November 30, 2023

Consultation Rooms: A Patient-Centric Design Approach

Medical fitouts aren’t the same anymore

Every year, more medical centre owners are choosing smarter design choices over clinical, monotonous themes. These design choices work to elevate the patient experience, creating a calming environment where privacy is the priority. 

In the following, we’ll discuss how patient-centred design can be applied to the consultation room, and the benefits it has on the wellbeing of patients and doctors too. Keep reading to learn how you can incorporate this approach into your consultation room design.

The Right Amount of Space

Space is important. When designing a medical fitout, most business owners will want to make the most of their clinical space. More consultation rooms mean more appointments can be held. But how many rooms are too many? And will smaller-sized doctor’s offices impact the patient experience?

Possibly. Smaller consultation rooms promote feelings of claustrophobia, making a doctor’s appointment potentially more uncomfortable than it needs to be.

The ideal consultation room should be large enough to comfortably fit a doctor, patient, a nurse/doctor’s assistant, and any family member/s who may accompany the patient for their visit. There must also be enough space for a doctor to use equipment freely. Additional considerations should be made for wheelchair accessibility and patients with disabilities.

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Perimeter-Placed Consultation Rooms

A doctor’s visit can be an unsettling, nervous experience. Sometimes doctors need to deliver unfortunate news. Other times patients want to divulge personal information that wouldn’t be shared with anyone besides their doctor. Placing consultation rooms on the perimeter of a medical fitout ensures patient privacy and dignity is maintained. 

This clinical layout also encourages natural light exposure, as perimeter-placed rooms can have windows. Natural light has a calming effect on patients and a focusing effect on doctors. Privacy can be maintained through a fluted window glazing technique, similar to the one we used at SBA Law.

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Designing For Positive Patient Interactions

For better or for worse, the medical industry is trending towards shorter consultations worldwide. Physicians are pushed to see more patients in less time, while also taking accurate, detailed notes about every consultation. Conversations are shorter, with less time spent diving deep into a possible diagnosis.  

While the trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, medical professionals can use room design to create a more holistic, patient-centred experience. Chairs should face towards the doctor’s desk, encouraging frequent eye contact. Comfortable furnishings should be sourced so that patients can be at ease during their appointments.

Creating Moments of Medical Transparency

With a world of medical information just one click away, patients are taking a more active role in understanding their health. They don’t want to just hear a diagnosis. They want to get hands-on with their medical history. They want to see the results and read the scans, even if they don’t fully understand what they’re reading. 

Create moments of transparency through design.

Using integrated technology can make this process effortless. Tablets and other types of digital displays can provide a visual reference point for patients. These visuals can supplement an overall treatment plan. Patients have less pressure to try and remember everything the doctor is saying.

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An Environment of Positive Distractions

Patients will have idle time at some point during a doctor’s visit. Maybe a physician is preparing for a procedure or writing a prescription.

During this time, good design can keep a patient’s mind at ease. Trends are moving away from clinical white and towards lighter, natural colours and tones. A feature wall with a distinct pattern or art style also makes for a pleasant distraction during waiting times. Indoor plants have a calming effect. Even toys can keep little ones occupied at a family clinic.

Creating the Ideal Medical Consultation Room

Want to design the perfect consultation room? Prioritise the patient first and the rest will follow. 

Patients never forget a good medical experience. And they’ll make sure to tell everyone they know about it. Designing a patient-centric consultation room is the first step in creating a modern, inspiring medical clinic fitout.

At Canopy Fitouts, we know medical design. We can work with you to create an experience that puts patients at ease and encourages physicians to perform their best work. 

If you have any specific questions or are ready to get started on your medical fitout, speak with our knowledgeable team today. Initial consultations are free and fully transparent.