Your reputation as a dentist rests on patient satisfaction. So surely it stands to reason, now that’s it’s easier than ever to find reviews of medical treatment experiences, that you should focus your dental clinic set up on pleasing your patients?
The waiting area, check in with reception staff, facility layout and flow – architectural design has a major role to play in how visitors experience your clinic as a whole. That’s why it’s so important that you nail the design brief for your dentist office.
Designing a patient-focused dental clinic means thinking about more than just treatment areas.
What patient factors do you need to consider?
A trip to the dentist is unpleasant for some people, so you need to think about the stressors that they may associate with a dental office. Many think of sterile instruments and the bright inspection light, and connect your facility with a cold, unwelcoming place. Similarly, the size and layout of waiting areas can impact patients’ stress levels. If the area is too cluttered with furniture, for example, this can contribute to increased anxiety about your facility.
A cluttered reception area contributes to heightened patient anxiety.
Easy check in
When patients arrive at your dental clinic, the administration process should be quick and simple. Patients waiting too long to check in because of a poorly designed reception area will become irritated. Meanwhile, these inefficiencies will have the knock on effect of making people late to their appointments.
Control over surroundings
Linked to overall anxiety about medical treatment is a feeling of being out of control. Patients want to feel comfortable and calm in their surroundings, especially in the waiting area. However, fixed furniture and decor, depending on the layout, can contribute to increased anxiety over the lack of control of a visitor’s immediate surroundings. Give patients the chance to control their wait, and you reduce the risk of stress affecting individual’s experience in your clinic.
Feature design elements add colour and depth to a dental clinic.
Applying this information to your facility design
Anxiety: Warming up and opening out your facility
While it’s important that your dental equipment is appropriately clean and neutral, splashes of warmer colours in your facility will go a long way to reducing stress levels. If your facility is designed with a passive cream or white tone, consider an accent wall in the reception area, brightly coloured decor or artwork to reduce the office’s clinical look. Additionally, minimising the amount of unneeded furniture in your waiting and treatment areas will open out your dental facility and give a sense of space that helps to reduce anxiety.
Check in: Better connecting your staff with patients
Re-thinking your architectural design when starting a dental practice to put effective patient administration at its heart helps better connect staff with visitors. Your reception area should be the first point of contact for people entering your clinic. It seems obvious, but many modern designs forgo this, or fail to provide adequate wayfinding signage to guide patients, in the name of a sleeker, minimalist look.
Your reception area should have adequate wayfinding signage and a central check in point.
Having a central administration and customer-facing point is essential for staff to answer questions and provide support – but they don’t have to be in the same place. Instead, consider a single, small reception area with automated check in kiosks and roaming staff in the waiting area. This makes administration processes more efficient while ensuring patients can still receive customer service if needed.
Control: Flexible design and decor options
If you can’t place patients in control of waiting times or treatment, what concessions can you make that will place visitors in greater control of their experience? Flexible design and decor. Flexible design options would include the chance to maneuver partitions to create intimate, personal areas, or open out a space to accommodate larger groups. Introverted visitors can benefit from better privacy from others in the waiting room, while those attending your office with friends and family can create a space that comfortably accommodates everyone.
Flexible decor ultimately supports the above design style, giving users the chance re-arrange a room as needed to make surroundings more familiar or comfortable for those waiting for an appointment.
Patient-focused design improves visitor satisfaction.
Why is patient-focused design important in a dental clinic setup?
With an improved focus on design elements that matter to your patients, you can reap the following benefits:
- Higher patient satisfaction with the check in and waiting experience. This can naturally lead to more positive associations with overall treatment.
- Reduced administration and visitor confusion around wayfinding. Patients will always know exactly how to check in and where they need to go.
- Greater likelihood of patient loyalty and repeat visits to your dental office.
The primary element of patient-focused design is to give visitors to your clinic the most positive experience possible. This means different design and architectural choices for different markets – what works for a dentist primarily treating children will be different from a city centre clinic with more visitor traffic. While dental practitioners can conduct this research personally and create a detailed architectural blueprint, having the insight of sector experts helps to make these design ideas a reality.
Space for Health has helped on over 200 fitout projects in the medical construction industry.
Space for Health: Developing a unique design vision for you
Our design team has worked on more than 200 successfully completed projects across all areas of the medical construction industry in the Greater Sydney area. Our specialist expertise in matching client specifications to suitable architectural trends means we can deliver a unique plan for anyone starting a dental practice or refitting their old office.
For more information on how we can put the design elements your patients expect of dentists into every fitting and fixture, contact Space for Health.