Creating a Welcoming Environment: Ideas for Enhancing Patient Engagement in Doctors' Waiting Rooms

February 16, 2023

The patient experience begins the second they step foot into your waiting room. If your patients find uncomfortable chairs, the same magazines as the last visit and long waiting times, then their visit won’t start on a positive note. 

That can negatively impact their perception of the visit and the care they receive. As for patient engagement? 


Time spent in a doctor’s office waiting room is often passive, too—with each patient waiting their turn as the minutes tick by. So, you’ll want to consider ways to engage them there before their appointment begins.

To boost patient engagement (and help them achieve the best possible health outcomes), ensure your waiting room is as welcoming, interactive and engaging as possible. Here’s how you can do this, just using the screens in your waiting room. 

What is patient engagement, and why is it so important? 

Patient engagement refers to the ongoing dialogue and collaborative care between a medical care provider, their patient (and their family) to educate, inform and empower the patient to make the best decisions about their healthcare, treatment and wellness. 

The goal is for the patient to be as engaged as possible in their healthcare decisions to maximize their health outcomes.

Why is patient engagement important?

Patients must sit behind the wheel on their healthcare journey—not in the passenger seat. Research shows that engaged patients make informed and educated decisions about their health and wellness. 

It gives patients a clearer understanding of their health helping them formulate preferred healing and treatment goals. Engaged patients are also more likely to commit to doing what it takes to heal in a way that works best for them. 

That can lead to lower healthcare costs, fewer unnecessary treatments and hospitalizations and the best possible health outcomes.

The Best Ways to Boost Patient Engagement in Your Waiting Room

There is no secret design formula for outfitting a doctor’s office waiting room with features that improve patient engagement. But we’ve compiled some of the best ways to boost patient engagement, regardless of your budget or penchant for interior design.

Share patient education videos in your waiting room 

An informed patient is a more engaged patient. 

Playing patient education videos in your waiting room can improve patients’ understanding of complex medical concepts

It’s the perfect opportunity to clarify any misconceptions and encourages open patient-practitioner dialogue.

Regardless of your specialization, here are a few types of patient-education videos that can help inform patients and reduce waiting-room anxiety:

  • Videos that raise awareness about an illness, condition or lifestyle choice
  • Healthcare-tip videos
  • What-to-expect videos
  • Meet-the-staff/nurses/doctor video
  • Patient spotlight videos to build an in-clinic community & improve patient experiences
  • Procedure-prep informational videos

Upgrade your patient waiting room signs 

Not every patient will have the bandwidth to watch a 15-minute how-to video on the best ways to avoid contracting the common cold, etc. 

Upgrading your patient waiting room signs with digital signage display software can fill that gap and engage patients who prefer a bite-sized (and entertaining) waiting-room experience.

Here are a few ideas that will help make their actual or perceived wait time even less unpleasant (and more positive):

  • Display current or approximate waiting times.
  • Settle their pre-visit nerves by streaming entertainment they want to see.
  • Offer health and wellness reminder displays about taking medication correctly. Be sure to encourage follow-up interaction if they have any questions!
  • Share information about in-clinic or external supplementary treatment plans or products.
  • Engage them with QR technology that links to your patient portal and its features, a post-visit, patient-experience survey and more.

Do more with patient engagement technology in your waiting rooms 

While it may take some planning and consideration to make content that is beneficial for your patients, the right patient engagement software can make it a whole lot simpler. 

After all, your engagement strategies are only as good as the tools used to make and display them. 

Create dynamic display content in your doctor's office 

Your staff members work hard to create the best patient experience possible. But we all know many patients may take more time than usual to ask questions or seek clarification about basic processes or procedures. 

That’s where UPshow’s digital engagement software can step in to keep your patients informed and up to date. 

By utilizing your TV screens and monitors, our content creation tools with Canva integration, including pre-designed templates, can help you do all of the following and more:

  • Display essential announcements, such as holiday hours, closings, new staff hires and additional services.
  • Promote lesser-utilized treatment options.
  • Announce community partnerships.
  • Highlight your social media channels to encourage continuing patient education and a patient-centric community.
  • Showcase mindfulness tips and practices to promote a stress-free waiting-room experience (and lifestyle).

Do it all with the right patient engagement software

Every patient is unique. Some will arrive at their appointment with a list of questions ready while others just want to get it over with as quickly as possible. 

You can meet all of your patients’ needs if you use the right patient-engagement software in your waiting room. Here’s how:

Elevate your patients’ waiting room experience with UPshow

You spend limited time with your patients on their healthcare journey, making it that much more important to make every minute count. 

Incorporating opportunities for better engagement and an ideal patient experience —starting with your waiting room — is the best way to do just that.

UPshow’s on-premise digital marketing cloud software will allow you to offer customized, informative and engaging content every minute they’re in your waiting room. We welcome you to sign-up for our risk-free demo, so we can help you improve patient engagement in your waiting room.