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Bathrooms in the Medical Practice

About Your Medical Practice's Bathroom...
I had a good chuckle when coming across this headline in a recent article, “The Most Exciting Part of Dining Out Is…the Bathroom?”  Yes, restaurants are seeking new ways to differentiate that extend beyond the food or dining room décor. Themes ranging from Dolly Parton to Iranian films to Studio 54 are making a trip to the bathroom a must — see part of going out for dinner. “Taking pictures of the food is so overdone,” noted @peebeforeyourleave, an Instagram reviewer of restaurant bathrooms.

While you might see this as ridiculous, it is the ideal illustration of the difference between a hygiene factor and a motivating factor in terms of consumer behavior. 

A dirty restroom is not a good place to be, either as a consumer or as the proprietor of an establishment. Surveys have shown that the majority of people would not return to a business with a dirty bathroom. You could have a great restaurant, retail store, or medical practice. But if the bathroom isn’t clean, you’re going to suffer the consequences of negative reviews and lost future business. That’s a hygiene factor. 

Taking that space seriously enough in terms of giving it a theme (and assumed cleanliness) is at the other end of the spectrum. The attention to detail in each of the restaurants cited demonstrates that the mundane restroom can be turned into a memorable experience. Ironically, the bathroom now becomes a motivating factor. Here’s what you see when you need to pee at la Barbecue in Austin, Texas: 
There’s a lesson here for every medical practice. Pay attention to this often-neglected space. When I do site visits, it’s one area I never miss. It’s common to see overflowing waste baskets or torn wallpaper. I even ran across a ripped toilet seat, which was still there months later on a return visit. Not acceptable if you are trying to motivate people to spend their time and money with your practice, especially on elective procedures!

At a minimum, you don’t want your bathroom to become a negative cue in the patient experience. It’s the one space in your entire practice where the patient gets to be alone. It must be neat and tidy at all times. As hospitality shows, it can also become something more. One doctor shared that he invested heavily in the restroom design and décor simply because he wanted to make patients feel not only safe but welcome, similar to how he wants guests to feel visiting his home. That’s another example of the PX Movement at work!

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