Most healthcare facilities look the same — you walk in and see a sterile waiting room lined with standard arm chairs, a TV on the wall, a stack of magazines in the corner, and artwork that is less than interesting. However, in an effort to make patients feel more comfortable, designers are changing the boring look. Waiting rooms are becoming more inviting, being infused with high-tech features, and getting a much-needed change in décor. Take a look at some of the awesome design trends in healthcare right now.
Meaningful Décor and Art
If you’ve ever spent the night in a hospital room, you probably remember the artwork, but not because it was beautiful. You remember it because it was the only thing you had to look at and it was boring and dull. However, designers are trying to change that stigma by making each hospital room and waiting room unique. Murals are a common design trend that make healthcare facilities stand out. For instance, Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT, has murals in most of their units. Additionally, they use children’s artwork throughout the hospital to put children at ease and to stand out.
You don’t need an arts major to work around artful and creative environments. Careers in nursing have just as much an eye for art as a graphic designer might, it might not just be as obvious. As hospitals start upgrading their furniture and décor, healthcare facilities are going to become a lot more beautiful and inviting. The sterile stigma will go away.
Hi-Tech Waiting Rooms
Another trend in healthcare design is hi-tech waiting rooms. WiFi has been in hospitals and doctors’ offices for several years now, but several healthcare facilities are now incorporating connective furniture where people can charge their mobile devices. The design trend includes tables and end tables that have outlets and USB ports for charging devices. This enhances patients’ overall happiness because they can entertain themselves with their mobile devices instead of reading the standard magazines or watching the typical fish. The Winthrop University Hospital Research and Academic Center in Long Island will feature all sorts of high-tech furniture and design when it opens in 2014.
Adding to the idea of a “smart hospital” is waiting rooms with check-in kiosks. These are machines that allow patients to let the staff know they have arrived without waiting in line to fill out registration forms. They saves everyone time so patients don’t get mad about the wait and receptionists can effectively deal with the necessary paperwork. Check-in kiosks are popping up in all sorts of healthcare facilities and they are becoming a major part of design because they are one of the first things that patients are supposed to see.
Smaller, More Luxurious Reception Areas
For years, designers have been working on the back-end of hospitals, making sure that everything flows nicely for doctors and their staff. Now, however, the design shift has gone to waiting rooms. Not only are waiting rooms getting high-tech features, they are also getting nicer designs that feel less sterile and uninviting. Smaller waiting rooms put patients at ease and make them feel more comfortable while they wait to see the doctor. Some of the design trends also include furniture that reclines and is wider for more elbow space and distance between patients.
According to GBBN Architects in Cincinnati, the healthcare industry as a whole is shifting towards a customer service model. That’s why healthcare waiting rooms are falling under closer scrutiny in design. A good customer experience can’t be offered if the first impression of a healthcare facility is old, musty, and smells of aerosol and hand sanitizer. Yes, the space needs to feel clean, but it doesn’t need to be harsh and uninviting. This means that the days of waiting rooms with row after row of seating are over. Designers are now creating more private, intimate spaces where patients can wait in peace and comfort.
These are just a couple of healthcare design trends that are happening right now. Overall, healthcare facilities are becoming less scary and more welcoming. Patient comfort and happiness are being made a priority.