Modern dentistry has come a long way, but let’s face it, everyone associates going to the dentist with pain and discomfort. When you step into a dental office you don’t want to be greeted with decor that is outdated and stale. The washed out wallpaper, fake plants, faded linoleum flooring and a monotone colored waiting room isn’t going to ease your nerves about that root canal you know you’re probably going to need. The last thing a patient wants to feel is anxious and uncomfortable before they even get out of the waiting room! Patients want to walk into a reception area that is warm and inviting; emphasizing tranquility and gives a positive first impression, not one that is a sterile, unappealing environment.
Let’s face it, of any business that you visit, a dentist office is one that MUST create a positive feeling. It isn’t just a holding place for patients to sit as they wait for their appointment. It’s the place where patients begin their entire experience with your office.
Here are some elements that I think can help to create a waiting room that would improve patient experience.
No one wants to sit in a stiff and uncomfortable antimicrobial chair with their back against the wall and a TV blaring while waiting for an appointment.. Ensuring patients are comfortable and relaxed before they see you often guarantees a better experience.
Having the right type of lighting can help reduce the amount of anxiety patients may feel while waiting for their dental treatment.
It’s time to let go of the hospital-like linoleum tiles. Don’t go crazy, but opt for flooring that is made of natural materials. Pull it all together with a plush rug that adds a pop of color and coordinates with your furniture choice.
Add art work that reflects the feeling you want to convey to your patients. Nature scenes deliver a homey atmosphere, while whimsy prints full of color can depict a spa-like feel. Modern art can convey to patients that you are a cutting edge cosmetic dental practice. Whatever you choose, pick something that goes along with the personality of your dental practice.
A little luxury can go a long way, especially in a medical waiting room. Putting in a little extra effort and offering amenities like a coffee bar, bottled water, snacks, phone charging stations,and even wi-fi will not go unnoticed by patients.
It’s not just about someone sitting in a chair waiting to get a procedure done anymore. Nowadays, medical practitioners are under more pressure to provide a positive patient-centered experience. A waiting room experience could make or break how a patient feels about your practice and perhaps even influence their decision to return, or to move on to a different dental care provider.