There is no doubt that patients become agitated and somewhat nervous before any type of procedure. Although invasive therapeutic tests seem less threatening than diagnostics testing and appear to have less risks involved, patients still describe feeling anxious due to the uncertainty involved. Ultimately, this feeling harbors a great deal of stress on patients which is why the experience prior to and following the procedure in the waiting rooms should be designed to aid against the stress of patients.

How Stress Affects the Patient:
Stress is hardly ever seen as a good thing, this holds true in hospitals and radiology departments as well. Patients experiencing high levels of stress pose several problems for the doctor that must first be addressed before determining an effective way to design against them.
  • Appointment cancellations are common among distressed patients having anxiety
  • Lack of cooperation with nurses/doctors
  • Extended room times can result from patients not cooperating, leaving other patients to have extended waiting periods
  • Inability to complete imaging procedures correctly or completely
  • Increased medication use in order to combat stress levels
  • Prolonged recovery
Specific Needs to Address in Radiology Waiting Rooms:
In order to alleviate stress from patients undergoing radiology procedures, there are several different techniques that can be applied in the waiting room design.
  • Comfort needs to be addressed to help patients relax before their procedure
  • Scenic views offer a distraction so patients are not focusing on their procedure to come
  • Having a nurse or staff personnel available to comfort the patient prior to the procedure
  • Minimizing the distance traveled from waiting room to procedure room
Radiology - Health Architecture Radiology - Health Architecture St. Anthony Hospital garden

Innovative Designs in Radiology Waiting Rooms
There are always new design concepts being tested, but healthcare facilities in particular have seen a tremendous improvement in how the buildings are designed to be more efficient for their users. Several facilities are now considering not only the patients needs but the families as well.

Riverside Methodist Interventional Radiology Center

  • Electronic tracking board in the waiting room allows family members to monitor the progress during a procedure
  • For family members that would rather not wait in a waiting room, there are pagers handed out to notify them when a procedure is finished
  • Separate family waiting areas are available in addition to the patient waiting room
  • Private consultation rooms can be used for talking with doctors to ensure privacy

1. Flory, N. (2011). Distress in the Radiology Waiting Room. Radiology, 166-173.
2. Fratt, L. (2011). Radiology: Rad waiting rooms invoke stress for women. Health Imaging. Retrieved from
3. Junk, R. (2012). Maximizing Radiology Throughput. RADblog. Retrieved from

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