Unique Exam Room Designs Improve the Patient Experience in a Multi-Specialty Building

If you sprained your ankle, you wouldn’t go to a neurosurgeon to have it diagnosed. So, why do exam rooms look the exact the same whether you are there for a broken arm or an EKG? We have found that customizing exam rooms to meet the needs of a specific practice, allows healthcare providers to move more efficiently and support their patients in new ways.

At the HCA Specialty Center in Overland Park, Kansas, we were able to do just that. We were the architect for all the practices inside the 3-story, 70,000 SF building. While our goal was to help each practice create a space to better serve their patients, we also needed to be mindful that all of the practices, which are part of the HCA Specialty Clinic, were visually cohesive. We achieved this by using standard finishes and design elements throughout each space. We selected coordinating artwork and furniture that served each practice in an optimal way.

While the common areas of each practice can be similar, the exam rooms needed to be tuned to best serve their patients. We met with doctors and nurses from each practice to better understand what they needed to be the most efficient in their exams. We worked with the furniture vendor, Scott Rice, to create mock-up rooms where the staff could try out the furniture in different configurations. This approach gave them clearer insight into what would work best for them.

Together, we settled on various exam styles throughout the building. Below are three examples of exam rooms, along with the details surrounding their distinct features.

In one exam room type, the physicians wanted to create a space that fostered communication between everyone in the room. They achieved this by:

  • Creating comfortable zones for the physician, nurse or scribe, patient and their support member where everyone could literally see eye-to-eye.

  • These physicians don’t typically need to lay patients down for exams, so we chose a patient recliner to replace the exam table here.

  • A smart board in each exam room allows the physicians to pull up diagrams of their procedures and virtually draw on top of them, so patients can better understand their care plan.

Another exam option was for a practice that utilizes mobile technology.

  • Everyone in this practice has a laptop they carry from room to room. We utilized a physician chair with a tablet arm instead of the typical stool so they could place their laptops down and still face patients, while looking at their laptop screen.

  • They have some rooms with patient recliners and others with exam tables, like the one shown above. These tables are longer than the typical exam bed, so patients are more comfortable when lying down for an exam.

  • The love seat in these rooms can be used for patients to sit when they aren’t lying down for an exam or provide a more comfortable seating arrangement for support members.

This practice sees patients of size and wanted to make sure their exam rooms allowed their patients to heal with dignity.

  • Each exam room in this practice is larger than the industry standard exam room at 12’ x 14’.

  • For it, we selected a motorized patient exam table that can be raised and lowered to help accommodate mobility impaired patients. It can also function as a recliner, as pictured or lay flat for physical examinations.

  • All support furniture in this exam can also support people of size, so patients can sit wherever they are most comfortable while they are discussing their care plan with their physician.

Customizing exam rooms can help improve the patient experience and maximize outcomes. Contact us at KurtB@bc-dg.com to learn how we can personalize your space.

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