The Future of Doctor Waiting Rooms

Healthcare providers throughout the nation are making big changes to the waiting-room experience. 

Redesigning waiting areas is a way to attract patients back into offices and keep them safe.

Dak Kopec, Ph.D., an environmental psychologist and an associate professor at University of Nevada, Las Vegas envisions “pods,” which would effectively be small rooms within the larger waiting room. 

Providers are replacing old furniture with seating that is easy to reconfigure, clean and disinfect. Waiting rooms may also expand, as the need to accommodate safely distanced patients.

TSAOG Orthopaedics’ new location includes a lobby with high ceilings, lounge chairs, an endless counter and has a similar feel to a hotel lobby. They’re also using a software program called Clinic Q, which allows patients to answer questionnaires from home, before their appointment, and view cost estimates based on insurance coverage.

Other new technology that is being seen in healthcare offices include touchless check-ins for hospital, emergency rooms or clinics, touchless kiosks, and touchless displays that offer entertainment without having to touch anything.

Banner Health is working with LifeLink to deploy virtual waiting rooms in all of its 300 clinics.

The virtual waiting rooms use chatbots, which interact with patients in a conversational way, and are available for both telehealth and in-person appointments. The chatbots can:

  • provide appointment reminders,
  • guide patients through completing the necessary paperwork,
  • provide instructions on using telehealth technology,
  • check patients in for appointments, and
  • direct patients to an exam room for in-person doctor visits.

Healthcare architects and designers must take a leading role in creating safer healthcare spaces in a post-COVID-19 world.

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