The doctor-patient relationship is considered as one of the most important foundations in delivering better healthcare outcomes. Patients generally “feel good” about an encounter when their doctor has empathetically met their needs and expectations. More options being available today has increased patients expectations of their doctors and healthcare institutions. While achieving a higher level of satisfaction with patients is a challenging and on-going task, relatively small things can make a big difference. The easiest way is to make your office more welcoming and comfortable to your patients.

Here are a few must have things in the doctor’s office besides your basic diagnostic tools:

1. Tissues

When a patient receives bad news, handing tissues will certainly be appreciated. As simple as it seems, proper mannerism and being courteous will make you more dependable and trustworthy as a doctor.

2. Candy/chocolate bar

This is not only necessary for a pediatrician, but to others as well. Such as in a situation where a single parent comes with his/her child. A candy will divert the child’s attention and allow you time to have a proper consultation with the parent.

3. Personal picture

A picture with your family or friends may help to humanise you and make you appear more approachable. It also helps to reduce white coat syndrome.

4. Additional chairs

More often than not, the whole family will come, even if the sick one is only the father or the mother. Adding a few chairs in your office makes it more convenient for the patient and their family members.

5. Desktop/tablet

We live in a technologically advanced world and doctors should take full advantage of it. Having a desktop or tablet in your office makes an explanation more informative and easy to understand. You also can show your patient a few websites or video links for further reading about their condition.

6. Notebook/Journal

Keeping a journal or notebook of your patient helps you personally keep track of their progress. It helps you to stay organised and efficient especially if follow-ups are expected from the patient.

7. Medical books with illustrations or charts

From time to time, it is easier to show them the disease flow in picture form rather than explaining it word by word. Patients do not understand medical jargon and they will end up getting confused.

8. Potted plants to add some greenery

Indoor plants not only brighten up your office, but it produces more natural and cleaner indoor air. A study conducted by Dr. Virginia Lohr of Washington State University concluded that plants can reduce workplace stress and enhance productivity. So, it works both ways in benefiting both your patients and yourself.

9. Healthcare magazines and brochures

Healthcare magazines in a doctor’s office provide patients with the latest on what is happening in healthcare. By reading them, they are made more aware of current occurrences in healthcare and disease prevention. Doctors can also educate patients on certain infectious diseases, preventive measures or government health programs. On top of that, if patients have a question or require further explanation, they can refer to you as an authority figure.

10. Infographic charts

Infographics of common diseases or simple preventive measures that can easily be done by patients can be mounted on the wall. It serves to promote general health awareness among the community.

Of course, while all these will improve your patients' experiences, the most important thing doctors should take note of is to reduce the long waits at your office. Even if your office is very well-done and comfortable, but the waiting time is ridiculously long, that in itself will put off patients. Keeping your patients informed of waiting times can not only reduce their frustration but also makes them feel that their time is valued.

Together with the points mentioned above, an efficient office where tasks are appropriately delegated will ensure that your patients will have a good experience the next time they visit your office. By having a good patient experience, it strengthens their loyalty and that can ultimately lead to higher profitability for your practice. MIMS

Read more:
7 ways to build a productive doctor-patient relationship
Doctor-Patient relationship in the era of social media
A patient’s experience: How long does it take to consult a doctor?