Curing What Ails the Exam Room
Imagine sitting uncomfortably, barefoot, in a paper gown on a cold bench staring at white walls, self-conscious and stressed. That was then. Today, doctors and clinicians are recognizing how a traditional exam room can hinder the strong interpersonal bond needed between patient and caregiver to promote the best therapeutic outcomes. It’s not surprising, but the way an exam room is configured can influence how a patient perceives the quality of care and physician.
Consultation, education and collaboration are all important activities that happen in the exam room, yet often the room is dominated by an exam table and tools, and a desk that creates a barrier between patient and physician. What’s more, the growing use of computerized health records in the exam room can add to a patient’s unease if they’re perceived as a distraction. These observations have led to new, more respectful floorplans with better placement of furnishings and equipment. As a result, these configurations support a more productive patient/caregiver connection that offers both physical and emotional comfort.
- There are two primary activities in an exam room: consultation and examination. The proper configuration of furnishings can create zones to better support these individual activities.
- Learning in the exam room can be enhanced by the right configuration of seating and displays so patients, family members and caregivers all have good visual access.
- Modular furniture solutions including open and closed storage enable staff to access frequently used tools and supplies, while concealing unsightly or rarely needed items.