Clinics need to be designed to optimize the patient experience. The clinic designer should create an environment that ensures a smooth flow of movement from the lobby area or registration desks to the waiting rooms, and finally the exam rooms. Obviously, the design of the clinic will depend on the nature of the services it offers. The perfect design can make the difference between a pleasant and a bad experience for the patient. Additionally, it can affect the effectiveness of the staff, healthcare providers and doctors. Therefore, designers need to maintain a balance between the aesthetics and the functionality aspects when planning the interiors.
With the rapid pace at which technology advancements take place in the healthcare sector, the services offered by a clinic can change drastically over time. Thus, a well-designed clinic should have flexibility in its design so that it is adaptable to expansions or improvements in the future. An architect or interior designer who has experience in designing clinics and healthcare facilities will be not only aware of the recent trends in the industry that will impact the design but also be familiar with the design elements that will contribute towards creating a positive experience for patients.
What are the key attributes to consider for clinic design and architecture?
Since clinic design is aimed at creating a pleasant experience for the patients, there are several aspects that one needs to consider:
Accessibility – One of the main considerations in clinic design is to ensure that patients can easily access the facility. Usually, there are regulations to be adhered to so that even differently abled patients can access the clinic without any difficulty. Similarly, the access to different areas should be clearly signposted so that patients can easily navigate the area as they proceed for registration, appointments or consultations.
Ambiance – Besides being aesthetically appealing so that it reduces the stress of the patient, a clinic should present a hygienic and clean environment. Therefore, the materials used for the interior design of the clinic should have anti-microbial or sterile properties as well as durable finishes. The materials should also be easy to maintain and clean so that it has a sanitary environment. Additionally, one of the challenging aspects of clinic design is that it should offer a cheerful ambiance in the common areas but privacy and a sterile environment in the exam rooms.
Comfort – The waiting areas and exam rooms should have comfortable seating and layouts that not only reduce the anxiety of the patients but also have enough space for moving around.
Efficiency – A clinic has a lot of support infrastructure behind the scenes, which allows it to function efficiently. This includes storage, workrooms, lockers, rest rooms and other amenities, which need to be incorporated at the design stage to ensure that the work flow is efficient.
Safety and security – For ensuring a safe environment for the patients, clinics should have power backup, especially because of the advanced medical equipment that is used. Additionally, fire safety compliances should be met both in terms of providing an accessible pathway for evacuation in case of an emergency as well as the use of fire-retardant materials for the interior and the furniture.
Flexibility – As the number of services offered at the clinic increases over time, it will need to expand or modify the existing design to accommodate the new technology or services. Thus, clinic architecture and interior design should be planned with a certain amount of flexibility that allows for seamless expansion.
Sustainability – Clinics must be well lit so that they have a cheerful ambiance but not at the cost of sustainability. The design should aim to provide energy efficiency by optimising natural light and supplementing it with artificial sources in areas that need to be brightened. Air quality is another significant element to consider when designing the clinic. The materials used in clinic architecture and design should be free of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) besides being hygienic.
What are the challenges of clinic interior design?
The clinic should create a favourable experience for the patients while simultaneously ensuring the efficiency of workflow for the caregivers and doctors. While aesthetics is significant for enhancing the patient experience, functionality is essential to make the workplace more efficient for healthcare professionals. One of the primary challenges of clinic design is to find a balance between these two requirements.
What are the factors that affect the design of a clinic?
The design of a clinic is dependent on several factors:
Location: The area where the clinic is located plays a vital role in the overall design of the facility. A clinic in an urban area might be in a multi-use building, which restricts the modifications that can be made to the interiors. Additionally, the clinic should be easily accessible from the parking through clear signposts. Similarly, in a rural area, if the clinic is in a standalone building set back from the highway, the access road should be designed to make it easy for the patients to get to the clinic.
Size: The area available for the design influences the layout of the clinic as well as its ambiance. A large space will have more area available for the waiting area and reception, whereas, in a smaller clinic, the design will need to be more efficient so that it merges the reception and the waiting area. The size of the furniture will also depend on the area available for seating.
The scope of services: The type of equipment in the clinic is dependent on the range of services offered. A general practitioner's clinic might not need a large allocation of space for equipment compared to a multi-speciality clinic.
Target audience: Since patients are the target audience at clinics, their profile will influence the design and layout. In a paediatrician's clinic, since children are the patients, the furniture as well as the waiting area should be designed so that it has customized furniture in smaller sizes as well as an activity area that keeps them busy while they wait.
How does one find a suitable professional for clinic architecture and design?
The process of designing the architecture and interiors of a clinic is quite different from that of other commercial buildings. While certain factors such as compliances for fire safety and security might be common to both, in clinics, hygiene is a key factor that needs to be implemented into the design. This is the reason that it's better to consult a clinic design specialist who has experience in working on several healthcare projects.
The advantage of working with a professional experienced in clinic design is that he can provide the right advice regarding the type of materials that are best suited for the interiors besides giving suggestions on how to tackle issues related to safety, security and maintenance and updating you on the latest trends in clinic design. While word-of-mouth recommendations are the first step in the process, it's recommended that you visit the facility or view photographs of the clinic design projects completed by the professional to get an idea of the quality of his work.
On homify, you can find images of several clinics designed and constructed by architects and interior designers registered on our portal. Once you browse through the photographs and identify a few professionals whose work suits your requirements, you can fill up the contact form online to receive a free consultation from them.