What makes a well-designed waiting room?

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    (AP Images)

    (AP Images)

    A former designer of waiting rooms for hospitals and medical offices shares the secret to a good waiting room. 

    Natural light, views to nature, comforting colors and artwork. Jennifer Mishkin says these are key components of a well-designed waiting room.  

    Mishkin is associate director of interiors at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.  In a past job, she designed waiting rooms for hospitals and medical offices.  

    She says many waiting rooms today are inspired by hospitality and retreats.  The idea is to create an oasis for patients, something that will help them forget about why they’re there.  She says a top trend right now is to incorporate lots of wood, stone and water elements in the room’s design, as part of an effort to soften the environment and make patients feel connected to nature. 

    Mishkin says it was within the past 10 years that healthcare providers started paying attention to patients’ needs in the waiting room. She attributes the shift partially to the competitve nature of health systems today and the need to keep patients coming back. 

    Mishkin says the secret to a well-designed room is making sure all elements blend well. 

    “You may notice that there’s a pretty piece of artwork or a nice view out the window, but there shouldnt be one element that dominates the waiting room experience. It should really all come together very carefully. When you notice something, that’s usually because it’s done wrong.”

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