Informed by those interactions, it quickly became apparent that of the 60-minute patient appointments, 85 to 90 percent is conversation and only 10 to 15 percent is physical examination. The outcome was the concept of the Consult Room.
The rooms also incorporate generally accepted energy-saving practices such as solar-powered faucets and sensors that turn lights on only when people are in the room.
"Patients recognize and appreciate that their needs are being used to shape care delivery," notes Maggie A. Breslin, a Center for Innovation designer and researcher. "Physicians like having a place to talk with the patient that allows them to incorporate both family members and the computer screen as appropriate."
Physicians also found that the dedicated exam room layout allows for a consistent arrangement of the table and tools that makes the physical exam easier to conduct.
"Thanks to the Center for Innovation, we had the ability to make changes in our plans and test them quickly. It was satisfying to take an idea that seemed pretty unusual and discover through testing that providers, patients and their families all said, 'Oh, this makes sense,' " says William C. Mundell, M.D., of the Division of General Internal Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.