Curb appeal counts in real estate. But what about in medical care facilities? Do individuals judge the quality of care and their expected comfort level by how a building looks? They do, and medical practitioners should take note.
Connecticut College Professor of Psychology Ann Devlin asked 188 individuals to view 34 slides of the exteriors of medical buildings in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Michigan and judge the quality of care they would expect to receive and the comfort level they would expect to experience in these facilities. The buildings ranged from small outpatient office buildings to large medical centers.
The appearance of medical building exteriors is indeed related to these care and expected comfort judgments.
Findings clearly showed that while respondents made both positive and negative comments for every facility, the highest quality of care ratings were for large medical facilities - such as modern hospitals.
However, while respondents rated modern, large hospitals highly, they also expressed concern that the facilities could be intimidating, cold and impersonal.
"Large medical facilities should emphasize a stepped-down quality as much as possible, so what greets the patient is on a more human scale and of a familiar architecture," Devlin said.
The lowest ratings were given for small brick buildings. In between were the ratings for traditional, converted house-style facilities. But certain aspects of these small facilities can improve the impression they make. Respondents are likely to judge small facilities, such as small brick buildings or converted houses, more positively if the facilities are landscaped and well-maintained.
To be fair to the viewers of the photos, they had no other basis on which to judge the facilities. A larger facility must attract a larger number of customers. Why would so many people use it if was not better than the smaller ones?
The problem we have is that as users of medical care we don't have much in the way of useful information for judging medical care quality of doctors and hospitals.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2007 July 15 02:42 PM Economics Health|