Exploring the Relationship of Physician Practice Characteristics with Patient’s Therapeutic Experience: An Exploratory Quantitative Research

  • Dimitrios Apostolopoulos
  • Despina A. Karayanni
  • Christina C. Georgi
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Business and Economics book series (SPBE)


The patient-physician therapeutic relationship begins before the two parties’ verbal communication. For example, the patient may form an attitude from the non-verbal communication cues, such as the practice’s physical environment, the processes and the administration staff. Colors, paintings and works of art, lighting, certificates, are features that may affect the patient during his waiting time and, probably, his relationship with the physician. This research wanted to examine patients’ therapeutic experience, and, specifically, their perceptions on the ambient environment of physicians’ waiting areas and practices and their relationship with trust and proximity to the physician. To this end, we conducted a quantitative research with 95 respondents of the psychiatric health sector. Data were analyzed through advanced statistics, using the SPSS 23 statistical package. Our findings imply that there is a relationship between the physician practice’s interior decoration and the patients’ trust and proximity. Specifically, cluster analysis grouped data in three clusters that we called as ‘Leeries’, ‘Aloofs’ and ‘Intimates’, showing variability on the variables patient’s trust and proximity to physician as well as, on variables pertaining to practice’ ambient environment. The paper discusses the findings and implications as well as the limitations and propositions for future research.


Physician practice characteristics Patients’ therapeutic experience Practice interior design Patient’s trust and proximity to the physician 


  1. 1.
    Parasuraman A, Zeithaml VA, Berry LL (1988) Servqual: a multiple-item scale for measuring consumer perc. J Retail 64:12. org/record/1989-10632-001Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Omachonu VK (1990) Quality of care and the patient: new criteria for evaluation. Health Care Manag Rev 15:43–50. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ulrich RS (1991) Effects of interior design on wellness: theory and recent scientific research. J Health Care Inter Des 3:97–109. org/abstract/med/10123973Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Caspari SD, Nåden S, Eriksson K (2007) Why not ask the patient? An evaluation of the aesthetic surroundings in hospitals by patients. Qual Manag Health Care 16:280–292. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Swartz J (1989) The doctor’s office: poor design may cost you patients. Can Med Assoc J 140:320. PMC1268633Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Lecomte C, Bernstein BL, Dumont F (1981) Counseling interactions as a function of spatial-environmental conditions. J Couns Psychol 28:536. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Arneill AB, Devlin AS (2002) Perceived quality of care: the influence of the waiting room environment. J Environ Psychol 22:345–360. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ulrich RS (2001) Effects of healthcare environmental design on medical outcomes. In: Design and health: proceedings of the second international conference on health and design. Svensk Byggtjanst, Stockholm. doi: Scholar
  9. 9.
    Okken V, van Rompay T, Pruyn A (2013) When the world is closing in: effects of perceived room brightness and communicated threat during patient-physician interaction. Health Enviro Res Des J 7:37–53. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Harris PB et al (2002) A place to heal: environmental sources of satisfaction among hospital patients. J Appl Soc Psychol 32:1276–1299. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Davis TR (1984) The influence of the physical environment in offices. Acad Manag Rev 9:271–283. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Devlin AS et al (2009) “Impressive?” Credentials, family photographs, and the perception of therapist qualities. J Environ Psychol 29:503–512. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Heppner PP, Dixon DN (1980) A review of the interpersonal influence process in counseling. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Baker J, Cameron M (1996) The effects of the service environment on affect and consumer perception of waiting time: an integrative review and research propositions. J Acad Mark Sci 24:338. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Pruyn A, Smidts A (1998) Effects of waiting on the satisfaction with the service: beyond objective time measures. Int J Res Mark 15:321–334. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Lohr VI, Pearson-Mims CH (2000) Physical discomfort may be reduced in the presence of interior plants. HortTechnology 10:53–58. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Bedi RP, Davis MD, Williams M (2005) Critical incidents in the formation of the therapeutic alliance from the client’s perspective. Psychother Theory Res Pract Train 42:311. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Dijkstra K, Pieterse ME, Pruyn A (2008) Stress-reducing effects of indoor plants in the built healthcare environment: the mediating role of perceived attractiveness. Prev Med 47:279–283. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Liu W et al (2004) Optimal color design of psychological counseling room by design of experiments and response surface methodology. PLoS One 9:e90646. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Pressly PK, Heesacker M (2001) The physical environment and counseling: a review of theory and research. J Couns Dev 79:148–160. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Hupka RB et al (1997) The colors of anger, envy, fear, and jealousy: a cross-cultural study. J Cross Cult Psychol 28:156–171. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Wexner LB (1954) The degree to which colors (hues) are associated with mood-tones. J Appl Psychol 38:432. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Dijkstra K, Pieterse ME, Pruyn ATH (2008) Individual differences in reactions towards color in simulated healthcare environments: the role of stimulus screening ability. J Environ Psychol 28:268–277. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Boyatzis CJ, Varghese R (1994) Children’s emotional associations with colors. J Genet Psychol 155:77–85. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Nasar JL, Devlin AS (2011) Impressions of psychotherapists’ offices. J Couns Psychol 58:310. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Devlin AS, Nasar JL (2012) Impressions of psychotherapists’ offices: do therapists and clients agree? Prof Psychol Res Pract 43:118. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Kaplan S, Kaplan R, Wendt JS (1972) Rated preference and complexity for natural and urban visual material. Percept Psychophys 12:354–356. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Antony KH, Watkins NJ (2007) The design of the psychologists’ offices: a qualitative evaluation of environment-function fit.
  29. 29.
    Nunnally JC (1978) An overview of psychological measurement. In: Wolman B (ed) Clinical diagnosis of mental disorders. Springer, Boston, MA, pp 97–146. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dimitrios Apostolopoulos
    • 1
  • Despina A. Karayanni
    • 1
  • Christina C. Georgi
    • 1
  1. 1.University of PatrasPatrasGreece

Personalised recommendations