Medical Fitouts · 04 Feb 2024 · by Lorna Marty

How to design a Patient-Centric Consulting Room

Medical fitouts aren’t the same anymore.

Increasingly, medical centre owners are rethinking their design choices. In the past, clinical, even “drab” interiors were the norm, whereas now, more owners are going for smarter designs, which elevate the patient experience, and create a welcoming, calming environment.

And central to this is the consulting room.

medical consulting rooms

The Importance of the Consulting Room

The consulting room is arguably the most vital space in any clinic.

It is where the doctor discusses a patient’s healthcare issues & personal treatment history. It is where they may need to share bad news, or have difficult conversations. It is therefore imperative that the consultation room is fitted out with the patient in mind.

A welcoming, calming environment will have a positive impact and will reduce anxiety, whereas a clinical, monotonous theme, designed on efficiency alone, will have the opposite effect.

In this post we will have a look at how patient-centred design can be applied to the consultation room, and the benefits it has on the wellbeing of patients and doctors alike.

Consulting Rooms – the Right Amount of Space

What is the right amount of space for a consulting room?

More consulting rooms logically means more appointments which could equate to more business. However, space in a clinical space is important for a patient. So whilst business owners will want to maximise the use of their space, there has to be happy medium – which satisfies business considerations as well as patient needs.

A consultation room which is too small will feel claustrophobic and will impact the doctor’s appointment potentially making it an uncomfortable experience.

From our experience, the ideal consultation room size is one that is large enough to comfortably fit the doctor, patient, a nurse or a doctor’s assistant, and any family members who may also be present. The space should also allow a doctor to use an equipment easily and may also allow for a wheelchair or walking frame.

Make your Consulting Rooms Inviting

As well as your consulting rooms being open – they should also be inviting. Colour, light levels and room layout can all play a role in this and in turn this will have an impact on raising or lowering patient anxiety levels. Dark colours and minimal natural light will make a room feel oppressive, smaller and more intimidating. If it is possible, ample natural light in the space from large windows would be advised.

There is a trend away from clinical white and more towards lighter, more natural colours. Increasingly Practice owners are thinking about their spaces and the impact they have on their patients. A feature wall with a distinct pattern or a piece of art can be a distraction during waiting times, indoor plants can be calming and toys can be help occupy kids.

Place your Consultation Rooms around Perimeter

Patient privacy is imperative. A doctor’s visit can be an unsettling experience requiring difficult or unfortunate news to delivered. At other times patients will need to discuss personal information that they would only share with their doctor.

With this in mind, placing consulting rooms on the perimeter of a medical fitout ensures patient privacy and dignity is maintained.

This means rooms in the centre the practice can flow through to one another, while your private spaces are clearly delineated. This also ensures patients and doctors aren’t interrupted during consultations. This clinical layout also encourages more natural light into the consulting rooms, as perimeter-placed rooms can have windows.

Consultation Rooms that Promote Positive Patient Interactions

Worldwide there is a trend towards shorter consultation times. More patients, less time and shorter conversations – but doctors still need to be accurate in their diagnoses.

Of course this is not an ideal situation, but it can be improved by good room design.

For example, if chairs are placed opposite the doctor, as opposed to side-on as they often are, a patient-centric experience can be created. Furthermore, if furnishings are selected to be more comfortable & welcoming, patients can be at ease during their appointments.

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Designing the Perfect Consultation Room

If you want to create a perfect consultation room, then you need to start with the patient as the priority.

Liteco Projects can work with you to create a modern, inspiring medical fitout – one that puts patients at ease as well as allowing physicians to perform their best work.

Talk to Liteco Projects about your next fitout