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Doctor's office design makes a difference

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GRAND RPAIDS, Mich., Oct. 30 (UPI) -- U.S. researchers suggest room design can improve the quality of a visit to the physician's office.

The randomized trial, published in Health Environments Research and Design Journal, found physicians felt they were able to share more information and patients felt they had better access to information in an experimental office design in which the physician and patient sat side-by-side facing the computer screen at a semicircular desk.

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"This study supports the notion that the space in which people meet can influence how they work together," study researcher Dr. Victor Montori of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., said in a statement.

The Space and Interaction Trial consisted of 63 pairs of patients and doctors randomly assigned to either a conventional office or the experimental one. The trial was a collaborative effort by the Mayo Clinic and the healthcare division of the office furniture company Steelcase in Grand Rapids, Mich.

In the experimental design, patients said they felt they had more and better access to information, including their own records, test results, images and online patient education material.

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