To remain competitive in the healthcare industry, medical practitioners must demonstrate their commitment to safety, patient comfort, energy efficiency, and a high standard of medical care. Below are five trends in medical office design that enable healthcare providers to illustrate their dedication to high quality patient care.
1) Installation of LED lighting throughout the office. Medical offices are increasingly replacing their halogen and incandescent lights with LED (Light Emitting Diode) lighting.
There are two key benefits to LED lighting. First, there are the cost savings. LED light lighting helps medical practitioners reduce monthly expenses by using less energy. Moreover, they have a longer lifespan and need to be replaced less frequently. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LED lights use less than one-third of the energy of halogen lights and last 8 to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. In fact, many medical grade LED lights have a life expectancy of 50,000 hours.
Second, there are safety benefits to using LED lights. LEDs are made with epoxy lenses, which is sturdier than glass, reducing the likelihood of a bulb breaking and become a safety hazard. They also do not get as hot as incandescent lights, which reduces the risk of burns if the skin comes into contact with them or combustion.
Medical offices are now using LED lighting in the following areas:
- Mobile LED lights in patient examination rooms
- Dual head ceiling mount LED lights in procedure rooms and operating rooms
- Portable LED headlights for oral and plastic surgeons
- Parking lots and garages
2) Heated examination tables and patient warmers to keep chilly patients toasty. Medical offices can now purchase surgical tables and examination tables that have built-in heating elements that can be activated to facilitate surgical procedures and help keep patients warm.
Other medical warming devices are also appearing with greater frequency, such as fluid warmers and blanket warmers. Blanket warmers are especially popular among medical practitioners who treat elderly patients, who often find cooler temperatures harder to endure.
3) State-of-the-art waiting areas. Medical practitioners seeking to increase patient comfort should note that patients usually spend more time in the waiting room than they do in the examination room. Patients spend an average of 87 minutes at a doctor's office but less than a fourth of this time with a physician, so it is critical to focus on patient comfort in the waiting area.
Below are some of the improvements that medical offices are implementing:
- Free Wi-Fi to allow patients to make use of downtime by browsing the internet or completing work-related tasks
- Play areas to keep children occupied
- Large flat-screen TVs strategically placed for patient viewing
- Waiting areas with a modern décor and comfortable furniture
4) MRI-safe rooms and devices. MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) procedures are an increasingly common method of diagnosing and treating patients. Protecting patients and staff while promoting the accuracy of the procedure requires physicians to invest in MRI-safe medical equipment and furniture. These may include:
- MRI-compatible patient vital signs monitors
- MRI-safe infusion pumps and I.V. poles
- MRI-compatible anesthesia machines
- MRI-safe linen carts and instrument stands
5) Use of innovative wall systems to regulate temperature, have a quiet more comfortable environment and promote energy efficiency.
Medical offices need exterior walls that combine insulation to save energy and an air barrier to eliminate uncomfortable drafts.
Noise reduction is also an important consideration. With the rising cost of land, medical practitioners have limited options about where to establish their offices. They also need to be in a location that is easily accessible to patients. As a result, many medical offices are located near bus routes, busy roads and highways. With all the nearby traffic noise, it’s impossible to keep the medical office as quiet as it should be without the right kind of exterior wall.
The walls should also be strong enough to stand up to damaging storms, while taking less time to build.
The new Bautex Wall System was designed for the needs of medical office buildings. You can learn more here.
You should always work with architects who know the needs of your industry and your area. Click here for a directory of architectural firms in Texas that have experience in medical offices.