Designing exam rooms to support caregivers

Designing exam rooms to support caregivers

Exam rooms

Primary care exam rooms are the backbone in the continuum of care, the primary place where patients interact with caregivers.

As part of a streamlined experience, patients now spend most of their time in the exam room instead of moving around between waiting areas, consult rooms, labs, or other spaces. Exam rooms are being designed to offer a patient-centric experience and accommodate ever-changing technology.

Stray and Lasata

Design considerations

There are several design considerations to consider when designing exam rooms:

  • Layout of staff zone
    Convenient and standardized location of medications, supplies, and equipment to minimize unnecessary searching and movement by staff.
    Easy-to-access electrical outlets for using/charging instruments and other technology.
  • Patient zone
    Furniture layout that allows patient and staff equal access to the computer screen with minimal height differential between patient and provider to maintain good eye contact.
    Screened dressing spaces with lockable storage for personal items.
  • Family zone
    Sufficient seating for patients and their extended families and other support professionals.
Exam rooms
  • Windows, walls, and ceilings
    Offer a full-length mirror for patients to check their appearance before leaving the room.
    Art featuring scenes of nature can offer a relaxing visual break.
    Use sound-absorbing ceiling materials for noise reduction.
    Employ windows and/or skylights to provide plenty of direct or indirect natural light.
    Offer views to nature through the windows.
  • Flooring
    Home-like materials that create a non-institutional ambiance for patients and visitors.
    Provide wayfinding cues in the form of color coding on floors, directional signage, and views to interior and exterior landmarks.
Stray and Knack

Caregiver Spaces

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