What would you have in your dream medical office?