Four Ways to Improve a Doctors Waiting Room
A baby cries. An elderly woman coughs. A phone rings in reception. A toilet flushes in the distance. A door hinge squeaks. As the traffic in the street outside dies down, a bird can be heard chirping through the open window. You can hear the clock on the wall ticking. Have I really been here that long? Here are the four ways to improve a doctors waiting room.
On an untidy table is an out-of-date copy of the New Statesman with half its front cover missing announcing Prime Minister David Cameron’s plans for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union (it’s sure to end in tears).
We sit facing each other with our backs to the wall in deathly silence trying desperately to avoid catching anyone’s eye.
But does a doctors waiting room have to be like this? Or is there room for improvement? Let’s look at four ways to improve a doctors waiting room from seating to toys to doctors surgery advertising to patient call systems.
Are you sitting comfortably on the doctors waiting room chairs?
Probably not. But I’ll begin anyway. Most doctors waiting room chairs should be consigned to the seating mortuary. Uncomfortable hard-backed chairs do nothing to ease our anxiety.
How about different styles? Perhaps low chairs for children and some with armrests to help the elderly get up. And do we have to sit so close together? Try arranging them in clusters so we don’t have to look at each other.
Keep children amused with some doctors waiting room toys
Kids are not good at sitting still and doing nothing. It’s programmed into their genes – ask any parent. They get miserable. Time passes slower for the wee ones when they are bored.
How about doctors waiting room toys? Make it a fun place to go. Just a simple bag of an old stalwart like Lego can keep a child amused for hours.
Make a doctors waiting room a healthy place to visit
It may sound rather contradictory but visiting a doctors waiting room is a great way to get healthy. Why? You are there because of a health issue. Therefore, your health is at the forefront of your mind and you are more likely to take heed of advice contained in healthy eating leaflets and on doctors waiting room posters.
IDS UK has access to 5,000 GP surgery waiting rooms in the UK and can reach more than 50% of the UK population in a healthcare setting. Healthy eating leaflets help your patients to help themselves AND they keep their minds occupied while waiting for their appointments. Doctors waiting room patient education can result in prevention rather than cure.
Introduce a doctors waiting room call system
Here is the last of the four ways to improve a doctors waiting room. A doctors waiting room patient call system kills two birds with one stone. It saves a member of staff or a doctor from flitting in and out of the waiting room. But, perhaps, more importantly, it allows patients to see where they are in the queue and it may even display the waiting time. Just like at a bus stop or at a railway station.
Do you know of any other ways to improve a doctors waiting room, one that perhaps we have missed? Let us know in the comments.