Whether a medical practice offers fast, convenient care or a more holistic level of care, all roads lead to the examination room where a large part of the practitioner/patient interaction takes place.
We’ve devised 5 important “success factors” to make the examination room in a medical fitout a pleasant place to be and to help remove that “white coat syndrome” feared by many patients.
If possible, allow for sufficient space to receive a patient on entry, an area for a work desk, a separate seating/consult area, a private examination/dressing area and additional space for educational purposes, especially for patients who are chronically ill and need consultation & support time.
That’s the ideal.
Depending on what tasks are performed in the room, the underlying premise is to keep it large enough so it’s flexible so when needs vary down the track.
2. Consultation Space:
In the consultation “zone”, new thinking says patient and practitioner sitting in comfortable seating either side by side to discuss symptoms and results or across a small table rather than at the side of an office desk, breaks down barriers and fears more successfully.
It’s a more “normal” or “levelling” situation.
New thinking says the office desk should be for the practitioner’s tasks and not in the patient space.
3. Furniture & Furnishings:
If space allows, place the examination table out from the wall or even at an angle to free up wall space and allow easy circulation.
Organise shelving and closed cupboards to hide away materials and instruments as much as possible.
Provide neat, attractive hanging and storage space for clothing and valuables whilst the examination is taking place.
Choose comfortable client chairs which are sturdy but not chunky. Ones with arms to allow for those who need help getting in and out are best.
Avoid creating a domestic look in furnishings. It is a commercial, healthcare space, not a home. Use warm-coloured paint on the walls nothing cold or stark. You can be bold with colour on one wall, or on doors. Going soft everywhere can look too bland and blah!
Visual examination is so important in the exam room. This means attention to lighting is vital.
What’s needed is a high level of general illumination as well as good colour rendering to show the true tone of the skin.
A combination of ceiling-mounted lights and wall mounted examination lamps are the best way of reaching these lighting requirements.
The choice of lamps is important so speak to a lighting expert for the right lamp selection.
An arm-style examination lamp mounted on a wall or the ceiling, will provide excellent colour rendering and a focused beam.
They come with single or multiple lamp heads.
Make sure your fitout builders install plenty of support behind the wall or up in the ceiling to account for the weight and drag applied when the lamp is moved around and directed all the time.
In the consultation and education zones, hanging a decorative pendant over a table can create more intimacy and a less clinical look.
5. Education Material:
Keep this in the appropriate zone so that during the consultation/education phase, it’s easy to access.
If organised properly and well displayed, it can be a valuable tool.
So often, important material is put aside, unseen or inaccessible by patients.
A purposeful wall display is a great idea. Why not make it a decorative feature in the space?
Keep all material up to date..
Take steps to ensure that the design and build of your medical fitout work along these lines.
They’ll definitely contribute to its overall success.