NHBPM – Redesign A Doctor’s Office

Welcome. This post is part of the WEGO Health National Health Blog Post Month (NHBPM) challenge for November, 2012.

This is very much a fantasy office that I’m thinking of, and specifically, it’s a fantasy waiting room. I don’t spend a lot of time with doctors. I spend what sometimes feels like eons waiting to see the doctors.

I wish doctor’s offices had comfortable waiting rooms. This is the type of waiting room many of us know.

(Image via wsj.com)

Sitting with the sick, huddled masses on chairs that are in rows and along the walls – with the obligatory fish tank that is supposed to lower stress levels – is not my idea of comfort on the best of days. When you are dealing with a chronic illness and you are in pain or feeling weak, it sometimes takes every fibre of your being to not scream and cry. Especially when the doctor is running behind schedule.

The waiting area would take comfortable and relaxing elements from bed and breakfasts and hotels. There would be an indoor area, an outdoor area and an atrium. The waiting room would have comfortable couches, chairs and La-Z-Boy chairs if you would like to, or need to, lie down. There would be an outdoor area so that children could have a place to run around and an atrium area so that you could “get away from it all” and relax.

(Image via vrbo.com)

(Image via hoteltelnet.hu)

(Image via guardian.co.uk)

Boothe House Bed & Breakfast: Second Floor Atrium
(Image via tripadvisor.com)

And, in my fantasy, everyone has health insurance and there’s  always enough doctors, nurses and assistants. There is no shortage of staff, people aren’t overworked and everything runs smoothly. If your doctor is running behind schedule and you don’t need to see your doctor, one of the other doctors or nurses will see you so that you don’t have to wait.

If you need to see a doctor and your doctor is sick or on holidays, one of the other doctors will help you because there are enough doctors for all! And there is extended and weekend hours so that if you need to see a doctor during off hours, all of your medical information is there. You don’t have to go to another doctor’s office and see someone who is not familiar with you or your health.

I want the wait to be as relaxing as possible for the patients and everyone accompanying the patients. These are the little extras I would like.

A coat check area that would also look after shoes and boots on rainy and wintery days.

Separate areas for people who have viruses to help not spread the colds and flues but who still need to see the doctor.

A media room with TVs with headphones, up-to-date books, magazines and tablets.

A separate, sound proof room for small kids with workers to watch the kids.

(Image via gundluth.org)

A masseuse so that you can get a quick head and neck massage.

(Image via cnyhealingarts.com)

Heating pads.

Blankets (warmed on damp and cold days) and slippers.

Snack area with healthy foods and drinks.

If you choose to wait and see your doctor, you get a pager. You can then go to one of the other areas and you will get paged when you are the next patient to see your doctor.

Did I mention there would be a masseuse?

(Image via pithersyardclinic.org)



  1. Ahhhhhhhh! There have been times that I just wanted to lay down on the floor in the waiting room because I was so weak. And I love the snack area idea. Maybe someday huh?

    1. I went to the hospital for a test that required me to come back after lunch so they could put radioactive dye in me for a kidney scan. They redo the test to compare to the one taken earlier in the day. I had to take a pill an hour before the second procedure that causes some people to have lower blood pressure and pass out. They had a doctor check your bp a few times in the hour to make sure it’s OK. As a person who was weak and lightheaded to begin with, I asked for a place to lie down for the hour.

      They put me on a stretcher. In a hallway. For the whole hour.

      A communal room for people who are sick, in pain or weak from illnesses where we could lie on an exam table doesn’t seem to be too much to ask. The only thing I can think of is that the planners of yesteryear thought the baby boomers would be living long, healthy lives and didn’t need to consider such things. I wish that were true.

  2. I was having a drug interaction when I was at my doctor’s office. I kept saying, just put me in a chair, and this will pass. They left me on one of those upright examing chairs. Of course, with my balance even more off from the meds, I slide onto the floor.
    Eventually, they gave me a chair to sit in, and once the interaction had passed, I left. I wish my dr. and her staff had listened to me. What would have been an extended “sitdown” turned itno an ugly experience for all involved.
    Your plan for a waiting room is wonderful! Now, to convince the medical profession that this design is good for the patients as well as the staff.

    1. Well, you know how it is. They are educated professionals, we only take the medications day after day. Hopefully, they are the exception and not the rule. I must admit, I’ve been pretty lucky if I started feeling dizzy or faint.

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