Setting Up Waiting Room

November 1, 2007

I need articles or other information on setting up my waiting room in such a way as to make my patients more comfortable, to alleviate the anxieties of the office visit, and to assure privacy as much as possible.

Question: I need articles or other information on setting up my waiting room in such a way as to make my patients more comfortable, to alleviate the anxieties of the office visit, and to assure privacy as much as possible.

Answer: You’ll find lots of articles and resources by typing “waiting room” in our Search Articles box. In general, consider a calming, sophisticated color scheme. In internal medicine, you’ll want a variety of chair styles and heights - chairs with arms for those who need to press with their arms to stand up, wider love seats for obese patients, seating groupings that allow an elderly patient and their middle-aged child to sit near each other without it looking like babysitting. Different sized groupings feel more comfortable than rows against the wall.

Provide some distractions. Fountains are lovely, fish tanks, plants if you can keep them alive and healthy, current magazines, handouts on common health issues from you, memo pads where patients can note the top three things they want to discuss during their exam and note refill needs, or wireless Internet access.

As far as privacy, keep the seating distant from the reception area, if possible, and try keeping photos of patients in their chart so the person handling rooming can go up and invite them to the back personally instead of shouting their name across a crowded room.