“Today’s exam rooms are crippling physicians’ ability to develop relationships of mutual trust and understand with patients,” states Dr. Karen Betten M.D.
Betten is one of 35 healthcare providers from around the U.S. who were observed and interviewed by the Steelcase Health Workspace Futures Team in a recent study to explore the relationship between doctors and patients within traditional exam spaces.
The study yielded five key insights about the industry’s current examination-room environments: lack of eye-to-eye communication between providers and patients; traditional postures that reinforce hierarchy; technology puts up barriers rather than increase efficiency; slow and awkward transitions between exam and consulting activities; and little ergonomic support for providers.
To solve for the issues identified, Steelcase Health posits the exam room needs to be designed for mutual participation between the physician, patient, and present family members. This concept requires relationships supported by eye-to-eye contact; egalitarian presence with the ability to bring others into the conversation and incorporate the right technology and tools when needed; as well as collaboration and shared decision making, bolstered by access for all parties to share and view information.
At this year’s NeoCon 2016, Steelcase Health debuted Node with ShareSurface, as a major step in the direction toward a true partner-oriented exam-room experience. The swivel-seated clinician chair features ergonomic design and a built-in arm with a surface that rotates 360 degrees. Allowing doctors a table for mobile technology, the chair fosters eye-to-eye sight-lines, offers physical support for the provider, and facilitates an equitable doctor-patient relationship. For more information, visit steelcase.com.