Alaska Waiting Rooms

So far in my Alaska travels I've toured several medical facilities. OPA, Orthopedic Physicians of Alaska, was a stand out.

The signage console is an effective room divider that blocks no light
and gives the suggestion of privacy to the sitting area behind it.

The signage console is directly opposite the elevator. This console multi-tasks: it clearly tells us where we are, acts as a room divider and directs traffic to the check-in. The frosted glass blocks no light but provides privacy for the seating area behind it.

OPA's check-in process is efficient and the desk is hotel-like. Note the absence of glass panels at the check-in desks. Confirmation of personal and insurance information is done at check-out, and the process OPA employs is very discreet.

The waiting room is huge. It needs to be; at the time of my visit OPA had 10 docs, 9 PA's, and a troupe of cast technicians. The practice includes an Injury Walk-In Clinic. 

The waiting room's dropped ceiling and changes in carpet color define the space and help create several distinct seating areas/rooms. This is reinforced with furniture in lobby-style arrangements. Generously sized club chairs, framed chairs, sofas and love seats provide a variety of seating options.

Layers of light are achieved with wall sconces, table lamps and ceiling lights. A floor-to-ceiling window wall (on the right) creates a feeling of openness and gives the room natural light.

The high ceilings, art, real plants and functioning fireplace are positive distractions and reinforce the hotel lobby effect.

A "leaf green natural healing" theme is a go-to in healthcare design. But an all green color palette is too cool for Alaska's long, dark winters. Rust, cherry, and brown add an element of warmth. OPA's designers built on the healing theme and incorporated the upscale hotel look by using natural materials in all areas of the suite.

The exam rooms have functional cabinetry with a furniture look.

And stone vessel sinks and stylish wall mounted faucets (looks like onyx to me).

 Textured, linen look wallpaper on accent walls.

The leaf theme is repeated on the guest chairs as is the green river reed carpet from the lobby.

The leaf is repeated in translucent workstation dividers. Using the same wood species and stain color as the exam rooms creates continuity.

The leaf shows up again etched in the glass doors of the private and business offices. The etched glass wall transmits light while maintaining privacy.

The leaf theme shows up one last time at check-out. The curvy desk echoes the geometry of the entrance console and check-in. Live plants are always a welcome site. Here they reinforce the hotel lobby effect.  

A wall sconce in the exit hallway recalls the onyx vessel sinks. A nice organic look against the structured weave of the wallpaper.

OPA is an attractive, well-designed space that serves the needs of patients and their families with respect and dignity. The hotel lobby/waiting room is welcoming, upscale, professional, and free of any negative stress inducing elements. The message is "we value our patients." 

Can a beautiful waiting room like OPA's also send the message that we will receive competent, professional care? 

What do you think?

Thanks for reading,

Linda Pakravan

if you'd like to rehab your medical office, email me.


  1. I don't know why more medical facilities don't invest in good design. Of all the places you want to be calm and comforted instead of cold and sterile...

  2. Well, maybe sterile is a good thing :)

  3. You have a good point here!I totally agree with what you have said!!Thanks for sharing your views...hope more people will read this article!!!
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