Exam Room Redesign

In spite of the transformation of medical practice over the course of the 20th century, the basic doctor-patient visit had changed little since World War II. The exam room still typically consisted of an examining table for the patient, various devices for measuring vital signs, a rolling stool for the provider, and a side chair for the accompanying family member.

One of the first projects undertaken by the SPARC lab was to study the use of the doctor-patient meeting space. The outpatient laboratory did extensive research on the use of the exam room, and they redesigned the room for consultations that did not require a physical examination. They also tested and designed new forms to be given to patients that summarized the tests, diagnosis and next steps in the treatment plan.

In a randomized trial the CFI found that patients who used the redesigned consultation room and summary visit form better retained information about their health records and test results.


Watch CFI staff discuss the exam room redesign (YouTube version for slow connection).


Read the CFI's report containing observations and proposals regarding exam room redesign.

Read a summary of the results of the clinical trial testing the new exam room.

View a sample summary visit worksheet given to patients in the outpatient lab.