What’s in an exam room?

Have you considered how exam room layout can affect patient care?

Many health care professionals may not even think about what the design and/or setup of their exam rooms look like, or how patients receive them. However, this can make a big difference in both the quality of care provided to individuals and overall comfort of your patients while they are there. Depending on the type of practice and which services doctors are providing, the layout of exam rooms can greatly vary.

Speedy service
For clinics that promise patients fast and convenient care, the examination areas are often smaller. In many cases, the rooms behind each door will look exactly the same. This allows doctors and nurses to ensure quality and timely care to those they are seeing. Everything is in the same spot, so none of the health care staff members have to guess where something may be. Really, all you need when completing short exams is the exam space, an area for storing supplies and seating.1

All inclusive
On the other hand, there are also offices that provide patients with everything from consultations and exams to testing and scheduling in one room. These are often much larger exam areas, and sometimes they include a separate consultation area for doctors and nurses to have one-on-one conversations with the patients in a private and comfortable setting.2 As the services in which health care professionals are continuing to change, so will the designs of their service areas.

Patient reception
Research specialist Dr. Kara Freihoefer deconstructed the designs of multiple rooms at different clinics and how patients perceived them.3 Freihoefer hoped to discover what the advantages of specific design qualities were. There were a number of aspects she find to influence an individual's comfort in an exam room, including exam tables and privacy curtains. She also picked up on differences in communication based around the location of the consultation table in a room.

Medical supplies
Clinics and doctor offices that are in need of medical supplies can turn to Medex Supply for all of their needs. Just some of the exam room equipment available includes:

1 Healthcare Design, "Clinic design: the exam room" May 30, 2012
2 Jain Malkin Inc., "Designing a divided exam room" April 24, 2012
3 National Institutes of Health, "Clinic exam room design: present and future" Spring, 2013

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