Inside the patient journey
In its 2018 ‘Health of the Nation’ report, the RACGP noted that a typical GP spends an average of 17
minutes with a patient. Independent research suggests it is less than this – about 14 minutes.
Either way, most patients probably spend more time in the waiting room than they do in their
consultation with a healthcare professional.
Upon opening the front door, a patient will want to feel welcome, comfortable and in control. Left
alone in a waiting room however, the patient starts to take-in their surroundings and begins to pick
up sensory cues, both consciously and unconsciously. Studies have shown that up to 95% of what
influences a consumer’s conscious choice is the unconscious interpretation of these clues.
They look around the waiting room – the layout, their personal space, how clean the waiting room
is, how well maintained it is, the signage, the notice boards, the magazines, temperature, noise,
lighting, how the staff interact with other patients… All the time the sensory cues are helping them
make an assessment of the practice and the quality of their experience.
As researcher Louis Carbone noted, “The tangible attributes of a product or service have far less
influence on consumer preferences than the subconscious sensory and emotional elements derived
from the total experience.”
The power of cues
In a 2002 study, researchers demonstrated that people rely on cues in the room to form impressions
of occupants. Individuals craft their physical environments to reflect who they are, and observers
draw inferences about the occupants based on what they see.
After a lengthy stay in a waiting room and before any contact with a healthcare professional, a
patient has already formed an impression about their experience and might enter their consultation
with their head firmly in the negative side of the customer experience ledger.
Given the low tolerance that the modern consumer has for a substandard experience and the
willingness to change service providers in search of a better experience, the waiting room represents
a high-risk environment for a healthcare practice, and practices that don’t aggressively manage
every part of the waiting room experience are potentially surrendering patients to practices that do.
For over 30 years, Levitch Design Australia (LDA)a have been crafting custom, timeless practices.
Dedicated to design and construction excellence, LDA incorporates the principles of good design to
deliver beautifully integrated therapeutic environments.
To create your dream practice, call our team on 1300 11 22 11 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Plan + Build + Grow.