1989: Poor design may cost you patients

Flashback to 1989! In Februrary 1989, The Canadian Medical Association Journal published a two page article by Freelance writer Jacqueline Swartz highlighting the increasing importance of good design in healthcare facilities. Her emphasis was on private practice medical offices and articulates several thoughtful, basic elements of their design. The article opens:

Vinyl chairs, metal tables and cold, impersonal waiting rooms might have been the norm in medical offices a decade ago, but now, with increasing competition for patients in large urban areas and a growing public awareness of design, waiting rooms are taking on a new look.  “There’s a new emphasis on an attractive, inviting environment that conveys the message of comfort and wellness, rather than sterility and illness,” says Jan Suitso, an interior designer.

The general mood of the move toward human centered, consumer driven healthcare design has not changed significantly since 1989. The advent of the evidence based design movement certainly provided a database of qualitative statistics to draw from, however we can see in the CMAJ article here that carefully articulated common sense can also play an important role in design schemes. Suggestions include french doors to promote a sense of openiness,  a nurses station where simple proceedures like allergy shots can be performed, chairs with arms, and soft earth tone colors and textures. My personal favorite section:

Natural light or indirect lighting is preferable to fluorescent lighting, which makes colours appear washed out and can make even the healthy look sick. And vinyl is passe: durable nylon weaves are preferable.

Download the full article via PDF: The doctor’s office: Poor design may cost you patients


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