5 Trends in Medical Office Design

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.