Best Practices

PRO TIPS! Interior Medical Office Design Tips Used In Concierge Medicine to Reduce Anxiety, Stress and Emphasize Comfort and Safety When Patients Arrive.

BARRIERS Between DOCTOR AND PATIENT — Fall, 2019 – Patients Don’t Need nor Want More Barriers. We Want Doctor’s Office Environments That Are Warm, Welcoming and Friendly. We arrive on time and Doctors and staff are always late and usually treat us like cattle. We’re rewarded with bills we don’t understand and letters threatening collections from these offices. We’re met with signs in ALL CAPS that virtually yell at us saying “You’re solely responsible for charges” and medical vocabulary that’s never explained. No wonder 8/10 Patients say they ‘don’t know, like or trust’ their Doctor, according to a Concierge Medicine Today national survey of patients leaving their plan reimbursed Physician and seeking the care of a Concierge Medicine Doctor. That Remove these Barriers. Patients Are Burning Out On Their Doctors But No One Really Wants To Talk About or DO Something About That Except Those We See Working In Interior Design, Dental Offices, Hospital ER Triage Designers and Concierge Medicine Physicians.

“According to the Harvard Business… data has shown that the design of a medical facility can actually save lives, and improve outcomes for patients.”

Editor of Concierge Medicine Today closes the 2019 FORUM with some parting words FOR DOCTORS, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. Returning in the FALL of 2020 — LEARN MORE …

By Michael Tetreault, Editor-in-Chief

I love to get my hands on medical literature, old news stories and new articles in healthcare discussing the impact on health when it revolves around healthcare and the impact and importance of interior design.

Sadly however, we usually only see interior designers with specific emphases in healthcare design, dentists, some dermatology, most plastic surgeon practices, Concierge Medicine Physician offices and hospital ER and Triage administrators ever be concerned about or DO something about such things.

That has to change. It must change.

What we see happening in healthcare is widespread use and adoption of technology and design everywhere, except inside healthcare offices. Sure, we talk a big game at conferences, we hear lectures which motivate Doctors and their staff and have a ‘rah-rah, let’s do this!’ mentality but come Monday morning after the flight home, the motivation is gone and we find healthcare refuses to adjust their approach.

Instead, we see a defensive posture by most in healthcare whereby the status-quo is upheld as the ‘standard’ of care and defended to the bewilderment of Patients.

RELATED STORY | LISTEN, Exclusive | CMTs DocPreneur Leadership Podcast
EP. 12 | The DOCPRENEUR PODCAST: How Interior Design Impacts A Doctor’s Financial Health

Slow Your Role, Doc.

Don’t Be Deceived. Don’t Get Your Role Reversed. Meaning, When Patients Arrive They First Pay Attention to Your People [eg Your Staff]. Second, Your Practice Environment and Design. They’ll internally ask themselves, ‘Is that chair free of germs?’ or ‘I hope the bathroom is clean.’  Finally, they’ll eventually pay attention [and hopefully listen] to you, their Doctor, Dead Last.

How are you adjusting your approach?

The New England Journal of Medicine said At first glance, the topic of [something like] attire seems, well, superficial — nothing a serious medical professional should consider. But today we practice in an environment with a growing focus on value-based care. What if you were to find out that a physician’s attire is measurably important to metrics of patient satisfaction or even to clinical outcomes? The question of attire now becomes more interesting.[4]

People are stressed and anxious at a Doctor’s Office. I don’t care who you are, but we’ve all felt like that at some point when visiting a medical office.

STUFF WE LOVE AROUND HERE … “New Podcast we encourage DOCTORS to listen to from our friends at Healthcare Interior Design 2.0. Go check it out!”

Reducing stress allows patients to communicate more clearly, think more quickly and ultimately enhance dialogue between Doctor and Patient during routine visits.

(Story Continued Below Interview …)

(Listen, CMT Exclusive w/ Healthcare Interior Design Expert) How Interior Design Impacts A Doctor’s Financial Health

The Data Supports Medical Office Design.

In reading a recent article How Office Design Affects Patient Experience by McCoy-Rockford Commercial Interiors, they noted that once upon a time, single patient rooms were considered a luxury.[1]


Well that’s really not all that surprising considering today’s culture. However, Patients, like me [and your Patients too!] nowadays expect a private exam room, a great, not just standard experience and yes, like it or not, the paint on the wall, the furniture, your cabinetry and even counter tops you select say a lot about the type of care we’re about to receive.

EP 255 | Perfecting the Patient Experience — “Build it” for the Patient

It ALL matters to Patients.

All of these design elements emphasize patient comfort and have been proven to reduce stress and anxiety in Patient care. Not too mention, it enhances the Patient-Physician dialogue so you can impact Patient care more specifically. In fact, an article published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality says a lot about the ways medical office interior design can affect patients. It says, Reducing stress in patients during their visit/stay in a medical clinic can greatly boost healing and recovery.

