My friend and highly respected colleague, Dr. Bob Koetting, once said that it was smart to spend money on the things that patients understand. They understand your waiting room more than your exam room. Since the waiting area is strictly for patients - it sends a strong message about how your practice feels about them. It's a great exercise to just sit out there for about 10 minutes - especially during business hours. Look around and listen to the typical sounds of the office. Do you get the message that patients are very important to this office and their comfort is paramount? Or do you get the message that this office has kept expenses to a minimum (meaning profits are more important)?
First, look at the furniture. Chairs should be up to date in appearance, clean, in good condition, comfortable and easy to get out of. Be objective - if they are more than 10 years old, they are probably outdated. They should be tasteful in design and color. Next look at carpeting and walls. New carpeting and paint is not expensive. Consider wallpaper. Keep it neutral and understated.
Find a remedy for annoying sounds that waiting patients can overhear. Like staff members involved in idle, personal chit-chat, or an assistant placing numerous recall or collection phone calls.
Next, consider some perks that make a positive statement: