Healthcare Waiting Rooms (07-29-22)

Devlin’s study was conducted in doctor’s office waiting rooms but its findings can reasonably be extended to other sorts of places.  Devlin reports that she studied “preference for five different seating arrangements (e.g., rows, clusters) in a doctor’s office waiting room . . . and how such choices may have changed over the pandemic (2013 vs. 2021). . . . Data collected in 2013 and 2021 used sketches of five different seating arrangements; people saw just one of these. . . . seating preferences favored end, not middle seats, and chair selections with the chair back to a wall. In this study, no evidence exists that the doctor’s office layout is less preferred than four other seating arrangements, but seat choice shows people prefer end seats (not middle seats) across arrangements. The doctor’s office layout may offer a supportive familiarity to people; also, given the percentage of people who visit the doctor unaccompanied, layouts designed to encourage social interaction may not always be appropriate.”  In the “doctor’s office layout” seats are pushed against the walls of the waiting room.

Ann Devlin.  “Seating in Doctors’ Waiting Rooms:  Has COVID-19 Changed Our Choices?”  HERD: Health Environments Research and Design Journal, in press,