(Story Continued Below Graphic …)

I’ve personally spent some time around cattle and other than the branding iron, Naylor dehorning paste and ear tags, healthcare delivery today is a lot like cattle being directed into the corral and brought through the cattle chute to travel through while being herded [directed or guided] from one location to another that is nearby. Sound familiar? Photo Credit: Michael Tetreault, Editor

PHOTO CONTEST “It’s YOUR SHOT!” — Send Us Your Best Concierge Medical OFFICE/Interior Design Photos – CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE and SUBMIT YOUR PHOTO(S) …

I know what you might be thinking. And that is ‘You don’t know my local community of Patients and what they’re interests or needs are when it comes to patient experience.’

Well, while I might not live next door, I am a Patient too. I happen to sit on the other side of the exam room and visit Concierge Medicine, Direct Primary Care (DPC), urgent care center waiting areas and specialty care lobbies quite often and I can tell you that wherever I go, these details matter not only to me, but to every Patient that I see walk through a door into a medical suite or office.

EP 147 Behavior Design In Healthcare Meet Dr Kyra Bobinet CEO of Neuroscience Design Firm engagedIN

(Story continued below interview …)

(CMT Exclusive, Listen) Behavior Design In Healthcare Meet Dr Kyra Bobinet CEO of Neuroscience Design Firm engagedIN

According to the Harvard Business Review’s article Better Healing from Better Hospital Design, clinical data has shown that the design of a medical facility can actually save lives, and improve outcomes for patients. It also cites several studies that illustrate that patients with windows to natural views had shorter stays in hospitals, and patients who were able to walk through hospital gardens reported therapeutic effects.

(Story Continued Below Graphic …)

True Story; Sept. 2019; Credit: Concierge Medicine Today

“The Lobby Feels Like A Corral.”

Well, Patients Are Not Cattle. But, We Often Feel Like We’re Treated That Way At A Doctor’s Office.

Patients pay attention to details big and small … then, eventually, their Doctor. You’re NOT First on the List. 

Patients often feel like cattle. And, I’ve personally spent some time around cattle and other than the branding iron, Naylor dehorning paste and ear tags, healthcare delivery today is a lot like cattle being directed into the corral and brought through the cattle chute to travel through while being herded [directed or guided] from one location to another that is nearby. Sound familiar?

You pay attention to the all details when you visit with your Patients, right? You listen intently. You ask poignant questions. Well, the Patient is smart too. Sometimes we think our Physician doesn’t feel that way. We feel like cattle. And, I’ve personally spent some time around cattle and other than the branding iron, Naylor dehorning paste and ear tags, healthcare delivery today is a lot like cattle being directed into the corral and brought through the cattle chute to travel through while being herded [directed or guided] from one location to another that is nearby. Sound familiar?

EP 197 | For Doctors in Parking Lots and Remarks on “Reserved For…” Sign Posts

We as Patients pay attention more than you know to details like a cluttered desk at the front of the office. We dislike seeing medical office files stacked up on an administrators desk. We notice if the trash can is almost full. We can tell if the bathroom sink was cleaned last night and we might even notice the smudge marks on the counter in the exam room.

Study, Physician Dress Code: Why a Patient Deserves Better.

Reducing Stress

What if you created a medical practice and office environment that Patients and People found remarkable?

Dream with me for a moment. Let’s examine that work Remarkable.

Merriam-Webster defines the word, Remarkable and Experience as:

Something remarkable is unusual, exceptional, interesting, or excellent. Remarkable things get your attention. If you take this word literally, you can figure out the meaning: remarkable things make you want to make a remark about them. They get you talking because they’re so unusual or good.[2]

ARTICLE: Interiors and Sources; November 2018; Making Healthcare Environments More Flexible Now and In The Future — Read Full Article …

Experience is defined as: direct observation of or participation in events as a basis of knowledge; something personally encountered, undergone, or lived through.[3]

Knowing the definitions of these two important words in the care and treatment of your next Patient, what do you think is worth remarking about? What would your last patient say about their experience and encounter with you, your staff and your office? Is is remark-worthy? Was it or is it worth remarking about? Positively of negatively?

RELATED STORY | LISTEN HERE |The DocPreneur Leadership Podcast
EP 146 One Special Superhero Girl has some advice for Doctors

I dare say, most Patients, family members and friends we bump into today have anything remarkable to say about the last time they went to see the Doctor. Usually what is worth remarking about is how terrible it was or how unfriendly the staff were to them.

Interior design can help reduce stress, reduce anxiety and improve patient and employee morale in the medical practice. Concierge Medicine Doctors have learned this and done something about the design and keep improving the patient experience year after year. Dentists have even figured this out. One DDS in Atlanta, GA redesigns his medical office every few years. By changing paint color, artwork, chairs, countertops … the details matter. They help make a visit to the doctor’s office worth remarking about.

(Story Continued Below Interview …)

(Listen, CMT Exclusive) The Waiting Room, Color and Furniture Tips FOR DOCTORS

What Concierge Medicine Physicians Do First


(Story Continued Below Interview …)

(Listen, CMT Exclusive) The Psychology of Paint Color In A Doctors Office and How Color Impacts Mood, Stress, Anxiety and Patient Care

What Should You Do Next?

Answer: “Look For Uniquely Better.”

It’s not always easy to decide what to do first. We resist change. We’ve become accustomed to believing that design and healthcare don’t walk hand-in-hand. We believe and we’re in most cases taught that Patients don’t care about that stuff.

Well, who told you that? Perhaps a Medical School Professor? Or was it another Physician? Did we ever think to ask the customer [eg the Patient] what they feel and think about our business [eg medical office]? After all, they are the customer, right?

RELATED STORY | CMTs DocPreneur Leadership Podcast
Part 2, The Psychology of Paint Color and its Effect in Healthcare

We usually start by asking this question which helps many of the Doctors we’ve spoken to over the year take the first step into doing something, anything! That question is: “If photos of your practice showed up on Facebook, would you be proud of them?”

We don’t have all the answers, but we definitely have a lot of questions. We can’t tell Doctors what to do, nor should we. What our job is in writing a story like this is to hopefully draw your attention to some gaps or details in the medical office environment we see failing to bring the Patient and Doctor closer. Interior design and its impact is one of those details.

So whatever you do, don’t just do nothing. Start by asking your spouse or a trusted friend in to walk around the office. Get their honest opinion.

(Story Continued Below Interview …)

Here’s four helpful steps you can take today:

Editor of Concierge Medicine Today closes the 2019 FORUM with some parting words FOR DOCTORS, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019.

1. Be a student, not a critic.

Don’t criticize that which we don’t understand or can control. The moment we start criticizing, we stop learning and stop seeing the next. The next generation idea almost never comes from the previous generation.

2. Keep your eyes and mind wide open.

Listen to outsiders. Listen to those who don’t know what we do or how we do it. Outsiders are not bound by our assumptions. We go with “That won’t work.” because of our assumptions. Close-minded leaders [eg Doctors] close minds [eg and in turn, close the minds of Patients]. If you shut eyes and minds you will shut those of others. If they have ideas they won’t bring them to us.

Some questions to consider:

  • How do we respond to staff who make suggestions based on what they observe in other organizations?
  • Can we shut down the thing inside that wants to shut down the ideas?
  • When was the last time we ran with an idea that wasn’t my [eg solely the Doctors] idea?
  • Am I curious about what I don’t know?

3. Replace “How?” with “Wow!”

Ideas die with “How?” How much does it cost to just say “Wow!”? “Wow!” ideas to life, don’t “How?” them to death.

Nothing is gained when we don’t know what young leaders are dreaming about.

At the 2019 Concierge Medicine FORUM in Atlanta, GA USA, 2019-2020.

4. Recognize rather than resist.

If we are pursuing the uniquely better, we will be pre-disposed to see it. Ask if it is unique and is really, better.[5]

CMT Interior Medical Office Design Photo Contest … Winning Participants Will Be Featured In A Gallery At the 2020 Concierge Medicine FORUM in Atlanta (Fall 2020)!

Are you proud of your new practice?

Have you made some dramatic changes recently to your office design since transitioning to a Concierge Medical model?

Ever wonder what your fellow Concierge Doctors are doing to enhance their office space?

Take your best shots and photos and send them to us!

We’ll spotlight them throughout 2020 on CMT, CMTs social media page and enlarge and include participants’ photos our photo gallery at the 2020 CONCIERGE MEDICINE FORUM in Atlanta. Simple submit to us your favorite office photos for possible inclusion and publication in Concierge Medicine Today (CMT).

Your Shot (by CMT) is your chance to spotlight your medical office space and practice design into our publication.

You should include images of lobby furniture, office, walls, new paint and fresh flowers in your exam rooms, exterior signage, brag-worthy interior design, stunning diagnostic space and more. The more unique the better! We’re looking for office space design and layout. Multiple photos/entries welcome!

You should NOT include: photos with patients in them or the background; photos with patient files open or viewable in background, anything that would violate HIPAA, etc.

How to Submit:

Email up to 10 photographs to along with a lively description of what room we’re looking at, your city, state, practice/facility name, web site address and telephone number.

Terms of Use:
Please DO NOT send us pictures with patients or people in them WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION. If you send them to us, we will presume you have received their consent and we will post on our Social Media pages. Also, please be cautious and aware that you do not have medical files on desks or any kind of patient health information being displayed in your photos.  If we decide to use your photos, you understand that we can use it anywhere in the CMT publication, magazine or on our social media Page(s), including e-newsletters and blog posts; we will display your name and a brief description of the photos; and that other bloggers will be able to post comments on your photos. You also acknowledge that the photos are yours alone and that no one else has any rights to them, and that we may delete them at any time. Concierge Medicine Today, LLC., and it’s associates or Representatives will not acknowledge or return e-mails or images and are not responsible in any way for damages or liable for the photos you provide us. Furthermore, by sending them to us you acknowledge that we have full rights to publish these photos without copyright risk and you assume full responsibility and liability for them. Photo descriptions may be edited for grammar, clarity, and/or length.


Cited Sources


Categories: Best Practices

Tagged as:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s