Last month when I was at my Ob-Gyn’s office, lying down on the exam table, my legs secured into the table’s metal stirrups, I had this conversation with my sweet doctor while she was doing her business:
Me: What do you think about these stirrups?
Doctor: Well… you’d think they would’ve been redesigned by now. I’ve almost taken on that project myself.
Me: Yeah… these were definitely NOT designed by a woman.
Doctor: So, you’re a designer… what’s the one thing you’d recommend changing in this room to make patients feel more relaxed?
Me: Hmm… that’s a good one.
Besides sending these stirrups to the junk yard and replacing them with wider cushy feel good supported ones, upholstered and cushioned with the softest material imaginable, that also massage your legs while on the table….
…it would definitely have to be the lighting.
I went on to share how the overhead recessed, cool spectrum flourescent light fixtures not only were outdated and unnattractive, they (more importantly) have been known to induce headaches, eye strain and depression.
And because of the overwhelmingly negative effects this type of lighting has on human beings, they have been banned in healthcare facilities across Germany.
So check out the lighting in your healthcare practice.
Specifically, look at the light bulbs you are using and if they are cool spectrum compact fluorescents, remove them now, stomp on them like you just got married at a Jewish wedding (kidding!) and send them to be recycled.
Replace them with warm artificial lighting (LED’s, cf’s or dare I say incandescents), which has been shown by a 1992 study to foster collaboration, reduce avoidance behavior and conflict among your team members, patients and other human beings you work with.
More fun and easily digestible design prescriptions for your healthcare practice next time.