Make a Meaningful First Impression! - DoctorsManagement Make a Meaningful First Impression! - DoctorsManagement

Make a Meaningful First Impression!

While your first priority may be patient care, your image is crucial to how your patients perceive your practice. Patients often judge the care they expect to receive before they receive it and the first impression they have of your practice happens the moment they walk through the front door. It sets the tone for what type of care they expect to receive and it can have an impact on their entire visit.

A reception and waiting area that has a professional and welcoming look tells patients you care about their entire experience in your practice. An image of progress and professionalism can give patients the feeling that you care about your image and the quality of care you deliver.

We’ve created a brief list below that is based on findings from mystery shopping clients. Use it to take a survey of your own waiting area to determine what kind of first impression you’re making on patients and what improvements can be made.

Waiting room assessment checklist and ideas:

Waiting Room Décor

  • Is the artwork current? If not, replace it!
  • Is the atmosphere warm and welcoming? If not, add a few plants (artificial or live) or some decorative pieces that reflect things that would be welcoming to your patient base.
  • Are the magazines current, popular (even trendy!) and appealing to your patient base?
  • Is there enough seating? If not, consider adding or rearranging, if possible, without crowding. If appropriate, add children’s chairs to the play area to accommodate the little ones.
  • Are the seats comfortable and inviting? If not, consider new chairs.
  • Are there stains on the floor or furniture? If so, then have your carpet professional cleaned, replaced, or use an area rug if you have to. Stains are unsightly and do not convey that you care much about your patient’s experience in your practice!
  • Is the reception area cluttered with signs and forms? If so, order display racks from your office supply company. There are many options for simple and inexpensive display racks that create a tidy and professional image.
  • Do you have information about your service offerings? Again, display racks can be used to exhibit your practice brochure and other materials that let patients know about all of the services you offer.


  • Promotional Video Display – If you have one, be sure your practice message is current with new information about your services or policies.
  • Television – Monitor the volume and station. It can be very distracting to other patients who are not feeling well.
  • Do you have dead plants or fish (believe it, we’ve seen it)? Regularly check plants and fish tanks. If you can’t maintain them, replace the plants with artificial ones and replace the fish with something that is low-maintenance.


    • Does your staff have food or drinks setting out? If so, make sure they move them to a place that is out of sight or get rid of them completely. It is unprofessional, unsanitary, and distracting to patients.

While they might not say it, your patients will appreciate the demonstration of your care in the small touches you put into your waiting room!

Remember, you don’t have to do everything at once. You might just be amazed at what one small change can do for a room!

Read more about customer service training and mystery shopping services.