Exam room setups must be flexible and able to accommodate new technologies and changing protocols. Every clinic serves a slightly different population and layouts vary based on their unique needs, but there are a few elements no modern exam room should be without. Read on to find out about seven of the most important of them.
- Telemedicine Carts
Although some clinics have been offering telehealth services for years, most have only recently made adjustments to facilitate this changing use of technology. Clinics that have not yet been outfitted with Telemedicine Equipment should be retrofitted as soon as possible. Look for carts that will accommodate not just video conferencing but also integrated medical peripheral equipment like cameras and scopes.
- Examination Tables
Although the prevalence of telemedicine is on the rise, there are still many situations where patients can’t be accurately diagnosed without first undergoing a full exam. That’s why every exam room still needs to have a well-designed examination table. Examination tables should be adjustable to accommodate all patients and should be as compact as possible. In small exam rooms, look for models that feature built-in storage to maximize space.
- Exam Stools
Exam stools allow staff to conduct consultations and some types of exams while seated. They should feature wheels and be adjustable to accommodate doctors, nurses, and staff members of different heights.
- Secondary Seating
It’s often the case that patients must bring family members or other advocates to doctors’ appointments, and they will need someplace to sit. Look for basic but comfortable chairs that are large and sturdy enough to accommodate visitors, consulting staff, and patients of all sizes and ability levels.
- Medical Exam Lighting
Proper lighting is essential for performing medical examinations. Make sure the room is well-lit, and consider incorporating specialized task lighting that will make it easier for doctors and other healthcare providers to see clearly. It’s always best to buy specialized LED or halogen light fixtures designed for clinical settings instead of relying on residential or commercial lighting solutions.
- Adequate Storage
There should be plenty of storage in the exam room to accommodate medical devices, supplies, and documents. Built-in storage beneath exam tables is a good start, but just about all exam rooms will also need to be outfitted with cabinets or shelves. If sensitive equipment, supplies, or documents will be kept in the room, make sure they are properly secured by installing locking drawers or cabinets.
Of course, exam room storage spaces should be stocked with the necessary supplies. These essential items should be labeled and categorized properly to avoid contamination and confusion and facilitate easy access to everything.
- Counters and Sinks
Medical exams often need blood sampling and tests requiring access to water and clean workspaces. Sinks don’t just provide running water in these circumstances, but also make it easier to ensure proper hygiene. Install counters beneath the sinks to store spot cleaning supplies, surplus medical supplies, and equipment so that staff can get to it easily, and try to keep the counter around the sink relatively clear so it can be used as a workspace.
The Bottom Line
Unless they’re in the same healthcare facility, no two exam rooms are exactly alike. That’s because no two medical practices are exactly alike. The fixtures and furniture described above cover only the basics, but it should give purchasing managers for new facilities or those being retrofitted to accommodate changing patient needs an idea of how to get started. From there, they can stock the exam room with other specialized equipment, devices, or furniture as needed.