How Psychology Plays a Role in Medical Office Design

Psychology is all about understanding the mind and its influence on behavior and can create a better understanding of medical office design concepts. Why do medical offices look the way they look and what improvements are emerging in design and layout? Interestingly, the details of an overall picture play a profound role in the experience of the end-user — or patient, in this case.

When a person isn’t feeling well, the stress and anxiety surrounding the issue are already at the forefront of their emotional state. What doesn’t help is feeling like you are a part of the furniture pushed against the wall in quiet silence. 

Environment matters, including the smell, the colors of the walls/floors, the type of furniture, the sounds, as well as the attitudes of those managing the office visits, are experienced by medical patients in an amplified way.

We will be looking at three main areas that get a lot of attention in terms of having a psychological impact on a patient visiting a medical office.

Medical Office Design Trends that Improve Patient Experience

When you care about patient experience, it shows in the thoughtfulness you put into the details that surround their medical office visit. First impressions can retain the interest of a patient or send them running to a competitor. 

Sights, sounds, and smells — Environmental designers agree that colors make a difference in how a person reacts to the room around them. Patients may benefit the most from soothing colors like sage or dusty blue. Plain white may feel a bit too cold and uninviting and bright energetic colors do not display color empathy considering the fragile physical and mental conditions patients experience.

Outdated or modern — Outdated decor and office furniture send a negative message. Without realizing it, making this mistake damages your impression of competency. When the office environment appears old, used, neglected, and out of touch with today’s trends, it psychologically makes patients associate this with the medical practice itself. Keeping things modern and clean is an easy way to boost the patient experience. 

Stiff or inviting — Providing a warm and welcoming medical office design sets the right tone from beginning to end. Do you have plants? Good lighting? Natural designs? Mixing nature with modern is a great way to make an innovative office design that greets patients long before the staff does. On the other hand, stiff environments are shown to raise levels of anxiety for patients. When this happens, individuals tend to feel like just another number or worse — just a part of the furniture.

Considerate Artwork — Skip the portraits of clowns and opt for artwork that conveys beauty and ease. Landscape imagery of nature often has a positive impact on a person’s senses when visiting a medical office. 

When your office imagery is consistent with the design elements listed above, you offer patients consistency. Inconsistency is what the human mind picks up on and sends stress signals to in response. It is why messy and cluttered rooms negatively affect a person’s mood and cause an overall inner stress response to the environment.

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