Many factors outside of the care dentists provide can have a huge impact on patient satisfaction. Among the most influential is wait times. Studies have shown that longer wait times have a significant effect on a patient’s perception of and satisfaction with their care. While it’s in your dental clinic’s best interest to keep wait times to a minimum, it’s not always possible. Patients run behind, delays happens, and people will inevitably be spending anywhere from 10-30 minutes in your waiting room (sometimes with multiple children).
What can a dental clinic do to alleviate the stress patients feel while waiting? Provide them with a waiting room experience that offers them everything they need. What do patients generally want from a waiting room experience?
Patient comfort goes beyond the clinic furniture you buy. While having comfortable places to sit is important, don’t forget about the rest of your waiting room. The atmosphere you setup can change the entire perception of your clinic. It can reduce stress and make longer waits appear less tiring. Dental anxiety is a real problem for many patients, and your waiting room can help counteract the anxiety people feel about going to the dentist.
Consider the lighting of your waiting room. Ambient lighting has been shown to improve mood while harsh, hard lighting can make people anxious. Music also has an effect on mood. Playing soft, melodic music can often help patients relax.
People are generally happy when they have control over a situation and get what they want. At the same time, lack of control often results in anxiety, which is why giving patients a choice while in the waiting area is essential to keeping them happy. If space allows, section off areas of your waiting room to allow for patients to choose whether they want to be in an area with children or in a quiet area where they can read, relax, or get some work done.
Offering a variety of seating to choose from also helps. Include not only single chairs but tables where families can sit and wait together.
Too many waiting rooms offer nothing more than a few chairs and magazines. In the 21st century, much more is needed to entertain the average waiting patient and their children. There are many additions you can make to your waiting room that will provide distractions for waiting guests:
- Toys and play area for children
- Charging stations for mobile devices
- Ipad (tethered to furniture) for patients to use
- Televisions (set to family-friendly programming)
Everything You and Your Patients Need
Crescent Products has all the Dental clinic accessories you need to create the perfect experience for your patients.