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The role of the reception area in health care

1 November 1996


Background: Many recommendations are made in the journals by practitioners and consultants regarding what patients desire in the reception area. However, the literature does not reflect the views of patients. Our research targeted the opinions of patients, and the discoveries reveal what doctors and designers do not. This research surveyed the Portland/Vancouver metropolitan area evaluating the importance of specific comfort factors, and opinions applicable to the role of the reception area in the office of a health care professional.

Methods: Three hundred forty participant responses were tabulated to determine the level of importance of certain amenities in a health care provider's reception area. The thirty-four factors were ranked in order of importance.

Results: Forty-six percent of the sample claim that the reception area does play a role in their choice of health care provider, and twenty-nine percent state they would be willing to pay more to have these factors provided.

Conclusion: Our findings reveal that patients rank clean restrooms, immediate access to the receptionist, controlled temperature and comfortable furniture as top priorities. Least important factors according to our sample include aquariums, refreshments and television.


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