When a new patient arrives at your medical office, there is a point where they decide they’ve found the right practice for them, the place where they’ll continue to go for healthcare from that moment on.
Of course, a major part of that feeling comes from quality patient care and personal connection they have with your doctors and staff. Another major factor is how they feel in the physical space of your office. Patients want to feel at home, in good hands, throughout their visit, from the front office and waiting area, to the hallways and exam rooms.
Below are three considerations for the design of your healthcare facility that can deepen its connection with patients. As experienced architects, we have the perspective for designing medical offices and other healthcare facilities that will help entice and endear patients.
We hope our outlook will spark your own inspiration and generate new design ideas for your office space. Some of these considerations are obvious and connected to your professional expertise, while others are more subtle. All of them become part of the experience of patients and staff members alike. No two medical offices are the same, and this can be key to finding you practice’s unique identity.
Let’s take a look.
Every business, including your medical office, is a community. Every community has its own unique needs. Young children have different needs from senior citizens, and in specialized fields of healthcare and medicine, your patients may suffer from maladies that require different levels of attention.
As a medical professional, those needs are likely obvious to you. What we add as professional architects is medical office design that can facilitate your ability to meet patients’ needs. Pediatric waiting rooms may include a closed door and an innovative activities space to give parents peace of mind, and pediatric exam rooms should be designed for child safety. In contrast, a geriatric waiting room or exam room should prioritize comfort , accommodation, and accessibility. By understanding and meeting the specific needs of your community, medical practices show empathy through interior design. This can be a beginning for trust in doctor-patient relationships.
SSP Architects designed two adjacent buildings for the County of Somerset, NJ – their Senior Wellness Center and Adult Day Center in Bridgewater Township. These spaces now provide social and medical services to elderly citizens of the county. In planning these facilities, we had to account for accessibility and functionality. It was also extremely important to us that we design a space where residents and visitors felt happy, comfortable, and at home.
We took into consideration the openness and accessibility of the space. The senior wellness center includes a health screening area, an exercise classroom and an activities area. Both facilities are welcoming of individuals with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, and accommodate therapeutic recreation, nursing, occupational and physical therapy, and support groups.
We achieved comfort and happiness with a light-colored stone around indoor and outdoor walls, carpet and wood flooring, an inviting space around a fireplace, and lots of natural sunlight. The result is a facility where we’d be proud to bring our loved ones.
Your community’s values are different from their needs. While their needs give rise to more practical design solutions, their values are cultural and emotional, and such design should invoke traits that patients recognize in themselves.
To accomplish this, we can pull from a concept called MAYA (most advanced, yet acceptable), coined by pioneer Raymond Loewy, whose design resume includes the original Air Force One, the International Space Station, and the classic Coca-Cola bottle. The idea is to create something that is intriguing and new (advanced), yet inviting and familiar (acceptable).
To achieve the “familiar,” you might invoke features of your region, like colors, cityscapes or landscapes. You may also consider popular values of your average patient’s demographic. To achieve the fresh and exciting, you might incorporate your own interests or a more modern aesthetic. Certain elements of doctor’s offices can achieve both; for example, you might consider furniture design for your reception area that feels familiar yet new.
Just as there is a unique language among each field of healthcare, there is a unique aesthetic that describes what you do, an unspoken language that communicates the values of your practice from doctor to patient.
You can establish authority in your field by conveying this language in a way that everyday people understand. You might find a creative way to display information that informs visitors of your discipline or relevant life sciences. You may incorporate artwork and symbolism (either with wall art or in a room’s physical structure) that’s specific to your practice. For example in hospital design, interior elements can vary throughout various sections of the facility. There are different feelings and symbols appropriate in the waiting room of a maternity ward, versus a cancer center or emergency room. A hospital’s main reception areas may invoke the grand impression of a monumental healthcare institution.
If you’re a dentist, physician, specialist, individual doctor or part of a large hospital, the room design at your offices should represent information and sentiments unique to your discipline.
Whether you want to reinvigorate the patient experience in your waiting room, create a more sleek and efficient front desk, update your office furniture, or restyle your entire doctor’s office design, it makes all the difference to put in the proper thought before you start your project.
But you don’t want to think about it too long. At some point, it’s time to start putting thoughts into action.
That’s the value of SSP Architects – we’re skilled at planning and serious about putting our plans into the real world.
In that spirit, we hope that the perspective outlined above has sparked some new design ideas for your medical practices. We’d love to hear them, and we’d love to collaborate to help develop those ideas and make them a reality.
Contact SSP to learn more, or to speak with a trusted, experienced professional architect. Healthcare office interiors. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have and put momentum behind the reinvigoration of your healthcare business.