When we think about office design, we often imagine corporate skyscrapers and large rooms filled with cubicles. Very rarely does our doctor’s office come to mind, but designing a medical clinic comes with its own unique challenges, and there is a demand for interior designers who are familiar with them. In fact, approximately 22 million sq. ft. of medical office space was constructed in the U.S. alone in 2018.
And since the design of modern medical offices can have a significant impact on patient experience, as well as the ability to deliver efficient and productive care, it is paramount that medical facilities be conceptualized with functionality and performance in mind.
But what medical office design ideas impact patient satisfaction and healthcare delivery most positively? And how can you use design to maximize the success of your practice?
These are the questions we’ll be answering in today’s post.
HERE ARE OUR TOP MEDICAL OFFICE INTERIOR DESIGN TIPS FOR 2019 AND BEYOND:
LESS CLINICAL, MORE HOMELY
One of the greatest recent shifts in the world of modern medical office design has been the introduction of more creature comforts and warmth in healthcare facilities. Traditionally, patients have been exposed to sterile, white waiting rooms and cramped seating when visiting their doctor’s office or medical clinic. But through various studies, we have come to understand that providing patients with a relaxed, inviting environment actually reduces stress and discomfort, leading to a less aggravating experience overall.
Some ways to make your medical office design more homely and welcoming include:
- Hanging artwork on waiting room walls that adds a sense of tranquility (80 percent of patients prefer landscapes/natural scenes, and animals/birds.)
- Provide free Wi-Fi to patients in waiting areas (60 percent of patients feel that having access to WiFi would minimize their frustration in the waiting room.)
- Include seating options for people of varying sizes and needs (5-20 percent of the seating in a waiting room should accommodate people with a larger frame and weight.)
- Play calming, pleasant background music (Research shows that the majority of both patients and staff preferred music to silence in the waiting room, and 56 percent of patients and 67 percent of staff named classical music as their top genre choice.)
- Add waiting time signage to keep patients informed of how long it will be until they are seen (75 percent of patients report feeling less frustration at wait times due to improved signage.)
BIOPHILIC INTERIOR DESIGN
Biophilic interior design is the practice of adding natural materials, light, views and vegetation to indoor spaces, and it has gained a ton of traction in the medical field in recent years.
The first major benefit of this approach to medical office interior design is the stress-reducing effect it can have on patients. Most hospitals have bleak, sterilized environments where the noise of machinery can be heard, fluorescent lighting is prominent, and there is little connection with the outside world. Biophilic interior design aims to change that, bringing the aspects of the natural world that are most common into the medical setting.
And the most impressive part? It works!
In one study, patients whose windows overlooked natural sceneries were released after 7.96 days, compared to the 8.71 days it took for patients who looked at brick walls. Additionally, in an average four by five metre room, one plant can make your air 25 per cent cleaner and five plants make the air up to 75 per cent cleaner. And 76.7 percent patients reported improved mental health when they were able to visit a hospital garden or landscaped outdoor area. These statistics show that making natural elements available is an essential part of designing a medical clinic or hospital, and that biophilic design should be a top priority as we move forward into 2019.
CONTROLLED LIGHTING SYSTEMS
It’s no secret that the healthcare industry requires an almost unfathomable amount of light.
In fact, hospitals in the U.S spend about $8.3 billion on energy costs each year, and lighting accounts for 16.2 percent of that energy consumption. By implementing controlled lighting systems in modern medical offices and hospitals, however, these costs can be significantly reduced, saving medical practitioners thousands of dollars over time. Additionally, proper lighting has been proven to help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, while also contributing to a healthier circadian system (the body’s internal clock) amongst patients and healthcare workers alike.
Here are some lighting best practices we recommend following when finalizing your medical office design:
- Quick-response lighting should be used to trigger full power lighting in emergency situations (in the event of a fire, when patients need to be guided to nearby exits, or in dimly lit hallways where patients may need to be transferred at night).
- In recovery rooms, lighting solutions should be dimmable, giving the patient control over the intensity of the light. Lamps with flexible arms are also recommended, so patients can position the light for reading and other tasks.
- LED lighting is most beneficial. In fact, medical facilities using fluorescent lighting can see 50 percent or more savings in wattage usage by switching to LED, and as much as an 80 percent reduction when those LED lights are connected to a controlled lighting system.
- Lighting solutions should be programmed to provide varying levels of intensity at different times during the day, to compensate for natural light and keep energy expenditures at optimum levels.
- Light fixtures should be easy to wipe down and shouldn’t have nooks and crannies that can contribute to bacteria growth.
By following these lighting best practices, you can ensure that your modern medical office design meets the needs of patients and healthcare workers, optimizing treatment outcomes and providing an environment that better supports overall health.
If you’re looking for medical office space for rent in the San Francisco Bay Area, give us a call today!