Having an efficient office design is essential for improving the overall patient and staff experience. A good design can promote a smooth office workflow, create a functional environment for staff, and enhance comfort for patients who can spend any time between several minutes to several hours within a healthcare setting. In this post, we’ll be looking at 7 ways to improve patient and staff experience with design. From optimizing the layout to taking advantage of natural light, these tips will help you create a practice that is practical and inviting.
Evaluate the Flow of Your Office
It’s essential to think through how patients and staff will navigate the space, where furniture and equipment should be placed, and how to minimize traffic jams. Our consults with clients involve walking through your day-to-day between head nurses, office managers, physicians, and other key professionals within your practice.
2. Increase Natural Light in the Office
Natural light helps to improve the mood of patients and reduce fatigue for staff, which can increase productivity and engagement. For healthcare facilities, our design team is keen on incorporating large windows, glass walls, atriums, or skylights in offices and patient-centric areas as a way to bring in more natural light.
3. Use Color to Enhance Mood and Productivity
Colors can have a powerful impact on how people feel and work and it’s been scientifically proven through evidence-based design. Cool blues and greens are excellent for creating a calming, serene atmosphere that encourages creativity. Warmer tones such as yellows and oranges help to promote energy and productivity. Even subtle changes in color can have a big effect, so consider adding a pop of color to each room or area of your office. For example, if you have an area dedicated to patient exams, try painting the walls in a soft, soothing blue or green to make the atmosphere more calming. When used wisely, color can be an effective tool to help improve morale and productivity in your healthcare office design.
4. Incorporate Biophilic Design
Create a more welcoming atmosphere by bringing the outdoors in. Biophilic elements like plants and natural materials are key players in modern healthcare design. A 1984 study by Dr. Roger Ulrich showed that hospitals with patients whose rooms faced biophilic elements recovered faster, took fewer drugs, and went home quicker than those who didn’t.
5. Invest in Comfortable and Ergonomic Furniture
According to the US Department of Labor, nursing ranks second and fifth among the top ten occupations reporting musculoskeletal injuries. The goal of ergonomics (i.e. the scientific study of people at work) is to prevent soft tissue injuries and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Ergonomic furniture is designed for comfortable, long-term use that supports the body in a way that prevents bad posture and form and prevents injury and long-term issues like arthritis and back problems caused by sudden or sustained exposure to force, vibration, repetitive motion, and awkward posture.
6. Implement Sound Masking
Treat acoustic problems like conversations and movements from one area to another. Within health systems, this is important as offices can protect patient privacy in areas where discussions may be overheard. Staff would also benefit as the noise reduction would minimize distractions and increase productivity.
7. Create a Relaxing Break Room
Boost staff efficiency, satisfaction, performance, and retention with designated break room areas both inside and outside. According to the Center for Health Design, having physical access to private outdoor spaces (e.g., balconies or porches) was shown to have significantly greater perceived restorative potential, in comparison with window views, artwork, or indoor plants.