How do we integrate research methodology and community feedback into waiting room interventions?
Quantifying the Impact of Design on Patient Experience
What We Did
We leveraged a waiting room redesign opportunity for Washington, DC’s Unity Health Care to test the impact that different furniture and design configurations can have on patient, visitor, and employee satisfaction. By reviewing academic literature on everything from technology and evidence-based design to community health and wellbeing, we found several standard waiting room features that had not yet been substantially investigated. These features became our areas of focus: seating arrangement, seating choice, artwork, amenities, cultural relevancy, visibility, line of sight, and wayfinding.
Our research included three main phases: pre-occupancy assessment, design interventions, and post-occupancy evaluation. In pre-occupancy stages, we used both self-reported information and objective measurement tools in formulating what our design should achieve. We issued a staff survey to gauge baseline feelings toward the waiting room with a Likert scale, which asked level of agreement on statements such as “the waiting room feels warm and inviting.” The customer base of Unity's Brentwood Health Center was included in interactive exercises to help us understand their aesthetic preferences and inter-linkages with the Brentwood community through art. We used behavioral mapping to determine communication patterns and seating preferences. Sunbrella, a textile manufacturer, partnered with Gensler to finance the redesign and assist with the waiting room research.
As a tool for evaluating how best to redesign the waiting room, we established hypotheses that predicted how each feature could enhance communication, comfortable waiting, staff happiness, and design.
Tama Duffy Day, Bonny Slater, Kim Brown, Lucy Arledge, Nick Watkins, Kevin Todd, Carina Mohammed, Michael Crawford, Unity Health Care, Louise Russell, Interior Elixir