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The Wicked Problem of Waiting Rooms: It’s About People, Not Process

Whether it’s an Emergency Department or a dentist’s office or an ICU, the waiting room is one of the few spaces common to almost every healthcare setting, and healthcare designers have a wealth of experience in conceiving this space. However, once built, the waiting room continues to be a major problem area in terms of patient and family experience, as well as organizational efficiency. Healthcare organizations struggle to accommodate high patient volumes and a variety of acuity levels, while patients and families deal with a roller-coaster of emotions, long wait times, and lack of privacy. The vast majority of Evidence-Based Design research on the topic of waiting room design is based in case studies, which provide little generalizable evidence for further application.

This webinar will focus on the current state of the spaces we design for waiting, and will pose the question: “What does a waiting area need to be?” Several examples will be presented of successful designs that provide a positive experience for patients, their families, and staff. Finally, a design checklist for consideration during the design process will leave the audience with a concrete set of solutions to include in their next waiting room design.