Almost everybody that has an appointment with the dentist understands that they're probably going to have to wait a few minutes at the very least before they can be seen. It's why every dental practice has a waiting room.
However, waiting rooms are rarely designed with the comfort and convenience of the patient in mind--but they should be. The following are ten of the common reasons why patients hate waiting rooms and how you can address this:
- Having to wait to check in - Having to walk to the front desk and wait behind a line of other patients just to check in can be aggravating. Setting up a self-service check-in kiosk or having a concierge that meets patients at the door to check them in can help make this process much more convenient.
- Getting bored easily - Waiting, in general, tends to be boring. Offer reading materials to your patients. You might even want to install a TV (with the sound turned off and the subtitles on) to give your patients something to watch.
- Dealing with antsy children - Parents tend to get more annoyed the longer they have to wait since they'll inevitably have to deal with antsy children. Set up a play area for the kids so that they don't get bored.
- Being anxious - Being anxious about visiting the dentist is not uncommon. Focus on creating an environment that promotes tranquility by using calming colors, such as blue and green. Add a few plants here and there and set up a fish tank to help create a more relaxing environment as well.
- Having nowhere to charge your phone - Patients will keep themselves busy by playing on their phones. Have a charging station set up in case they need to recharge.
- Not knowing how long you have to wait - There's nothing more irritating than being stuck waiting with no idea how long it will take. You won't want your patients periodically bothering your staff to find out how much longer it will be. There are a few ways you can address this issue--you can distribute pagers that inform patients when you're ready, you can send texts, or you can even display wait times through an app.
- Sitting in an uncomfortable chair - Don't try to keep costs down by putting up cheap seating. Make sure the chairs you buy for your waiting room are comfortable. If they're uncomfortable, you're just going to end up seeing a bunch of patients who are in a bad mood as a result.
- Not being able to hear the staff - If they can't hear your staff, it will make your patients more anxious or frustrated. If there's a wall between the waiting room and front desk, you might want to knock it down. At the very least, set up a speaker system or have a concierge that comes out to the waiting room to call the name of the patient.
- Poor lighting - Whether there's not enough lighting or too much lighting, poor lighting can cause serious headaches. You don't want patients feeling bad when they walk into the treatment room--and if they're suffering from a toothache, then poor lighting is only going to make them more miserable.
- Having nothing to look at - A waiting room with nothing to look at is bland and boring and makes the wait feel longer. Add artwork or other decor elements to your walls.
These are ten reasons patients hate waiting rooms and how you can address them. For more dental practice design tips, be sure to contact us at HJT Dental Design Consultants to set up a consultation today.