Hospital Waiting Room

Waiting in a hospital waiting room can be an uncomfortable experience. Typical waiting room layouts put people near others who are also unwell. This proximity, coupled with sounds and smells in the space amplify the feeling of being sick. Waiting times can be long and cause anxiety.

How we might create a comfortable waiting environment for people who are going to the doctor?

The Hospital Waiting Room is a space in a hospital that can be used by patients for waiting, as well as the public to relax. The “waiting room” is a envisioned to be large, temperature-controlled garden with shrubbery, herbs and medicinal plants. Inspired by the symmetrical gardens of monasteries, there would be a stream flowing through the entire garden alongside the lush vegetation. In the middle of the courtyard, there would be a tea-station where users can experience the meditative practice of making their own tea. Along the sides and among the plants are comfortable seats for relaxing while waiting.

To exemplify this space, a vignette of the full immersive experience was created. First, the user is greeted at the reception and receives an interactive stone, that will vibrate once the doctor is available. The user is then guided to the tea-station where he or she can prepare a cup of tea. The user can take a seat among the lush greenery and listen to a soundtrack comprising the calming sounds of water, birds and rustling of the wind in the trees.

In initial explorations, 360 videos viewed through HTC Vive were used as a prototype to recreate the experience of being in nature. Based on user feedback, a deliberate decision was made to move away from virtual and augmented reality and instead focus on creating a calm atmosphere through other senses.