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How to Make Hospital Waiting Rooms More Inviting

Many people find waiting rooms in hospitals to be anxiety-inducing places to be. Waiting rooms are  often cold, sterile and uninviting. However, no rule says your hospital’s waiting room has to fit this mold. 

Instead, you can get creative to make your hospital or retail health care clinic’s waiting room a place that’s inviting and as enjoyable as possible for your guests. To do so, you’ll likely need to make some small changes.

That’s where we come in. Keep reading to learn:

  • 10 ways you can make your hospital waiting room more inviting
  • Why digital signage is a must for your waiting room
  • Why UPshow is the right solution to power your digital signage

Why it’s important for waiting rooms in hospitals to be more inviting

A recent study found that unpleasant waiting rooms in hospitals were the most-cited reason that patients said they would never come back to that healthcare facility. That shows just how important it is to provide your patients with a comfortable waiting room experience.

Beyond that, your waiting room is often the first impression that a patient has of your hospital. If they have a terrible waiting room experience, then it’s unlikely that they’ll ever have a favorable view of your hospital. That’s true even if you end up providing them with the best care possible.

First impressions are everything, and your hospital’s first impression on a patient is its waiting room. That’s why it’s worth your time to make your waiting room an enjoyable place to be.

10 ways to make your hospital waiting room more inviting

Choose convenient waiting room seating designs

For many people, hospitals are the opposite of a cozy environment. They represent a sterile, stiff environment that feels uninviting. But there are some steps you can take to address this problem. One way to do it is to improve your seating.

Improving your seating means investing in higher-quality chairs that your patients won’t want to leave. It could also mean rearranging how you have your chairs organized.

Some hospitals have been successful with creating small group seating pods and providing additional storage space within those pods. This allows families to spread out and get more comfortable than would be possible if they were sitting in a large seating arrangement.

Make the waiting process an active one

Time tends to move by at a much faster rate when we have something to focus our attention on. Give your patients something to do besides sit quietly and focus on how long they’ve been waiting.

There are a few different options to try here. You can lay out engaging magazines for them to browse through. Or you could set up iPads throughout your waiting room with games loaded on them. But post-COVID, your patients may want contactless entertainment options and hospital waiting room games. Consider using  digital signage displays to share trivia questions or important practice information.

Display warm and inviting signage in your hospital waiting rooms

The signage that you display in your patient waiting room can set the tone for your patients’ entire visits. Choose warm and inviting displays to create a sense of calm and easiness in your hospital waiting area.

You can also use displays that you know will resonate with your patients. For example, you might display advertisements for community events or a local artist’s work. There are a lot of different options here and many of them will make your waiting room feel more inviting.

Offer healthy snacks to patients sitting in the waiting room

You can also make your waiting room stand out by offering healthy snacks to your patients and their guests. Think about it. Most of the time when you visit a hospital, you only have access to unhealthy vending machine options. 

Hospital waiting rooms will immediately feel more like home patients if you offer them healthy, fresh snacks that boost their mood while they wait. You don’t have to spend a ton of money to do this either. Simply offering coffee or tea and a healthy alternative like granola bars should do the trick.

Keep your patients and their guests entertained with video content

A medical waiting room will feel much more inviting if your guests see that you’re playing entertaining video content when they walk into it. There are a few different ways to do this. You could use standard TV but that risks inadvertently playing offensive content or running advertisements for the competition.

A better idea is to utilize OTT streaming entertainment channels broadcast through your digital signage. UPshow offers more than 500 channels of regional sports, news and TV shows to choose from.

Even better, you’ll get to control the ads that play in-between the content that you display. This makes it super easy to advertise your hospital’s products or services and also serves as an in-system referral board. It’s also an opportunity to share important health and safety information with your patients and their guests sitting in the waiting room in a way that they’ll pay attention to.

Use check-in kiosks in hospital waiting areas

Check-in kiosks can do wonders for your hospital’s efficiency. They allow patients to check themselves in without having to wait in line or fill out any burdensome forms. You can also use these to collect copays, provide translations for forms or make it easy for patients to  sign consent forms.

Some hospitals have taken their check-in kiosks a step further as well. For example, the Petaluma Health Center asks its patients a series of questions about their income, food security, housing and other factors after they check in on a kiosk. 

This is a great way for the hospital to generate data that informs its team about the lives of people who seek out healthcare services in the region. The goal is to use this information to provide services that are more targeted to the needs of the average patient in the area.

Add a separate children’s play area

Hospital waiting rooms can be tough for everyone. But they can be especially challenging places for children to be. One solution to this is creating a separate children’s play area.

By doing so, you’ll give kids a place where they can be loud and move around to get out their excess energy. You’ll also give patients who are looking for a quieter waiting room experience a reprieve from the noise that restless children tend to cause.

Introduce your care team

Hospitals are really just a collection of people who want to help their patients take care of their health. But for patients, hospitals can often feel like a lifeless institution. This feeling can impact how a patient feels while they’re sitting in your waiting room.

One way to address the problem is to start introducing your patients to your staff members in the waiting room. You can do that by displaying pictures of your care team along with some information about them on your digital signage displays. 

Doing so will help your patients put some faces and names to your hospital, which may make them feel more comfortable while waiting in it.

Display your wait times in the patient waiting room

One of the most frustrating aspects of waiting is not knowing how long you’ll have to do so. This is especially true in emergency waiting rooms. You can decrease patient frustration and anxiety by setting and managing expectations around wait times. 

Consider displaying your hospital’s current wait times on your digital signage. By doing so, you’ll also free up your staff from having to repeatedly answer questions about the wait time from patients.

Offer free WiFi and charging stations in your medical waiting rooms

Many of your guests will bring their own forms of entertainment to the doctor waiting room. You can make it much easier for them to use their devices by offering free WiFi and numerous charging stations. Doing so will allow your guests to pass the time in much the same way that they would be doing at home.

Invest in digital signage to help the people in your hospital waiting room

As you might have noticed, many of the suggestions in the previous section involved using digital signage. If you’re serious about improving the quality of your hospital’s waiting room, then investing in digital signage could be just what you need to do to make it happen.

Digital signage makes it easy to:

  • Keep your guests entertained with live content
  • Introduce your care team
  • Install interactive check-in kiosks
  • Display warm and inviting signage
  • And so much more

In this way, digital signage enables you to improve your hospital waiting room with a single solution instead of having to use multiple. 

UPshow can power your digital signage solution

UPshow makes digital signage software that’s ideal for hospital waiting rooms. With our service, you can unlock the full power of your screens so that it’s easy to turn your hospital’s waiting room into a better place to be.

But don’t take our word for it. Consider trying UPshow yourself to see how beneficial it can be. The quickest way to do so is by reaching out to us to set up a custom demo, during which we’ll show you exactly how your hospital can benefit from our digital signage solution.
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