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I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been a big fan of doctor’s offices. Maybe it’s because I’m only there when a) I’m sick, b) a family member is sick, or c) I have my annual checkup and I convince myself that every WebMD diagnosis I’ve seen is going to show up in my blood work. But regardless of the purpose of the visit, there’s one thing we can agree on: a doctor’s waiting room isn’t a fun place to hang out, right?

But maybe not for long. Smart Waiting Rooms, which focus on the happiness and general experience of patients, are an emerging trend in the healthcare industry. And at the center of Smart Waiting Rooms is smart tech that makes our lives easier.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen Wi-Fi start to become popular in waiting rooms. Offering Wi-Fi allows patients to check emails, catch up on their favorite blogs, or even entertain a squirming toddler with an episode of SpongeBob Squarepants. Wi-Fi allows patients to feel in control of their time while they wait, which is a huge plus.

We’re now starting to see some doctors’ offices really take tech to the next level. They are following the hi-tech trend we’re seeing in the hospitality industry and incorporating connective furniture where people can charge their mobile devices. The design trend also includes things like tables and chairs that have outlets and USB ports for connecting devices. You know…just in case your “15 minute wait” turns into an hour, as it easily can while waiting to see your doctor.

Along with charging stations, we’re also seeing doctors’ offices and hospitals starting to adapt check-in kiosks to enhance the patient experience by making the process more efficient. Checking in is a huge pain point for patients, and self-service kiosks provide patients with privacy and more of that highly-valued resource, time. The process is nearly instantaneous – a few taps on the interactive touch screen and they can get back to that squirming toddler (and Squidward and Patrick.)

In person-centered industries like healthcare, the early adopters that make their patients’ lives easier with self-service technology are sure to be rewarded. What creative uses of technology have you seen in doctors’ offices recently? How about other waiting rooms (salons, mechanics, accountants, etc.)?

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