Interior Design for Small Clinical Practices

An old saying goes like this, “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression”. This applies perfectly for clinical practices, when it comes to retaining patients and sustaining reputation.

Healthcare facilities range from small and simple medical clinics to large and complex establishments. Irrespective of the size, overall efficiency and workflow in a clinical practice is also affected by the architecture, aesthetics, technology and furnishings. Certain factors such as lighting, basic amenities, finishes and other elements play an important role in retaining patients and optimizing efficiency and patient care. Moreover, an aesthetically pleasing facility defines the ability of the clinic to provide perceived quality of care.

Challenges faced by Small Clinical Practices

Some of the basic challenges faced by small clinical practices are the shortage of trained and qualified workforce, capacity, patient safety, technological advancements and patient satisfaction, as well as reimbursements and care for the uninsured. It is a fact that patients return to the same clinic over and again, only when they are pleased with the factors such as costs, accessibility, quality of service, and quality of medical care.

Importance of Healthcare Interior Design

In an attempt to overcome the challenges associated with retaining patients in small clinical practices, interior designers aim to transform spaces into a more pleasing environments that are flexible, comfortable, clean and sophisticated. Interior spaces in clinical practices are required to be flexible enough to adapt with the rapidly changing technological advancements.

Cleanliness is a basic feature of any therapeutic environment, hence, it is essential to create a well-coordinated and integrated environment that is holistic, preventative, and promotes health and wellness. An intelligent design helps facilitate maintenance and reduce overall life-cycle (planning to product) costs, and eventually contributes to significant returns on a relatively small initial investment.

Design Strategy for Small Clinical Practices

  1. Identification of problems that are relevant to clinical practice, and planning affordable design strategies.
  2. Design flexible diagnostic and treatment rooms that are easily adaptable to technological up-gradations while expanding services to replace old infrastructure.
  3. Use of an integrated multi-disciplinary approach to help maximize efforts and outcomes.
  4. Define aims and assess outcomes based on a patient and family centered approach towards clinical design.
  5. Explore cost-effective design options that could result in multi-year investment returns.
  6. Use the expertise and influence of the hospital-staff to create innovative designs that contribute to sustainable patient retention.
  7. Think in the patients’ perspective when choosing lighting, sound and other design elements.


The US healthcare system is already under constant pressure with respect to pricing and competition for both patients and staff. Rapid technological advancements in the healthcare sector are in need of a more sophisticated equipment and techniques. Hence, limited construction and design costs while not compromising on quality standards, and responsiveness to customers is the need of the hour.

Reference: Whole Building Design Guide, American Academy of Family Physicians

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