Like many of us, we’re carefully reviewing budgets for every line item. However, this is a good time to put into place some relatively simple ideas to enhance the patient experience. Service is not costly and updating your environment can be a minimal expense if done right. An “experience audit” costs little but can yield great information on how your patients are treated and how they view your organization.

Create a more healing atmosphere.

Clean and re-fresh your facilities surroundings and entries in a way to be more inviting and to suggest quality and healing, comfort and care. Pay attention to your facility’s environment. Is it warm and inviting? Do your facilities speak to and promote healing?

For just the cost of a new coat of paint, some new art work or re-upholstered waiting room chairs you can create a welcoming, less stressful atmosphere that can create a positive feeling and might even speed up the recovery process. A study commissioned by the Center for Health Design found that patients surrounded by artwork, floral arrangements, colorful walls and furniture, and an outside view actually recovered three-quarters of a day faster and needed fewer painkillers than those with dreary surroundings.

Treat your patients as guests.

In this day and age, when patients and their caregivers often have a healthcare choice, everyone pays attention to how well they’re treated and how they feel in your environment.

We have all seen the array of emotions patients can have when they arrive: fear, anxiety and confusion. At one of our projects, TRIA Orthopedic Center in Bloomington, Minnesota, we took a cue from the hospitality industry and included a concierge concept in the patient experience, from the moment they walk in to the time they exit the parking lot.

The concierge approach welcomes patients and caregivers when they arrive, offers direction, or simply helps the patient to an elevator, offering reassurance and care before the medical procedure begins.