Do your patients dread your waiting room?
I have to admit I hate going to see my doctor because of their boring waiting room. It’s dreary gray with uncomfortable chairs and a forty something inch tv set to the home DIY channel. Let’s face it, your wait time can feel like an eternity under those dreadful conditions. Oh and there’s minimal reading material to entertain yourself. As a matter of fact, the dismal selection is restricted to cooking or women’s magazines. Don’t get me wrong I like a good Women’s Health or All Recipes, but I would love to pick up a good ole Harvard Business Review, The Economist, or my favorite Psychology Today. See what I mean, the reading choices are a one size fits all approach to entertaining clients. In fact, some patients want to read Runner’s Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, or Popular Mechanics.
Kids are just as bored.
Equally dreadful is taking your kids with you, only to have them fighting over the tablet you pulled out of your Neverfull tote. Similarly, these waiting rooms also serve one age group. The waiting room play area entertains preschool-age patients; while some only cater to toddlers or elementary age children. Additionally, if your kids are not sick they have to play in the waiting room play area with sick children. I’m no germaphobe, but I’ll dodge the chance of the kids getting sick from the doctor’s office.
From boring to stressful.
Then there was stress. Last September I suffered from a runner’s stress fracture. I can honestly tell you I was a bit stressed and anxiety ridden to sit in the waiting room for my turn to see the podiatrist. I scanned every corner of that waiting room anxiously wondering what was that excruciating pain I was feeling. All I could think of was when I could wear heels to work again. Needless, to say the podiatrist misdiagnosed me. A month later and I was sitting in a new podiatrist office just as stressed hoping that this time I would find the real cause of the pain. To my dismay, I found out I had a stress fracture common in runners. The nurse set me up with therapy appointments three times a week for eight weeks. I have to admit the first week I miserably sat in the waiting room then sat in therapy just staring at the walls. The weeks after became so much easier as I came prepared with my laptop and was able to whiz through my office work each morning. Suddenly I looked forward to my time at the doctor’s office.
If you feel your waiting room has turned into a dungeon of doom add these in your office now.
My saving grace at the podiatrist was wifi. The office has a secured wifi for internal use and offers a public hotspot. I was able to catch up on my office work while waiting in the waiting area and while receiving therapy on my fractured sesamoid. WIFI is necessary for clinics and doctor offices. It’s like the twilight zone for cell service in those places. For this reason, wifi is important to keep your patients connected with the outside world. In a study observing waiting room behavior the most common behavior is engaging with a screen as opposed to reading, talking on the phone, and other behaviors. Which brings me to the next technology you need to add to your waiting area.
As much as 28% of patients are using a smartphone or tablet while in the queue. Use this opportunity to speed up the intake process, educate your patients, or update their medical history. For example, your patient arrives at the intake desk in your office, handed a tablet, and goes through a series of questions that self-checks the patient. Next, have them update their contacts and review the notes from their previous visits. Perhaps a screen could prompt them to type in questions they would like you to answer. By the time they are done with the tablet it’s time to see the doctor. This is why you need technology in your waiting room.
I go to this boba place that I have mentioned before. This week I stood in front of the digital media board and read the quirky fun facts about cassava root. Heck, I even pitched to my owner friend to write some new stuff for his board. Before you wonder why I am bringing this up, let me tell you. Your patients can benefit from digital media in your office. Here is why. As I sit at my family practitioner’s office watching the T.V. in front of me I start to notice I’m on my second commercial. Soon enough it’s four commercials. By the time I hear the nurse calling my name I’m on commercial #8. At this point I am irritated at the time spent waiting. However, when I was standing in front of the Nu Ice board I did not realize I had stood there for 15 minutes. Long enough to finish my boba and go back to order another green tea (Don’t judge, it’s hot in Houston). Moral of the story, the entertainment you provide in your waiting room should have added value. You can cater the content to share health and wellness facts, office information, or introduce your staff.
And More Technology
Now to tackle the germ infested kids play area. Did you know that germs live on magazine surfaces? Comparatively, they will thrive on toys in your waiting area. Infections are spread through hands. Unless your patients are going to be wiping down each toy, nook, and cranny in your office there is an alternative to providing entertainment in a germ-free fashion. Interactive gaming projectors are extremely popular in clinical and office waiting for areas. These technologies can project games onto surfaces such as walls, tables, or the floor. The player controls the games using natural movement to control its play. Your little clients can stomp around to grab all the pieces of candy or color on a virtual coloring book. Interactive gaming projectors offer a number of games that suit every age. The best part of this technology is that it’s a two for one. Some of these projectors are programmable. They let you upload and project your own content then toggle to virtual games when you have a room, full-off kids.
These technologies will transform your waiting area. If you are not convinced yet…
Ever wonder why it takes so long to get to baggage claim after landing? Did you know it’s done on purpose. I fly almost every week, sometimes 2 -3 times a week. The worst part about flying is waiting an eternity for my luggage. Airport layout allows customers to feel they did not wait long for their luggage by making you feel like the long trek down the terminal is productive. Don’t let your patients sit around for an eternity in your waiting room. Design the walk to the baggage claim by using these technologies to make them feel more productive. Increase their productivity by offering easy access to power and the internet. Don’t forget to make them feel comfortable to ease their stress. Consider making your waiting room more inviting and less clinical. Finally, remember that we all fear getting sick. Quit creating the opportunity for breeding germs by investing in technology kids will love and you won’t have to clean up.
BEAM by EyeClick is the future of virtual interactive gaming. The award-winning, innovative platform engages children through tailored games. BEAM provides a germ free immersive playground that encourages play in doctor and clinical center waiting rooms. Learn more about BEAM