Curb Appeal

By Lynn Steffes, PT, DPT

In my role as a health care business consultant, I travel across the country, both in person and virtually, visiting practices and health systems every day.

Some clinics in large health systems remind me of five star hotels and some private practices remind me of my Great- Aunt Sofie’s living room. How important is the physical environment to your patient’s satisfaction? What can you do to assure that your patient’s first and last impressions are positive?

The American Hospital Association reported in “Improving the Patient Experience through the Healthcare Physical Environment”1 that the physical environment can affect both health outcomes and patient satisfaction. In particular, environmental factors impact interaction and communication between providers and patients—both are vital to the patient experience. As a result, organizations are looking to design the best possible environment to deliver care and so should your practice!

If you haven’t already done a “walkthrough” of your clinic space with a critical eye, you might want to consider using this basic environmental checklist, the Environmental Review of Practice (below), to see how your facility might improve!

References: Accessed June 2019.

Lynn Steffes

Lynn Steffes, PT, DPT, is president and consultant of Steffes & Associates, a national rehabilitation consulting group focused on marketing and program development for private practices nationwide. She is an instructor in five physical therapy programs and has actively presented, consulted, and taught in 40 states. She can be reached at

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