Creating a Therapeutic Environment

For a doctor or dentist, patient care should be at the center of every decision, and that means creating a therapeutic environment. Your office is more than a simple chair and routine medical equipment. It’s a place where patients can initiate the healing process.

A patient may be anxious before or during their appointment. A therapeutic environment has a calming effect, reduces stress, and makes the patient feel comfortable with your care. In order for patients to have a positive experience, make sure you consider the details behind layout and design.

A therapeutic environment:

  • Promotes healing
  • Supports the needs of the patient and staff
  • Provides a measurable impact on patient outcomes

It’s easy to focus in on the big decisions when you are trying to create a patient-centered practice. Your philosophical approach to care, the tools, and the technology are of course important.

Below are some basic factors to consider when it comes to creating a therapeutic environment that will improve your practice’s level of care.


Creating a Therapeutic Environment


Choose the Right Colors

Your room colors and furniture should promote peace and tranquility. Various shades of blue can help you create a calming effect. White walls offer a neutral feel and leave room for some paintings or a bolder color statement with furniture. Pediatricians can use more color in their waiting room, since they are designing with kids in mind.

While the impact of your color choices may not seem overtly important, it can have a lasting subliminal impact on the patient’s frame of mind and overall experience.

Reduce Environmental Stressors

A practice’s waiting room should always be clean and uncluttered. You can offer your patients a variety of reading materials to make their wait more convenient but keep them organized and presentable. It also helps to make sure they aren’t too dated.

If you have a children’s waiting area, make sure that the books and toys are routinely picked up and put away.

Make sure that furniture is routinely dusted, and floors are routinely swept and vacuumed. Other environmental stressors may include a glare from the lights or poor air quality. When these are eliminated, the patient experience can improve. These may seem like the smaller details, but they make a significant difference in patient care.

Noise Reduction

When you are designing your practice, make sure to factor in acoustics. Noise reduction plays a significant role in creating a therapeutic environment. As a patient, you wouldn’t necessarily want to hear everything occurring in the room next to you – especially if it is playing up any anxiety or fears brought on by your medical condition or the visit.

If sound is already a factor within your office, white noise machines may help. They create a stronger sense of calm amongst your patients, and they can show that you value patient privacy.

Exposure to Nature

Whenever possible you can design your office with a view of nature. Interior or exterior gardens, aquariums and artwork with a natural theme all offer a soothing feel.



Your practice’s reputation and brand are built on creating a positive patient experience. Creating a therapeutic environment plays a significant role. This type of soothing environment can have a positive impact on your staff as well – improving the level of patient care.

If you have any questions or would like to talk about what this means for your practice, contact us today!



The Secret to Orthodontic Clinic Design

Designing and orthodontic clinic can be as difficult as it is enlightening. Orthodontic clinic design should reflect the needs of the practice and the patient. Clinical spaces like orthodontic practices tend to be unique in that they deal with patients for a short amount of time. When compared to general dental offices, who deal with a wider average appointment time, it is clear the needs of the orthodontic clinic are different. It is precisely the clinic itself that should be the focus of your office. At Apex Design Build, we consider all possible angles, devising specialized design solutions to suit your needs.

Evaluating Your Flow

When thinking about your orthodontic clinic or practice design, patient traffic plus dynamic flow patterns equals success. You will have constant patient traffic from those entering and exiting the practice, which is why we recommend designing your practice with flow in mind. There will also be separate traffic for your staff alongside patients. They could be going from exam room to reception and vice versa or moving equipment to and from the sterilization room.



Planning the furniture layout, and architecture in such a way as to create flow ensures your practice doesn’t dissolve into chaos. Similarly, poor layout can lead to inefficient service and reduced productivity. By ensuring you maintain a constant flow of patient traffic, you can avoid delays and ensure prompt care for your patients. Orthodontist practice designs also do not require separate operatory room as in general dental offices. Instead, a more functional open bay style operatory room is best. The open arrangement, with operatory stations and chairs in rows along each side of the room, is ideal. Not only does it allow for integration of delivery systems and equipment, but also for greater efficiency of patient intake.

Situation and Allocation

Where you situate the clinical areas of your office affects the overall space. Your ancillary services, like sterilization, laboratory, radiography, and storage areas need to be easily accessible. Ideally, they should be placed close together to minimize the potential for delay. Features such as connecting doors and windows will help to further reduce the time it takes to collect or use locate equipment. When we draw up your floor plan, we always take into account your specifications. Certain rooms will have to take priority over others, but there are many ways to configure your office to great effect. Think about how it relates to the rest of the practice, and how it satisfies patient needs. Remember, orthodontist practice design should take into account the younger patients and families with which you are likely to deal. Similarly, you are likely to deal with a lot of parents and family members accompanying the patient you are to treat.