What is the Future of Pediatric Medical Office Design?

Design inspiration is about more than creativity. That’s especially true for the future of pediatric medical office design.

Young patients and their families require design considerations that create:

  • Confidence in the care environment.
  • Playfulness that engages their emotions.
  • Hope for positive outcomes.

Those elements function best when they work together in a flexible, high-performance environment. That said, the pediatric patient experience relies on medical care excellence, technology, and interactive patient engagement for comforting care desired by children and families.

What’s Driving the Future of Pediatric Medical Office Design?

Pediatric patients are presenting with increasingly complex care cases. Teams with multidisciplinary care plans are equipped to treat young patients these days.

Those realities are impacting how the pediatric care environment is designed. Spaces are required to adapt for the sake of the pediatric patient care protocols, their families, and the teams who treat them.

It makes sense also that spaces are being designed to accommodate a cross-section of specialists in one location. This keeps the family’s care accessible without emotionally upsetting delays.

Think about it this way:

A cozy waiting area.

A fun way to create wayfinding for children.

Basically, intentional design adapts to the emotional journey that the need for care creates.


Growing pediatric practices share some common best-practice design benefits. These are somewhat fundamental to how you can intentionally design or re-design your practice.

Positive Patient and Family Engagement Features Throughout the Facility

The idea of distraction is more about creating a relaxing, non-aversive response the moment a child/family arrives. It involves maximizing the availability of age-appropriate experiences and activities.

Keep in mind that some pediatric patients range from very young (toddlers and preschoolers) to elementary-aged children to teenagers. Make sure your design encompasses each age range or demographic or that it provides spaces that would appeal accordingly.

Hands-on bead tables, play boards like KeeBees, and slides are great ways to keep younger patients occupied and entertained.

Form and function design can be tailored to the varying scope of children and families served.

  • Interactive, tactile walls, playrooms, and spaces dedicated to young patients and their parent(s)/family members.
  • High-tech spaces with age-appropriate technology for teenagers.
  • Colors and textures that create a relaxing, at-home feel.

Family-centric Design That Encourages Partnership in Care

Caregiver identities can vary. Whoever arrives at your facility the core value should be optimum care for the child/children.

Your design can, and should, also support the supportive caregiver role. Space can be created to highlight and practically nurture this vital adult-provider relationship on behalf of pediatric patients.

  • Long-term care provisions can include family sleeping pods, kitchenettes, laundry facilities, and more.
  • Onsite technology capable zones can assist short- and long-term patient families with remote working, schooling, or other routine functions.

The common denominator of your family-centric design is comfort and familiarity. Your attention to detail can help families and their child/children adapt to the upheaval that a medical appointment or a required stay can produce.

Think of this as an emotionally sensitive “traffic-flow” feature. In some ways, it’s more than the traditional, linear layout you might associate with a hotel – a long interior hallway of exam, treatment, or inpatient rooms.

A useful (and better) image is that of a “neighborhood.” Each “block” or “zone” has its own unique identity appropriate to the patient’s age, etc. This idea helps reduce the stress associated with the common, traditional layout.

Jungle and Undersea themed murals installed on different floors of a children’s hospital.

Via Cory Klein Photography – Different colors are used to represent different wards.

Patients, parents, and caregivers feel more at home physically and emotionally. Plus, any built-in theming provides a positive distraction that also inspires trust and a sense of calm.

Enhance Standard of Care Essentials Through Design

Care that’s efficient, safe, and secure is expected. Even so, these essentials must be prioritized throughout the design process.

The healing environment mindset helps guide design strategies that enhance patient safety, security, and care efficiency.

  • Waiting rooms, treatment rooms, and follow-up care areas can be designed to reduce provider stress for safer, more predictable care outcomes.
  • Filter all design features through a safety-security grid that considers all points of contact, infection-prevention and control, and provider/team workflows.

And speaking of the previously mentioned “healing environment”…

Evaluate Your Design Around the Healing Results Desired for Each Patient Experience

Design should embrace the human element. Keep this related thought in mind:

”Understand the human impact of design. Consider daylighting, noise control and acoustics, air quality, privacy, social support and positive distractions in designing a healing environment.” [1]

This insight affirms the idea that the patient space can be compartmentalized by design.

  • Keep treatment space separate physically (and emotionally) from inpatient spaces.
  • Design with special needs in mind including those with autism and who require low or significantly reduced stimulation.
  • Provide connection to nature when possible. Outdoor venues can be included in your design for specific therapies and/or to create a healing, calming, stress-free environment to support care.

Natural views help patients feel calm.

These design prompts are only the beginning of what the future of pediatric medical practice design could include. Let your design plans be shaped by these or use them as seeds to grow your layout.

Create an environment that embraces the future of pediatric medical office design.

Check out these related resources to upgrade or renew your patient experience:

New Children’s Hospital Gets a Little IDS Magic

Case Study – Adding Theming to Increase Profitability and Patient Satisfaction

A Practical Guide to Creating an Exceptional Patient Experience

Create a Memorable Patient Experience Through Dental Office Interior Design and Decor

An outstanding patient experience for children and families begins with a kid-centric mindset and intentionally designed environment.

  • Reduce patient/family/caregiver anxiety and enhance their relaxation through age-appropriate design features
  • Prime patients/families for their appointments, procedures, follow-up, and potential stays
  • Create positive experiences for outpatient and inpatient care

Contact Imagination Design Studios (IDS) to get started transforming your pediatric medical office to embrace the future of design effectiveness.




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