Healthcare facilities have been searching for this answer for quite some time, and finally the wait is over.
Contrary to the typical go-to answers, patients don’t want high-tech healthcare furniture, better food, or even Netflix connected to their patient room televisions. When all is said and done, patients care less about the glitz and glam of healthcare furnishings, and more about their health. Patients simply want better communication.
Let’s cut to the chase – doctors don’t always communicate to patients the way it’s portrayed on Grey’s Anatomy. In the real world, they’re swamped and running around with only a few precious minutes of time to explain conditions, prognosis, and treatment plans to patients. It’s easy to understand why patients wish this would change.
While it seems unlikely that doctors will find more “talk time” in their schedules, improved communication is possible – the relay of information from doctors to nurses is key. For this reason, many hospitals have created office designs based on central collaboration spaces. The University of Minnesota’s Ambulatory Care Center has adopted this office design in their $165 million dollar project set to open in 2016. Titled in many hospitals already as “collision zones,” more interaction between nurses and doctors inevitably occurs in these areas.
Even though technology is changing healthcare, one fact remains the same – patients prefer face-to-face communication above everything. Unfortunately, sometimes the quality of in-person communication is lessened when patients are not equipped with adequate healthcare furniture. Adjustable, mechanical furniture creates less physical work and stress on patients who may find it hard to sit up and have conversations with nurses. OstermanCron’s healthcare furniture manufacturer, Kimball, has designed reclining patient room chairs to create easier mobility and more effective communication.
Before facilities revert to buying lavish products like high tech vending machines and healthcare chairs with heat massagers built in, consider what the customer really wants at the end of the day – better communication. Perhaps more communication training classes for nurses could be implemented, or hospital interiors could be modified to enhance staff communication. For customer satisfaction, it’s plain and simple: put your money where your mouth is.