No matter what sector of the medical or wellness industry you're in, many patients consider visiting their healthcare provider to be a nerve-wracking experience. And studies have shown that 63% of people consider time in the healthcare waiting room to be the most stressful aspect of their appointment, a tension that's compounded by an average wait time of 20 minutes.
Luckily, you can take action as a healthcare provider to minimize stress and create a soothing environment in your practice's waiting room. Audiovisual solutions like digital signage, advanced audio systems, gentle lighting, and more can transform your healthcare waiting room for the better.
Implementing advanced audiovisual solutions in your healthcare waiting room is the beginning of a healthy, happy relationship with your patients. Working with audiovisual integrators to choose the proper equipment for your waiting room can elevate your patients' experience, diminish their anxiety, and simplify your staff's procedures.
Why and How to Upgrade Your Healthcare Waiting Room
The general population is becoming more and more vigilant about preventing the spread of illness. As society becomes more technologically advanced, outfitting your practice's waiting room with audiovisual solutions has become an essential tool for these efforts.
Advanced audiovisual technology facilitates the spread of critical information in a low-contact manner while improving the overall quality of your patients' experience.
1. Display Digital Signage
To improve the experience in your healthcare waiting room, consider investing in digital signage. Implementing digital signage in a healthcare setting can deliver relevant information to your patients in a welcoming and uncomplicated manner. Consider displaying information such as interactive maps, estimated waiting times, and common symptoms. In doing this, patients will avoid crowding the front desk and disrupting the flow of operations. Digital signage allows patients to find solutions to their problems quickly and independently.
Waiting rooms that choose to forgo digital signage will need sufficient staff to manage the influx of patient questions. Without clear, eye-catching guidance, patients default to asking front desk employees questions that could have otherwise been readily available to them. Furthermore, patients who cannot find answers to their questions or hesitate to ask staff due to social anxiety will stew in the stress of uncertainty. Utilizing digital signage can mitigate these issues, decrease waiting times, and improve the patients' overall healthcare experience.
2. Install an Audio System
For many people, a visit to their healthcare provider leaves them riddled with anxiety. Adding an audio system to waiting rooms can minimize patients' negative emotions and soothe their nerves. Many studies have demonstrated the health benefits of music, including a slower heart rate, decreased stress, low blood pressure, and reduced anxiety. In addition, studies from the Oral Health Group observed increased happiness, relaxation, and reduced nervousness in 86% of patients listening to soothing music.
The average person spends almost two years of their life waiting, whether it's in the airport, in traffic, or at the doctor's office. The utilization of calming audio throughout your waiting room will make the entire process much more pleasant for your patients. In addition, the integration of an audio system also offers the opportunity for you to relay important information via audio messaging.
3. Incorporate Streaming Video
In a healthcare setting, many patients endure long wait times. A study by Vitals concluded that patients with the lowest wait times experienced the highest amount of satisfaction. Streaming videos in the waiting room can keep patients' minds preoccupied while communicating critical information in a manner that is easy to understand. The videos you choose to display can include relevant video content, infographics, and information that may not be accessible to them otherwise. Streaming videos will simplify the process of delivering information to patients while softening the impact of long wait times.
The content streaming in your practice should be in alignment with your healthcare services and relevant to your patients' demographics. To enhance the quality of your content, gather frequently asked questions from your receptionists and healthcare providers. Consider offering a survey at the patient sign-in to discover which questions are most common and create content that addresses those concerns.
4. Soften the Lighting
Healthcare providers must design their waiting room so that it encourages a relaxed mindset. Proper lighting is an integral part of creating an environment conducive to relaxation. Although it's easy to overlook the importance of lighting fixtures, lighting profoundly affects patients' mental state, comfort, and experience in the waiting room.
Your audiovisual integrators must choose the proper color temperature to create an inviting feeling that is still effective. If the lighting is too cool, it can appear chilly and unwelcoming, increasing the mental turmoil that staff or patients could be experiencing. However, if the color temperature is too warm, it can lack clarity and make it difficult to complete necessary tasks like filling out paperwork.
Experts recommend that you choose a lighting temperature between 4500 to 5000K on the Kelvin scale for a functional and inviting waiting room. In addition, LED lighting is much more energy-efficient and healthy than alternative lighting solutions. You may want to work closely with a team of audiovisual professionals who can discern which lighting solutions are appropriate for your waiting room.
5. Use Interactive Touch Screens
Interactive touchscreens can streamline various processes, helping patients quickly and easily complete tasks. They may use this technology to check in, complete paperwork, and schedule appointments with minimal assistance from the front desk staff. And with patients able to rely on the aid of interactive touchscreens, the front desk staff can direct their attention to more critical tasks.
Recently, healthcare providers have been taking additional precautions to avoid the spread of germs and bacteria. But your practice does not need to sacrifice the efficiency of interactive touchscreens to prevent illness transmission. Consider offering disposable gloves and hand sanitizer to reassure who patients are uneasy about sharing an interactive touch screen device while maintaining a clean environment.
Implementing Your Waiting Room Upgrades
Once you've identified the ways AV tools could improve the patient experience at your unique practice, consider consulting with experienced audiovisual integration professionals. They can discern which audiovisual solutions best suit the layout of your waiting room and the needs of your healthcare practice.
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