This article was written by the Steelcase Health team.
Going to the doctor is one of the most personal and vulnerable experiences we have. Patients want to connect with their doctors and develop a relationship of mutual trust and understanding. At the same time, doctors desire to be consultative, expert guides. These are relationships that require trust, understanding and education, qualities that take time to build and strengthen.
Today’s exam room is designed for the old model of healthcare.
The number one goal of a patient, family, doctor interaction is health and the way we get that is through engagement. Yet the environment can support or prevent that from happening. Today’s exam room is designed for the old model of healthcare. They were designed for the physician to perform physical exams, minimal charting or typing on a computer and to support the presence, but not inclusion, of the family.
Steelcase Health research recently revealed five specific ways the exam room is failing doctors, patients and family members today:
- Lack of eye-to-eye communication. Large, bulky computers and static furniture is often a barrier to being able to look a patient in the eyes.
- Traditional postures that reinforce hierarchy. Traditional exam room set the stage for the doctor being on one level and the patient on the other.
- Technology becomes a barrier. Computers are often positioned for the doctor to view the screen and not the patient, creating a physical barrier between doctors and their patients.
- Slow and awkward transitions. Static computers and immobile furnishings hinder the physician’s ability to transition quickly between consultation, inputting data, sharing information, ordering labs or prescriptions and performing a physical exam.
- Little ergonomic support. Doctors are forced to stand at carts with computers to chart or sit on small stools and lean against a wall or cabinetry to talk to a patient, all negatively impacting their physical comfort.
The number one goal of a patient, family, doctor interaction is health and the way we get that is through engagement.
If current spaces set the doctor up for a poor experience, how can the exam room change to set up doctors, patients and family members for success? What if patients came in and sat down on a comfortable recliner to talk face to face with their doctor? And what if that doctor sat beside them, their laptop with them, and they talked together, shoulder-to-shoulder about what’s going on?
To solve for these needs, Steelcase Health research reveals the exam room needs to be designed for mutual participation, a partnership between the physician, patient and family. And as a result of these findings, today Steelcase Health is introducing Node with ShareSurface, a clinician chair designed for partnership.
A swivel-seated chair enables clear, eye-to-eye sight lines between patient and physician when using mobile technology such as laptops or tablets and a built-in, movable arm with a surface that swivels 360 degrees. This allows doctors to input data about the patient during the visit and share information on the screen with patients and families while maintaining a connection with them. All together, these functionalities lend to the ability of Node with ShareSurface to provide a dramatically enhanced interaction between physicians, patients and family members.
When exam rooms allow for eye-to-eye contact, information sharing and quick transitions for everyone involved in care delivery – physicians, patients and families – we will have better health.
Node with ShareSurface will be available fall 2016.
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