Office Design And Environment For Medical Assistant

Office Design and Environment:
Even when the office or clinic is housed in an older building not originally constructed as a medical facility, there is much that can be done to create an environment that enhances patient comfort. Remember to see things from the patient's point of view. If the facility is a labyrinth of corridors where patients can easily get turned around, make certain that directions are clear. Be sure that examination rooms are not made more frightening by an assortment of exposed medical equipment and strange-looking dials, hoses, and nozzles. Be alert to odors that are often distasteful to patients even if the odors are from necessary antiseptics.

A reception window or desk should not make the patient feel closed off from the receptionist; it should provide privacy for the receptionist while allowing a full view of the reception area. A poorly illuminated room may suggest that the physician is trying to hide somethingpoor housekeeping, dust-encrusted baseboards, soiled carpets, or faded draperies. Lighting can be soft and inviting while providing proper illumination.
Some rooms in the facility, by their very nature, cause patients to feel intimidated. Consider the patient who is naked on an examination table except for a paper or cloth gown interacting with the physician who is fully clothed and wearing a white lab coat and comfortably seated at a counter desk. Consider also the patient who is about to have a sigmoidoscopy and must be placed on a special examination table tilted into the knee-chest position. Both these situations place the patient at an unequal level with the physician for discussion and negotiation. The goal in medical care should be to empower the patient with as much control as possible.

Privacy is always important to patients. Provide space for them to hang their clothes and undergarments out of view. A mirror is especially helpful when dressing. Always ask if a patient needs help in disrobing, and always knock before entering a room. Remember, too, that privacy implies that the patient's conversation cannot be overheard in any other part of the facility. Color can do much to establish an inviting environment. Greens and blues are good in areas that require quiet and extended concentration. Cool colors cause individuals to underestimate time and make heavier items seem lighter, objects smaller, and rooms larger. Warm colors with high illumination cause increased alertness and an outward orientation.

The aged will have difficulty distinguishing pastels because of failing eyesight. Strongly contrasting patterns and extremely bright colors can be overwhelming, and even intimidating or threatening in their effect. Accessories and artwork can easily add a special touch to a facility. While fresh flowers might be a nice touch, fresh flowers harbor microorganisms, and some patients may be allergic to them. There is the tendency to use living plants in the medical facility, but some silk plants and flowers look realistic. It would be worth the investment to have a professional designer look through the facility to make suggestions regarding color, artwork, and the general environment of the office.