We hear all the time that medical practices want to create a spa-like experience for patients. All the time. And, we think it is a spot on goal! Who wants to go to a doctor’s office or infusion center? Mostly, no one. Who wants to go to a spa? Mostly, everyone.

So, let’s break down what a spa-like experience entails. This will include what is NOT a spa-like experience and what is.

What Isn’t a Spa-Like Experience?

  • Loud television or actually tv in general – Skip the tv altogether, including the ones that run ads about the practice. If you must have one, keep it on silent with closed captioning. And, put on something enjoyable like HGTV or even a spa channel. But, better to have no tv at all.
  • Unfriendly staff – This includes verbal and nonverbal communication.
  • Funky smells – The office should smell like nothing (because clean smell is the absence of smell) or something natural that smells nice. Don’t do plug-ins or synthetic fragrances either as they aren’t appealing to all and can be a migraine and allergy trigger. You’ll get used to whatever the office smells like, so ask an outsider how it smells occasionally.
  • Brochures everywhere – It’s overstimulating and messy.
  • Not immaculate – The office needs to be extremely clean and at all times.
  • Lots of signs, particularly aggressive ones – No signs about co-pays or what happens when you are late. These are not friendly.
  • Fluorescent lights – They don’t set a nice mood and trigger migraines for some people. If it’s what your office has, turn them off and use lamps for light.

What Is a Spa-Like Experience in a Medical Office?

If you haven’t been to a high end spa lately, go check one out. Ask for a tour. They’ll happily oblige you. We are particular to Milk + Honey, but any nice spa will do! Here’s what you’ll find that can be replicated in a physician office or infusion center:

  • Soothing sounds – Quiet music without words works great. Consider something like Chill Instrumental Beats on Spotify. Also, consider the voices in your front office. Are they soothing? Do they use calm and positive language? If not, maybe back office is better for them.
  • Smiling faces – People with a friendly and calm demeanor are a must. And, bonus if they anticipate needs.
  • Lovely smells – Don’t pump in synthetic fragrances. Keep the office really clean. Open the windows if/when possible. Consider using pure essential oils like Lavender or Eucalyptus being careful to select scents that aren’t allergy triggers or too strong. Be thoughtful about the kind of food that is brought into the office if the smell may linger.
  • Minimal stimulation – There may be a few signs or reading material. Keep it to a minimum to give patients a welcome distraction, but minimal stimulation.
  • Nice lighting – Use as much natural light as you can. And, use clear soft white/daylight bulbs to supplement where needed.
  • Tidy and likely minimalist – Less is more. Keep the office simple, soft color palette, minimalist in design.
  • Soft surroundings – Utilize comfortable furniture. And, if patients are sticking around for a while (like an infusion center), have blankets, pillows, foot rests, lap desks available for comfort.
  • Green – Plants make a space feel welcoming and are great for the air. Select hypoallergenic indoor plants to create a beautiful environment. Don’t use fake plants.
  • Healthy snacks – If patients will be in the office for a while (maybe in an infusion center), healthy snacks are a must. Think single-serve for germs and convenience. Water and tea are lovely additions too.

Mostly, the spa-like environment is the way it makes you feel. Do you feel relaxed and welcome? Does it seem like it’s okay to stay a while? Do you want to come back or at least not dread coming back?

Walk the Line Between Lovely and Lavish

Oh, and one odd item to keep in mind. You want to create a zen experience, but be careful not too look expensive. Looking overly expensive can hurt your practice in two ways. First, patients assume your prices are too high and unattainable for them. Second, savvy consumers know that someone (them) is paying for all of the amenities and so fear that the value of your product or service isn’t high.

Get an Outsider’s Opinion

Not sure if you’ve hit the mark? Ask someone. Check with patients or a trusted colleague. Or, call us. We love to secret-shop or not-so-secret shop practices. We’d be happy to let you know what you are doing well and where you can improve with simple and tangle advice.